Skaug Law - January 2020

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Jan 2020 Divided on the Battlefield but Sharing a Descendant

What I Found in My Family Tree

war. While you can read pretty much anything online now, sometimes, in order to truly understand someone’s circumstances, you have to see the things they saw for yourself. Visiting Tennessee helped me understand that armies had to make good use of existing roads because the forests there are too thick to march through. I learned how big of an obstacle crossing rivers could be, especially when they swelled after a big rainstorm. Understanding the terrain is incredibly important if you want to understand the history of an area. I was fortunate to have access to some firsthand resources and to interview a few willing participants in my research project. I got to talk about these two soldiers with my grandmother and my great aunt before they passed. They actually knew these men’s families, and they could tell me what they remembered about them. I also had access to some handwritten notes and letters they had sent to family during that time. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem like families talk about where their ancestors came from or what they did. Those stories often get lost after a generation or so. Maybe it’s an American thing. I don’t know, but the Civil War was incredibly brutal and very personal, which might be why a lot of people don’t talk about it. In Tennessee, neighbors often fought on opposite sides of the war. When you study the past, it can be difficult to unravel all the interconnected threads, but I get a lot of enjoyment from it. Studying history is a hobby of mine, and I think having hobbies of any kind is important. You can’t just work all the time; a good hobby energizes you and helps you be better at your job. I’ve been able to apply my knowledge of history to my knowledge of the law countless times. I can pull stories from the past, the present, and the future. What hobbies bring you enjoyment, and how can they make you better at your job?

I’m fascinated by history. You could give me the history of linoleum to read, and I would probably find it interesting. Every person has a story, a past behind their present, and I enjoy learning about them all. For the past couple of years, I’ve served on the Nampa City Council. While I’ve deeply valued the experience I’ve had

1862 Enfield and flag

there, I’m excited to finish up my duties and get back to a passion project of mine. Before I started on the City Council, I had researched some of my family’s ancestry dating back to the Civil War and planned to write a book comprised of all the research I had conducted. Now that I have the time, I’ll finally get a chance to write the book. Of course, before I was able to write anything, I had to research the backgrounds of two distant relatives. The first, a Union soldier, was an 18-year-old boy named John Belford in the 84th Illinois Infantry. The second, a Confederate soldier named Hyrum McAliley, served in the 31st Tennessee Infantry. They fought in the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battle of Stones River, where they were about 150 yards apart from one another. The Battle of Chickamauga saw almost the highest number of casualties of any battle during the Civil War, second only to the Battle of Gettysburg. John Belford died from wounds he sustained in that battle, and Hyrum McAliley died in Atlanta in 1864 after fighting many battles for the South. But both of them had siblings who survived the war. One had a little brother, and another a little sister. Those two eventually got married, and that’s why I exist today.

During the research phase of this project, I visited the places where both of these soldiers grew up and where they fought throughout the

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From Ancient Sumer to the 50 States A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation While workers’ compensation may seem like a banal, albeit necessary, facet of modern society, it actually has a long, colorful history that stretches back centuries. There is evidence of workers’ compensation laws from ancient civilizations in the Middle East, Greece, China, and many other parts of the world. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe, many workers’ compensation laws vanished and were replaced by the whims and wills of feudal lords. Workers’ compensation laws didn’t resurface in the Western world until common law was introduced in England in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, these provisions for workers to receive compensation for injuries were often so restrictive that they might as well have not existed at all. Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of the German Empire from 1871–1890, is credited with creating the first modern workers’ comp system in the late 19th century, even though he got the idea from Prussia’s Socialist Democratic Party before he outlawed them. It was his way of garnering favor with the common citizen while crushing his political opponents. Soon, other countries in Europe followed suit and established similar workers’ comp laws. In England, new workers’ comp laws replaced provisions by English common law. The U.S. was a little bit slower to adopt workers’ comp laws. Without getting too much into all the politicking involved, suffice to say that starting with Wisconsin in 1911 and finishing with Mississippi in 1948, every state in the U.S. passed some form of satisfactory workers’ compensation legislation. While every state’s insurance is a little bit different, they all have a few key things in common. All states require that employers have workers’ comp insurance to cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages, regardless of fault. While the system may seem arcane, it’s the culmination of successful parts of laws from previous decades and centuries. Workers’ comp cases can be difficult for the everyday worker to navigate. Skaug Law is Idaho’s largest workers’ comp law firm. We are here to help. Call anytime at (208) 466-0030.

Who Wears the Pants? Lady Justice! How One Judge Lost a Frivolous Lawsuit and His Dignity

After losing an article of clothing from a dry cleaner, most would say “c’est la vie” and move on. At most, someone might leave a bad review and ask for a few dollars to cover the loss. But for one administrative law judge, that wasn’t enough. He decided instead to launch an all-out legal battle. Roy Pearson, a Washington, D.C., judge at the time, sought $54 million to cover the loss of his pants after his dry cleaner lost them. He argued that the “same-day service” sign located in the window of the dry cleaners meant that the company had to provide same-day service. However, Pearson never specified a specific time he needed his clothes returned. He also insisted that the “satisfaction guaranteed” sign meant that the cleaners had to satisfy a customer’s wishes without limit. Based on those arguments, he claimed the signs were fraudulent. After the initial allegations, the dry cleaners scoured their business to find the pants and, to their credit, found the judge’s trousers untarnished. Even so, Pearson argued that he didn’t need to prove the pants were lost or damaged to satisfy his “satisfaction guaranteed” claim. Unfortunately for the judge, the court found his position to be ridiculous and ordered him to pay the dry cleaner’s attorneys’ fees. In response, Pearson sought that his own attorneys’ fees be covered to oppose this motion. In the end, Pearson did pay the dry cleaner’s legal fees, but the case isn’t the only thing he lost. The verdict also cost the judge his job and any semblance of professional dignity. Ten years after the case closed, the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility sought a 90-day suspension. As the board put it, Pearson “ failed to conduct an objective appraisal of the legal merits of his position. He made and continues to make arguments that no reasonable attorney would think had even a faint hope of success on the legal merits.” From a legal standpoint, we’d call this judge’s behavior “dissatisfaction guaranteed.”

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Hands Off While Driving in Meridian The Future of Handheld Devices in Idaho If you haven’t already heard, the city of Meridian voted in October to ban all uses of handheld devices while driving within city limits. While police officers have been issuing warnings since the decision was made public, they started enforcing the law on Jan. 1 of this year. While texting and driving is already illegal everywhere in Idaho, this law goes one step further to combat distracted driving and its consequences.

A ban on all handheld uses means that any driver caught holding a smartphone or similar device while behind the wheel of their vehicle, whether that means changing the music or checking navigation, will receive a $90 citation. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is moving or stopped in traffic. Meridian’s new ordinance follows similar ones in Pocatello, Hailey, Ketchum, and Idaho Falls. Ada County and Emmett are both considering enacting similar ordinances, as well. However, Meridian is the first city in the metro Boise area to enforce this type of law. Lawmakers attempted to pass a similar ordinance in Nampa last November, but the motion failed after Mayor Debbie Kling broke a tie vote between City Council members. Her reasoning was that she wanted to see how the ordinance affected driver safety in other cities first.

While hands-free laws may seem restrictive and even overprotective, there are just too many cases where drivers distracted by smartphones caused serious accidents, and even deaths, on the road. Some Nampa city officials have said they would rather wait until Idaho’s state government bans the use of handheld devices while driving, but similar statewide ordinances have yet to be passed in 34 other states, and the motion has been shot down by Idaho lawmakers every time it’s come up over the past couple of years. Enacting laws at the city level is the only way to better protect motorists in the meantime. And whether you get in an accident involving inattentive driving in Meridian or Nampa, the attorneys at Skaug Law will be there to help. Call anytime for a free consultation at (208) 466-0030.

Inspired by The New York Times

What Our Clients Say

Simple Pancakes From Scratch Ingredients

“I loved the way I was treated, and I feel they would do the same for anyone.” – Jennifer Tuttle “Matt fought for me.” – Dawn Tate “Matt was knowledgeable and informative.” – Rebecca Smith “Very easy to work with. Becky was wonderful and very attentive. Matt even more so. Honest firm.” –Beverly Broomfield “Knowledgeable and professional with their clients’ best interests as the top priority. I have already recommended them to friends and family.” –Bryant Post Do you know someone who could use our help? Share this newsletter with them today!

• 2 eggs • 1 3/4 cups milk • Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet

• 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tbsp sugar, optional


1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.


Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine | (208) 466-0030


1226 E Karcher Rd. Nampa, ID 83687 (208) 466-0030


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Making a Hobby of History

The Curious Case of Roy Pearson’s Pants A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation


Have You Heard of Meridian’s New Distracted Driving Ordinance? Simple Pancakes From Scratch


Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer

Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month Ctrl, Alt, Delete Your Clutter

ORGANIZE YOUR FILES Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need. BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left. CLEAN UP SPACE Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.

Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order. START BY DUSTING Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer.

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