Archive for the ‘Public Interest’ Category

Red Light Camera Reality

It seems the cost of bail for a traffic violation in Los Angeles has gone from a reasonable penalty, to what could now be considered as, frankly, a financial beating! Red light camera tickets are notorious for their mail delivered shock value, topping off at upwards of $500. I wasn’t angry, more like beside myself with disbelief the day I got my Prius’ portrait in the mail. “I guess I remember a random flash that one time…”, despite being infamously known for my over-cautiousness with yellows. I was making a right turn on my way home on an uninhabited night and pulled, what I’ve fondly heard coined as, a “California roll”. In case you wondered, these incomplete stops are worth roughly $500, and these fines have become a considerable source of revenue for the city. But when does it turn from public safety to an unjust burden on the average citizen? As an 18-year-old college student tagged on what I’d argue, a technicality, this hurt. Even if one was to write off unreasonable ticket costs and outside help to keeping a grip on the sprawling population of Los Angeles, here is where I really see this program beginning to lose credibility. In 2010, the Los Angeles City Council voted red light cameras out due to their not effectively improving public safety, but the city continues to pursue past violators. Trust me, my decision to ignore the fine and put this idea to the test wasn’t easy. They’d made the call to remove my corner’s pest in the coming weeks, but I couldn’t afford the risk of an even steeper fine… What a mess. Despite the removal of several red light cameras a few years back, the reality is they still exist, so better be safe than sorry!

You can’t have your day in court anymore.

As Americans we take for granted that if a person, or company or the government harm us we can take them to court to right the wrong. Don’t count on it anymore.

The State of California is on the verge of bankruptcy and one of the silent victims of this crisis is our court system. The court system is kind of like your doctor or dentist; you don’t think about them until you need them.  Well the Los Angeles Superior Court system, the largest in the country, is slowly closing down. The courts have recently suffered a $100 million budget loss and more is on the way. Courts are closing right and left.  For those of you who want the latest on the disaster, click on COURT REPORT.

So why should you care about this?


The next time some crazy driver hits you, good luck getting his insurance company to make a speedy settlement offer. There aren’t any civil courtrooms available so there is no incentive for the insurance company to pay you a red cent, at least not for a couple of years.

The next time your neighbor builds a hideous second story on his house that blocks your ocean view, good luck finding a courtroom for that type of low priority case.

So what’s the answer?

The big answer is to fix the state budget. The immediate answer is to make sure you know how to navigate the increasingly popular private civil justice system. What is that? It’s where you hire a private judge to decide your case. Times are changing in the court system. Get ready!

Can You Get Out of Jury Duty?

Be careful what you say when you go down for jury duty!

Susan Cole thought it would be funny to act like a crazy homeless person so that she wouldn’t have to serve on jury duty. Well, she got out of jury duty. But now she has been arrested and charged with first degree-perjury! See, she didn’t tell the court the truth (and that just seems like common sense!). 

Susan Cole was dumb enough to go on a local radio station and brag about how she got out of jury duty: “I decided not to put my makeup on and I put black eyebrows on. I put bright red lipstick on. I left my hair in my curlers and I put on a t-shirt that said ‘Ask Me About My Best-Seller,’ ” Cole said on KOA radio. “When they asked me about mental issues I got up and said, ‘Yeah, I have some mental issues.’ Then the judge said, ‘Does anyone care if she leaves?’ And everybody else said all at once in a great big voice, ‘No,’” she said.

Jury duty is very important. I know it’s a hassle, but we live in a county that has the greatest judicial system in the world. Sometimes cases don’t turn out the way we want them to, but at least we have a system where a person can be judged by a jury of other people, and specifically people that your lawyer gets to select. The alternative in some countries is a crazy dictator or warlord or some bureaucrat that has nothing in common with you and you don’t stand a chance at a fair hearing.

We all serve on jury duty. Next time you are called, go and be proud you live in a county where we have this right!

For more, check this out.



The Business of Business is MORE Than Just Business

In 1996, Odwalla, a major player in the juice industry, was hit with an E.Coli bacteria scare.

The company which operated from Half Moon Bay, CA was known for its unpasteurized and fresh juices of the best quality. Founder Greg Steltenpohl was adamant about the importance of a superior product and took the necessary steps to ensure Odwalla remained on top of its competition. Unfortunately, even Steltenpohl’s careful watch over the processing of his juices could not prevent the worst. 10 out of 13 E.Coli break outs in Washington as well as three of four cases in Colorado flagged warnings back to Odwalla’s apple juice.

Without a second thought, Steltenpohl ordered the recall of all products containing any apple juice before the FDA could even prove that the Odwalla product was the cause of the E.Coli. The company also pleaded guilty to all cases filed against them and paid medical bills in full. Steltenpohl even received permission to attend the funeral of a young girl who died from the E.Coli breakout. The net loss was
incredible. Even worse, the Odwalla reputation was tainted.

This did not last long, though. Odwalla was soon viewed as a corporation with high social responsibility, setting the prime example of an ideal company. From setting the highest practices with the manufacturing process of the juice, to assuming full, but unnecessary responsibility of the E.Coli problem, Odwalla was praised for their steps to help the greater good.

What does this say about our corporations today? If even a quarter of major companies assumed responsibility for their actions, how different would the face of “corporate America” be?

To read an article published by CNN in 1996, click here.
To read another view of the Odwalla case, click here.

Unfortunate incidents occur every moment.
We are Higher Legal and our goal is to provide our clients with Higher Standards, Higher Ethics and Higher Results. When you need a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer, we hope you will allow us to serve you.


Voluntary Recall: Expandable Lunch Box with Gel Packs


photo: Ci Sport Expandable, Insulated Lunch Box SeSold at Costco Wholesale Clubs, Leon Korol, and Cost U Less stores, the Expandable Insulated Lunch Box with Freezer is being recalled by California Innovations Inc. due to dangerous contents in the gel packs.  The gel contains diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol and can leak out of damaged packs.  These contents are hazardous should it contaminate food or be ingested.

There have been no reports of directly harming any persons; however, there have been two cases in which dogs have ingested the gel.  One dog recovered with treatment and the other passed away without treatment.

To read more about the details of the lunch box and how to get a refund, click here.

If you have been negatively affected by this lunch box or any other product defect, click here for more information to find out how Higher Legal can help you.