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Legally Brief With Kevin Patrick Automobile accidents | Daycare injuries | wrongful death
Merry Christmas! … And Happy Litigating? 8 CASES THAT WENT TO COURT ON DEC. 25
In my house, Christmas is sacred — but the courts don’t always agree! I’ve never had to argue a case on Christmas, but a few months ago, I read an amusing article by University of Michigan law professor Daniel A. Crane about lawyers who have. According to Crane’s research, 107 court cases have been decided on Christmas Day in America’s recorded legal history. That isn’t many in the grand scheme of things (on a typical day, courts across the country issue 600–1,000 decisions, many more than all of the Christmas cases added together), but it still surprised me! Hopefully, you get to relax with your family on Christmas rather than sit in court. But if you’re as curious about this holiday’s history as I was, here are a few of the most interesting judicial decisions made on Dec. 25. I’ve also included some of Daniel Crane’s witty commentary — I couldn’t resist.
trying for bail. Crane wrote that this was “surely a great relief to many elves and reindeer.”
the thumbs up to sue a cemetery. As Crane put it, “Perhaps the court had not heard of bad karma?” 6. 2012 was a bad year for Christmas cases! That December, the Connecticut Supreme Court decided that “just because someone is a joint account holder doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of embezzling from the account.” Yikes! 7. That same year, the Appellate Court of Connecticut nixed the expansion of a Dunkin’ Donuts in Woodbury. I sympathize with Crane’s outraged reaction here: “Taking away doughnuts on Christmas. Really?!” 8. Last but not least, also in 2012, that same court declared a set of playground equipment extended too far over the owner’s property line and needed to be adjusted. I love Crane’s response to this one, too: “Did you hear
2. A few decades later, in 1884, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted Christmas justice to a crew of Italian immigrants. These sailors were wronged by the captain of their ship, who didn’t provide them with enough food en route from Italy to New Orleans. The court ruled the captain owed each crew member $60 in compensation. decided that “a husband is liable for his wife’s unauthorized shopping sprees” — news Crane declared was “far worse than a lump of coal in the stocking.” 4. Four years later, the Ohio Supreme Court got together on Christmas to announce that if a well-constructed 3. In 1890, the Maine Supreme Court followed in Kentucky’s footsteps. It
billboard falls on a traveler during a storm, the city where the billboard stands can’t be held liable. Doesn’t that seem oddly specific?
what I heard? Ordering a playground removed on Christmas. You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!” Wishing you a safe, healthy, happy holiday season free from legalese,
ACCORDING TO CRANE’S RESEARCH, 107 COURT CASES HAVE BEEN DECIDED ON CHRISTMAS DAY IN ALL OF AMERICA’S RECORDED LEGAL HISTORY.
1. The first Christmas decision came down in Kentucky in 1840, when the Kentucky Court of Appeals decided a trespasser could stay in jail without
5. In 1916, the New York
Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, took time on Dec. 25 to give someone
This publication is for informational purposes only, and no legal advice is intended.
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5 Reasons To See a Play This Season
THE THEATER IS CALLING YOUR NAME
3. YOU’LL PROVOKE FAMILY
To get in the holiday spirit this season, consider making a family trip to your local theater. There are a surprising number of benefits to seeing a play in person. 1. YOU’LL SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY. Theater companies are almost always local organizations, and many of them are nonprofits. That means the money you spend on your tickets will go into the pockets of the actors and/or right back into the company to bring more productions to the community. 2. YOUR KIDS COULD DISCOVER AN INTEREST IN THE ARTS. Your children
the original books. Exposing your kids to the work of Shakespeare and Dickens at the theater is a great way to help them get ahead in their studies. 5. YOUR KIDS WILL DEVELOP THEIR TOLERANCE AND EMPATHY. The same study out of Arkansas found that students who attended the theater scored higher on tolerance and empathy tests. Watching live helped them identify and relate to the emotional turmoil of the characters. This winter, check your local theaters for holiday-themed productions like “A Christmas Carol,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” You’ll bring your family closer and embrace the holiday spirit one curtain call at a time.
DISCUSSIONS. Chatting about the play with your family during intermission and the drive home will help you learn more about each other and forge stronger bonds. What did your kids enjoy about the plot? Which character did your spouse identify with most? Are there any plot holes or unanswered questions that are bothering them? 4. YOU’LL BOOST YOUR FAMILY’S LITERARY KNOWLEDGE. A study from the University of Arkansas
Department of Education Reform found that students remembered more about stories like “A Christmas Carol” after watching them as plays than they did after watching movies or even reading
might have a passion for acting or stage design. They’ll never know unless they see both firsthand.
We Broke an Attendance Record! KEVIN TAKES THE COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONALISM TO NEW HEIGHTS
I’m a proud member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Committee on Professionalism, and one of our biggest events of the year is an annual continuing legal education (CLE) class on professional
behavior. This event is a BIG deal, and the committee put me in charge this fall! First, we chose our topic: The Lawyers’ Creed: Professionalism in a Post-Pandemic Landscape. From there, I orchestrated the event, put the presentation together, and moderated the panel of speakers who discussed and debated professionalism on stage. The event was a huge success! More than 450 lawyers attended, either showing up in person at the State Bar of Georgia, or tuning in virtually. I still can hardly believe the record turnout. I couldn’t stop smiling as I watched our diverse panel — a sitting judge, a litigation attorney, a law school professor, and a law student — discuss professional conduct, debate with each other, and ask questions.
The CLE classes are always one of the highlights of my year, but this was truly one for the books. Watching young lawyers and even a few law students get excited about professionalism reminded me why I love my job so much. Their enthusiasm also renewed my hopes for the next generation of Georgia attorneys. We have a fantastic crop of young lawyers working their way up in our state, and it was my pleasure to help them learn and grow. I hope to moderate many more events like this for the State Bar of Georgia. The Committee on Professionalism is one of my favorite organizations, and it’s wonderful to see other lawyers prioritize the work we do. Next year, I intend to scale up the event even more. I’d love to see 500 people in the room learning from our 2023 panel!
You can always reach Kevin directly at 404.566.8964 or Kevin@PatrickTrialLaw.com. (If you ever need it, his cellphone is 404.409.3160.)
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Show Your Elderly Loved Ones You Care 3 Bond-Building Activities to Help You Stay Connected
START A BOOK, MUSIC, OR PODCAST CLUB. When you visit or chat with your elderly loved ones, use media to guide your conversations. Play a song, audiobook, or podcast, and talk about it after. This is a great way to learn more about someone as they share ideas, opinions, and memories. Likewise, it’s an excellent opportunity to start a regular communication you both can look forward to. SING! Over the phone or in person, singing stirs positive emotions in elderly adults, especially those who have advanced dementia. So, pick a song you both know and start singing! Afterward, you can talk about the memories associated with that song or how it makes you feel to sing it. Hopefully, these tips allow you to connect with people who need them most. If you don’t have an elderly individual in your life, consider volunteering at a local assisted living facility and using these tips there. Or, pass them on to someone looking for ways to connect with their grandparents, elderly friends, or neighbors!
The holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends — and forge new bonds with your community! Kevin and his son do this by volunteering at a local assisted living facility. Kevin feels strongly connected to the residents. The seniors have captured his heart, and he’s happy to help alleviate the isolation some of them feel during the holidays. This month, you can also break that cycle of loneliness by calling or visiting an elderly relative, friend, or neighbor. Make a goal to reach out every so often and check in; they will feel loved and know they haven’t been forgotten. If you don’t know what to talk about, here are a few ways to make your communication more meaningful. ASK THEM TO SHARE MEMORIES OR TRADITIONS. This is called “reminiscence therapy,” and it allows seniors to feel satisfaction in their old age as they reflect on everything they have overcome and accomplished. It also increases their self-esteem while making you both feel more connected.
Take A Break
No-Bake Peanut Butter Snowballs
This year-round treat is the perfect dessert for any holiday party. Since you don’t need to worry about a hot oven, it’s a great recipe to make with the whole family — including the little ones! Ingredients • 1 cup powdered sugar • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter • 3 tbsp softened butter • 1 lb white chocolate candy coating Directions 1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. 2. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, and softened butter. Mix until evenly combined. 3. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on the lined cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. 4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate candy coating in increments of 30 seconds, stirring occasionally until smooth. 5. In the same bowl, use skewers to dip peanut butter balls into the chocolate before placing them on a lined cookie sheet so they can harden. 6. Chill until ready and then serve!
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Inside This Issue 1 The Court Cases That Stole Christmas 2 The Theater Is Calling Your Name Kevin’s Recent Event Success 3 3 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Aging Loved Ones
No-Bake Peanut Butter Snowballs
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Tired of Feeling Anxious and Fearful?
Read ‘You Are Not a Rock’ by Mark Freeman
We’ve all felt anxious, guilty, fearful, and sad — it’s a part of life. Perhaps you’ve tried to avoid or suppress these emotions, but you’re not a rock. As humans, we experience these feelings all the time. Trying to control them may only make matters worse. So, instead, focus on something you can control — your actions. That’s the central premise of Mark Freeman’s mental health book “You Are Not a Rock.” He aims to teach readers how to build
two sections titled “The Basics” and “The Transformation.” The first half is about learning basic mental health skills and unlearning ways of thinking about mental health that cause us challenges. The second half focuses on how to create and build what you want to see in your life instead of trying to avoid and control what you can’t see.
same tactics Freeman used in his personal life, and he shares some of those stories in the book. There are exercises at the end of each chapter that Freeman highly encourages you to complete. By performing these exercises, you can better understand the book’s contents and implement Freeman’s tactics in your life. your mental health is like working on your physical health — you won’t see instant results. “Changing your brain takes time and effort … I’m not going to share with you any magical supplements or special mantras. This is simply a book about actions,” Freeman says in his introduction. Before Freeman helps readers begin their journey, he states that strengthening If you’re interested in reading “You Are Not a Rock,” you can purchase your copy wherever books are sold online or in bookstores.
As you read, you’ll learn how to recognize your problems, practice
emotional fitness and overcome their struggles and hardships with different techniques. The book is divided into
mindfulness, prioritize and follow your values, and understand your fears. The strategies in “You Are Not a Rock” are the
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