Hogwash Volume 29

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September 2014
Welcome to Hogwash!

 

Rosi and Gardner

 

If this is the first edition of Hogwash! you’ve received it’s because someone you know thought that you would like to receive it and perhaps pass it on to a friend.   

 

If you enjoy this E-newsletter and know others who you think would like to be on our list or receive a copy by mail, please let us know at info@rosigardner.com   

 

The highest compliment we can receive is a referral from a friend.   Although we’ve been in business together for more than twelve years, have more than 50 years of combined legal experience experience, we are never too busy to help those you refer to us: your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Is Legalese Important?

 

 

The insurer of Malaysia Airlines would probably say “YES!” So-called “boilerplate” language, or its absence, in a contract (in this case, an insurance policy) can be quite important.  Most people can think of few more effective insomnia treatments than reading an insurance policy and all of its seemingly endless fine-print “legalese.”  But, you may want to check to make sure some things are in there.

 

Reportedly, the general liability insurance policy held by Malaysia Airlines does not include a usual, standard provision that limits the insurance company’s liability for the cost of search and rescue operations.  With the search for Malaysia Air Flight 370 (which vanished on March 8) continuing for months, and then Flight 17 shot down in Ukraine, the cost of the search and rescue operations could be substantial, estimated at many billions of dollars.  If the Australian and Malaysian governments seek reimbursement from the airline, the airline will turn to its insurance company . . .  

 

And, if the contract (the insurance policy) does not limit the insurer’s liability for search expenses, there may be no effective ceiling for the millions, or billions, that the omission of a “legalese” provision will cost.  If anyone knows why this policy does not limit the insurance company’s exposure for search and rescue operations, he is not speaking up . . .  

Changes to Michigan Adoption Laws 

 

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Michigan’s law governing adoptions will undergo a few changes next month.

The most dramatic change is a new provision that allows biological parents in some cases to voluntarily consent to the adoption without having to appear in front of a judge. Currently, even in direct, voluntary adoptions, the biological parent is required to attend a hearing open to the public. But as of October 12, 2014, biological parents may “sign off” their parental rights without stepping into the courtroom.

Critics of the new law argue that requiring a hearing was a good thing, as it ensures to the biological parent a chance to think through his or her decision (as well as give the judge an opportunity to detect any foul play).

Supporters, on the other hand, contend that the new provision spares biological parents from additional emotional distress, and otherwise facilities the adoption process by reducing costs to prospective adoptive parents and taxpayers alike. The new law does provide a safety valve, giving the biological parent five days to change his or her mind and revoke the consent. (In contrast, once the biological parent consents to the adoption at a consent hearing, he or she theoretically cannot revoke it).

If you are curious about these and other changes to the Michigan Adoption Code, or need adoption legal services, do not hesitate to contact us at Rosi & Gardner.

Issue: 29        
In This Issue
Is Legalese Important?
Changes to Michigan Adoption Laws
Courtroom Humor
A Sticky Mess
Constitution Week
The Lone Ranger (& Tonto!)
Karen’s Home Cooking

Courtroom Humor  

    

If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman. 

 

He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer’s credibility . . . 

 

Q: ‘Officer — did you see my client fleeing the scene?’ 

 

A: ‘No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.’ 

 

Q: ‘Officer, who provided this description?’ 

 

A: ‘The officer who responded to the scene.’ 

 

Q: ‘A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?’ 

 

A: ‘Yes, sir. With my life.’ 

 

Q: ‘With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?’ 

 

A: ‘Yes sir, we do!’ 

 

Q: ‘And do you have a locker in the room?’ 

 

A: ‘Yes, sir, I do.’ 

 

Q: ‘And do you have a lock on your locker?’

 

A: ‘Yes, sir.’ 

 

Q: ‘Now, why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?’ 

 

A: ‘You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.’

 

The courtroom EXPLODED with laughter, and a prompt recess was called.

A Sticky Mess

 

It’s Sunday morning and you would like a stack of hotcakes.  Do you turn to Aunt Jemima for assistance?  Many Americans do.  The brand has sold a lot of food products over the years.

 

The family of Anna Short Harrington, the inspiration for the Aunt Jemima image and brand, claims that by contract, some of those profits should be shared with her (through her estate, to her heirs).

 

Harrington’s great grandson, D.W. Hunter, has filed a case in federal court in Illinois against PepsiCo and its subsidiary, The Quaker Oats Company, seeking class action status, and recovery of unpaid proceeds, for the family members of Harrington.  His case claims that Anna Short Harrington had a “contractual agreement to play the actress role of Aunt Jemima.” His case asserts that agreement entitles her (and now, her family) to part of the product profits, and that Quaker Oats took control of her recipes without adequate compensation.

 

The suit claims that Harrington’s recipes, menus, likeness and image were improperly taken from her, without adequate compensation.  In addition to the requested $2 billion dollars, Hunter has also requested punitive damages for racial exploitation.

 

 

Food for thought when you next pour some maple-flavored syrup onto your morning repast . . .

 

Constitution Week:

Celebrating History, Debate and Compromise

 

September 17- 23 is Constitution Week! Established in 1956 to

encourage all Americans to learn more about the Constitution, this relatively obscure federal event does not impact our lives or make the news as much as the document it celebrates.  

 

 

On September 17th, 1787, 38 out of 41 delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia seemingly put an end to months of heated debate by signing what would later become the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. The original seven articles established the framework of American democracy, including the separation of powers (dividing the federal government into legislative, executive, and judicial branches) and federalism (delineating the relationship between state and federal governments).

Of course, the debate lived on. Ratification would take years, and the Bill of Rights did not yet exist. And even after that, to the present day — 27 amendments later – the arguments about the “correct” interpretation of the Constitution continue. Corporate personhood, gun ownership regulations, the federal government’s ability to establish national educational standards… These and so many other current issues populating your news feed are directly related to that piece of paper signed in Philadelphia 227 years ago. Considering that Thomas Jefferson advocated, unsuccessfully, for a “sunset” provision (under the theory that every generation should devise its own set of laws, and therefore each law and constitution should “expire” after 19 years), it is remarkable that the U.S. Constitution continues to guide the country centuries later.

In celebration of this incredible feat of humankind, we modestly posit two questions to our readers: What is your favorite constitutional provision? And what, if anything, would you like to see added or changed?

The Lone Ranger (& Tonto!)

 

Sixty-five – yes 65 – years ago, “Hi-Yo Silver” rang out from our collective television screens for the first time.  “The Lone Ranger,” with Clayton Moore as the masked man and Jay Silverheels, a Mohawk, of the First Nations of Canada, as “Tonto,” premiered on television on September 15, 1949.  Of course, the fictional characters were already known throughout the land, from their “birth” on the radio, first broadcast in 1933.

 

Perhaps less well-known is the background, and subsequent career of “Jay Silverheels,” who starred as the title character’s intrepid Indian companion.  He was a Native American, born Harold J. Smith on Canada’s Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, one of 11 children of Canadian Mohawk tribal chief and military officer, Major George Smith.  According to legend, his athleticism, showcased in his lacrosse league play, including for the “Rochester Iroquois” team, caused an observer to suggest that he “screen test” for television.  (It is also said that he took his screen name, “Jay Silverheels” from his nickname in the North American Amateur Lacrosse Association).  He did the television screen test, and started his work in television as an extra, and as a stunt man.  Eventually, his work and prowess led to his most famous role.  After the television series, though, his career was far from over.  He landed several major roles, not the least of which was as “John Osceola” (a Native American; he was typecast after The Lone Ranger) in Key Largo, with Humphrey Bogart.

 

The Lone Ranger television series ran for eight years, until its last broadcast on September 12, 1957.  Unsurprisingly, there have been several reincarnations of the characters and *theme.  Most recently, of course, Johnny Depp stole the show portraying “Tonto” in the 2013 Walt Disney Film’s Hollywood production of “The Lone Ranger.”  For most of us, though, The Lone Ranger is indelibly etched in black and white, both visually and morally, and embodied in Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.  And away! in a cloud of dust . . .  

September Special Offer

Questions about adoption?  

 
No Charge, no obligation consultation regarding adoption
if you call in September in say “Hogwash!”

231-941-5878 

Offer Expires 9/30/2014

Karen’s Home Cooking 

 

 

Fall Is a Great Time to Grill

 

It has happened. We had to put on our headlamps to see what we were cooking on the grill. As an optimist, I’ll say that the food is most delicious in the fall.   Here are a couple things we’ve done recently. Enjoy!

 

Blue Cheese Salad

 

Drizzle Dijon mustard on a salad plate. Place salad greens on top of the mustard and top the greens with sliced tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil on tomatoes and top with blue cheese. Drizzle all with buckwheat honey.

 

Beer Can Whole Grilled Chicken.

 

Rub a whole chicken with lots of smoked paprika, and Alden’s Miracle salt (sea salt, garlic, dried herbs). Take half a can of beer and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the can. Stick the can in the cavity of the chicken. Fold the legs around can. Place the chicken in a rack at the bottom of a pan (you need to catch the drippings so they don’t start a fire in your grill). Cook on the grill for about 1 hours (use a meat thermometer, cook to 170 degrees). Let the chicken sit with grill off and cover on for about 15 minutes.

 

Noodles and chicken (or tofu or sirloin or crab or no meat at all)

 

Hearty old fashioned noodles

Summer squash and/or zucchini

Onions and garlic

2 tbsp dried tomatoes soaked in white wine

2 tbsp butter

cup white wine

cup sunflower seeds

cup Greek cream cheese

Cream

Chopped cooked chicken

 

Cook noodles. Saute cut squash and/or zucchini in olive oil. Add onions. Add garlic. Add marinated dried tomatoes. Add wine and butter. Reduce. Add cooked noodles, sunflower seeds, chicken, Greek cream cheese. Keep the heat low, just enough to melt the cheese. Top with fresh chopped parsley and tarragon. If it’s too dry, add more olive oil or wine or butter or cream (the finishing touches are for individual taste – just remember to add the herbs at the very end).

 

For the Vegetarian On the Side

 

Carrots

Beets

Sweet Potatoes

 

Cut the veggies into nice big bite-size chunks. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven on a large baking sheet (keep them flat) at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes until they start to carmelize. Serve with horseradish and/or malt vinegar.

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Rosi & Gardner, P.C.
735  S. Garfield Avenue
Suite 202
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
231-941-5878
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Philip R. Rosi

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Gary Allen Gardner
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