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Gregg's Blog

Same-sex marriage case

by Gregg Herman on 06/27/15

In general, I agree with Judge Kennedy's majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex couples have a right to marry.  As I've stated previously, I have an interest in the decision as the more marriages, the better for a divorce lawyer like me!  More over, any other decision would have created chaos, not only due to the different laws in different states, but also due to the possible retroactive effect of disallowing marriages which already happened.

I only have one small qualm about the apparent rule of law that results, which seems to extend rights to consenting adults where there is no overriding state interest.  No, that is not expressly stated in the decision, but it seems to be the trend from Griswold v. Connecticut to Loving v. Virginia to this new case.

My qualm is the slippery slope.  If consenting adults have a right to do what they want as long as there is no victim, then what's wrong with prostitution?  It can't be the likelihood of child involvement or disease or degrading women, since those occur with prostitution illegal.  Can it be any worse if prostitution was legal?  I'm not sure the data from the few places with legal prostitution, such as Nevada and the Netherlands would support that conclusion.

But Loving and Obergefell  involved marriage, not sex.   OK, but then what is wrong with polygamy?  Again, assuming we are talking about consenting adults.  And for those who claim that same-sex marriage is prohibited by the Bible, why are they not for polygamy since the Bible clearly allows it?

My best argument against prostitution and polygamy are that they are icky, but I doubt that the constitution prohibits ickiness.  So while I agree with Judge Kennedy and the majority, it should be interesting to see whether far ruling extends to other relationships.

Wussy discipline

by Gregg Herman on 06/25/15

It's been a while since I've ranted about Wisconsin wussy system of disciplining lawyers for misconduct.  Today, the SC gives me an easy target.

In a decision today, the court suspended the license of Attorney Robert Paul D'Arruda for three years.

In addition to prior discipline on two occasions, Mr. D'Arruda was accused  of 42 counts of misconduct involving 12 clients.  According to the decision, he:

failed to file an answer to the complaint, amended complaint, or second amended complaint.  He also failed to appear at multiple telephonic scheduling conferences. 

The referee found him in default and accepted OLR's recommendation of a three year suspension.

Really?  This lawyer does not deserve a revocation? He should be allowed to petition to have his license reinstated?

The decision of the Wisconsin SC was unanimous.  Although it seems the court cannot agree on anything, apparently they all agree that a lawyer who had been disciplined on two prior occasions, committed 42 new violations affecting 12 clients and did not even bother to respond to the allegations should not have his license revoked.

Kirk Kerkorian

by Gregg Herman on 06/17/15

Today's MJS reported that Kirk Kerkorian died.  Per the article:

Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, an eighth-grade dropout who built Las Vegas’ biggest hotels, tried to take over Chrysler and bought and sold MGM at a profit three times, has died. He was 98. He died Monday night in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Kerkorian holds a special place in Family Law.

In 2002, Lisa Bonder, a former professional tennis player who 48 years younger than Kerkorian, claimed that Kerkorian, her ex-husband, was the father of her three year old child.  According to stories at the time, the parties faked a paternity test.  Bonder claimed that the:
...84-year-old casino and media mogul went along with the story to promote the virile image created by having a child with a woman less than half his age.  She added she got saliva for the DNA test from one of his daughters. Her lawyers also say Mr. Kerkorian affirmed his paternity in several sworn documents.

But that is not why the case is famous.  It is known for the most absurd proposal in the history of family law.  No, I am not being histrionic.   She requested over $320,000 per month - that's per month in child support.  Her budget included:

Nannies: $6,850
Security guards: $47,450
Vacation home in France (every three year should have one): $29,296
Eating out: $5,920
Household staff: $13,216.67
Lessons and tutors: $3,386
Food and care for pets: $436
Clothing and shoes: $2,500
Attorneys' fees: $16,704.99 (that would be great - the attorney wouldn't need another client!)
Parties: $14,083.33
Vegetation: $1,557 (to spruce indoor plants, trees.)

It was later confirmed that Bonder's ex-boyfriend was the father and Kerkorian was off the hook.  I could not find any confirmation about how much child support Bonder ended up receiving, but I'm going to guess that it was a shade less than $320K per month.

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