Thursday, April 13, 2017


Judge Jason Dimitris was elevated from County Court to Circuit Court this week, replacing the retired Judge Brennan. Congrats. The Captain has the details in the comments.  And that means a county court spot has opened and the dominoes are lining up. 

While money isn't everything, we will just note that, as indicated below, most members of the judiciary fly coach...

Warren Buffet, commentating on the success in investing in airlines, once famously quipped that “the best thing that could have happened to investors who want to invest in airlines is if Wilbur would have shot Orville from the sky”.

Airlines are difficult companies to run.  A little history: in the 1960’s the emerging Jet age was regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board which regulated interstate air routes for commercial airlines (the ol’ commerce clause of fame and misfortune rears it’s ugly head yet again).  Airlines that wanted the lucrative New York-Miami route (remember Eastern Airlines and Pan Am?) would be awarded that route IF they also agreed to the less lucrative New York-Dayton route.  Fares were also regulated because flying and interstate travel were deemed to be “in the public interest” (the economic philosophy of altruistic-collectivism for those of you paying philosophical attention).

Some capitalists found a loophole- intra-state travel was not regulated. While this didn’t mean a lot for say, New Mexico, it did offer an opportunity for regional airlines in Texas and California. Thus was born Southwest Airlines which made a small fortune flying from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio.

Economically, inter-state travel was so expensive because of regulation and the obligation to fly money-losing routes, that adjusted for inflation, cost-per-mile basis was double what it was today.  The system worked in a way. Air travel was luxurious. Airlines competed for customers on their routes, but mostly they lost money.

Enter James Earl Carter the 39th POTUS, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy and his bright aide Stephen Breyer. Kennedy was a frequent critic of the airlines, and Carter was dealing with a spike in gas prices and airlines were facing bankruptcy.  And just like that- a bunch-a-liberal do-gooders de-regulated an industry. Yep, it wasn’t the republicans (their weren’t that many around in those post-Watergate days anyway) it was a democratic congress and president that unleashed the power of capitalism and competition on the airline industry.  

Airlines sprung up and went away- who remembers Air-Tran, not to mention Trump-Air?  Eventually, as the market predicted, the industry consolidated as some airlines failed because of market inefficiency, and successful ones bought-out smaller ones and a few regional powerhouses like Southwest and Alaska Air emerged. And thus we flew through the 80’s and 90’s with cheap travel (cheap oil and gas) and a strong dollar and a flying stock market and Rumpole became well known for flying to Paris or London or Berlin for a long weekend as the stock-market roared with new tech stocks and Bill Clinton cast a longing and lonely eye at White House interns.

But then, like the bubble stocks that fueled our European travels, we landed, the economy landed, 9/11 occurred, oil prices soared, and airlines collapsed under new security and energy costs. By the end of the Obama administration, the sea of airline red ink was so vast, that Moses couldn’t have parted it on his best day, and the loses of that decade wiped out the existence of every single dollar of airline profit ever made since the 1960’s.

Warren Buffet- he’s a pretty smart guy. You invest against his recommendations at your own risk.

To survive, airlines needed to do a few basic things. 1) Fly full. Every trip. Every seat maximized for what investors call the -dollar-per-seat-per-mile basis. 2) Fly profitable routes- which means flying though hubs. Shuttling passengers from New York to Atlanta to Chicago and then dumping them on a small regional to get to Dayton became the way to survive in a competitive market. This is capitalism and competition for better or worse. Seats became smaller. No more meals. Take a small bag of peanuts and watch your ipad and be quiet. 3) Monetarize everything- EVERYTHING. A few more inches of leg room costs more. Exit rows cost more. Getting on first costs more. Flying for a two week vacation? Have fun! If you decide to bring a change of clothes in a bag or two, that will cost $25/bag. Want a slice of cheese and a few grapes at 32, 000 feet? $11.50 please.

And now on the Friendly Skies of United.

That passenger was a complete moron. An idiot. And as it turns out- a convicted felon who as a doctor traded sex for pain pills and was placed on probation by a hospital he worked at after he somehow managed to get his license back.

Every airline ticket comes with the agreement that your seat is NOT guaranteed. This has been the case since Carter and Kennedy channeled their inner-Rockefeller. Everybody knows flights are overbooked. And if you are asked to leave- then like the couple just before the doctor- you get up, you grumble, you threaten to call Rumpole or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and your cousin Arnie who knows a guy who works with the CEO of United, and you grab your back-pack and you shuffle off the plane.

That doctor caused this incident. He had two good working feet. He could have gotten off the plane. Throughout our life we all encounter situations that we don’t like or are unfair. The obnoxious person who steals your parking space at Walmart as you are preparing to back into. The person who cuts the line at Joes (guilty as charged).  The cop who tells you to do something she has no right to tell you to do.

What you do in those situations, is you take a deep breath, understand that being adult means sometimes life isn’t fair, and you back down, you get off the plane and you move on with your life. You tell yourself you believe in Karma and that the cop, or the parking spot thief, or the nasty airline employee will get theirs-if not tomorrow then in their next life when they get continually ripped off by their Chinese-food delivery service and don’t get the spare ribs they ordered and were dying for- and you MOVE ON.

Four year-olds (and many people who wear black robes in Broweird) throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want and they discover that life isn’t fair. Adults deal with the situation as adults.

United was wrong. The cops who dragged the doctor were wrong. But this doctor caused the problem. He didn’t act like a responsible individual. He’s not the guy we want operating the emergency exit (much less a sphygmomanometer on our arm in the doctor’s office), and he’s probably the guy talking on his cell-phone right through take-off. He’s the type of guy who steals your parking spot at Walmart; he cuts in line at the bank; he is nasty to the people who take your order at the drive-through; he doesn’t tip hotel maids when he checks out of the Hampton Inn after a mid-afternoon illicit tryst. The world owes HIM because he has an MD degree. And they say trial lawyers can be obnoxious.  

Airline travel is no longer fun (but those shops at airports are getting nicer). Small seats. Full planes. No food. Long delays. Nasty employees. It’s all part of the price we pay for affordable travel. So understand what it is, and that one time you get bumped for the crew that has to get to Indianapolis  to get that jet of people to Albuquerque,  so that a crew can hot-seat to Albuquerque to get that flight to Minneapolis- you get your stuff and put on your ear phones and turn on Public Enemy (Fight the Power!)  and walk off the plane like an adult with your head held high, albeit a bit smaller.

Or do what we do- Fly NetJets.

From Occupied America, where the planes are full, the skies not friendly, and the president is mad, turn on Public Enemy and Fight the Power!


Anonymous said...

Interesting twist to see someone who claims to be a criminal defense attorney attack a victim based on their criminal history. Leaving that aside for a moment - next time you may want to hang back and wait for the facts to crystallize, as there seems to be some question as to the identity of the passenger (David Dao is not an entirely unique name, alas). While you might be vindicated, there's a significant chance your statement about his criminal history will be just as wrong as the rest of this post.

What makes you think an airline can drag you off a plane for no reason at all, save their desire to free up your seat for crew members? Airlines can deny boarding to a ticketed passenger so long as the passenger is compensated, no doubt. The Supreme Court itself weighed in on that. But whence do you arrive at the conclusion that airlines have the plenary right to remove passengers (who are not misbehaving) who've already been boarded?


REPRINTED, with permission from The Captain:




Last evening, Governor Scott appointed Dimitris to the open Circuit Court seat that was vacated by Judge Victoria Brennan.

Dimitris, 46 years old, has been a County Court Judge since 2013. Before that he worked as an AUSA, Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, and ASA.

Dimitris beat out five other finalists: Ayana N. Harris, Joseph J. Mansfield,
Judge Spencer J. Multack, Judge Lourdes Simon, and
Judge Andrea Ricker-Wolfson.

This means the Governor will now be able to appoint another new County Court Judge to replace Dimitris.

CAP OUT .....

Anonymous said...

Rumpole - regardless, the airline handled this horribly, from calling the police onboard instead of greasing the guy with cash or travel vouchers (cheaper than the $$$ they will have to shell out in a settlement) to the PR disaster. The cop who dragged the guy is not without fault, too - let's not forget. No United employee physically assaulted the man, but they did a lot to create the environment where such a physical "re-accomodation" was foreseeable.

I think this incident demonstrates the utter lack of humanity in the airline business. We can't all afford Net Jets, but we can afford better airlines.

Anonymous said...

Lest readers mistake the irony above for serious comment, I should note that in fact the passenger was within his legal rights to stay put, as explained in Yves Smith, United Passenger “Removal”: A Reporting and Management Fail, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/united-passenger-removal-reporting-management-fail.html

For example:

This myth that passengers don’t have rights needs to go away, ASAP. You are dead wrong when saying that United legally kicked him off the plane.

First of all, it’s airline spin to call this an overbooking. The statutory provision granting them the ability to deny boarding is about “OVERSALES”, specifically defines as booking more reserved confirmed seats than there are available. This is not what happened. They did not overbook the flight; they had a fully booked flight, and not only did everyone already have a reserved confirmed seat, they were all sitting in them. The law allowing them to denying boarding in the event of an oversale does not apply.

Even if it did apply, the law is unambiguously clear that airlines have to give preference to everyone with reserved confirmed seats when choosing to involuntarily deny boarding. They have to always choose the solution that will affect the least amount of reserved confirmed seats. This rule is straightforward, and United makes very clear in their own contract of carriage that employees of their own or of other carriers may be denied boarding without compensation because they do not have reserved confirmed seats. On its face, it’s clear that what they did was illegal– they gave preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats, in violation of 14 CFR 250.2a.

Furthermore, even if you try and twist this into a legal application of 250.2a and say that United had the right to deny him boarding in the event of an overbooking; they did NOT have the right to kick him off the plane. Their contract of carriage highlights there is a complete difference in rights after you’ve boarded and sat on the plane, and Rule 21 goes over the specific scenarios where you could get kicked off. NONE of them apply here. He did absolutely nothing wrong and shouldn’t have been targeted. He’s going to leave with a hefty settlement after this fiasco.

Anonymous said...

I believe it all started with the trucking industry and the same liberal forces were behind that. Remember, the Teamsters were heavily Republican. Deregulation would make if more difficult to extort money and pay off politicians to get what they wanted. Inner Rockefeller? No. Inner Reagan is more like it. Kennedy took a lot of heat on this one. Because what made sense for the trucking and airline industry also made, sense, for, gulp!, the oil industry! And that is exactly what Reagan did. Very interesting post. Thanks

Maureen Dowd said...

Best post this year. Worthy of an op-ed in the NY Times or Wall Street Journal. You are a writer of deep talent. Keep it up and you will be discovered and set free from this pedestrian blog on legal Miami minutiae.

Anonymous said...

That conflict wheel is turning slower than molasses in January. Those greedy PDs need to file some more conflicts.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of County Court...Who gave new-to-the-building County Court Judge Michelle Alvarez Barakat the bright idea to hold her DUI soundings on Tuesdays at 11:00 A.M. when every other division (7/8) holds them on Wednesday mornings? Yes, let's bring more people to the building on a Tuesday for no reason. It's not like there's any business anyway in county court.

Anonymous said...

For a snapshot at the character of your president, check out Trump LLC, a case out of the Third District yesterday. Trump Doral failed to pay a paint supply company $32k. When supplier tried to collect on lien, Trump refused, because the supplier inadvertently inserted the wrong sub's name. There was never a question that supplier fulfilled his obligations. Verdict for supplier.

Trump appealed, hiring Bruce Rogow to continue defending him from paying the supplier. In a 15-page opinion, 3DCA said supplier's error on lien doc not a defense to paying what was owed. Rogow no doubt earned many times what Trump owed the supplier.

Trump, protector of the little guy. And shame on Rogow.

Anonymous said...

Smart money says undercover right winger Bronwyn gets the nod on the Third.

Anonymous said...

Net jets ? Fly jetsmarter old timer

Anonymous said...

Who says Bronwyn's right wing politics are undercover? Everyone knows she's a State hack. Recall that she failed to give a STANDARD jury instruction in a1st degree murder case converting burglary so that the Third has to reverse. Jury has hung twice because Tinkler-Mendez is not a State hack and is intructing the jury correctly.

Anonymous said...

well said rump! can't disagree with a single paragraph

Anonymous said...

Jose Baez with another YAHTZEE!!! not guilty in the Arron Hernandez double murder case. Wake up haters, and lets hear how he is a horrible lawyer and anyone could have won the case.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that you speak with Chief Judge Slom about Judge Barrakat's setting of Sounding hearings on Tuesdays. Back when the Sounding system was first created, every judge had a different Sounding date. Your FACDL-Miami was able to negotiate an agreement with the chief judge for Sounding hearings to only be held on a single morning so that lawyers would actually have time to be in their offices to prepare their cases.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

You called Brennan "retired." She's not retired. She's not allowed to work as a retired judge, She cut a deal. Never judge again and they back off.

How about using the truth like:

Forced out

I like disgraced best of all.

Eatly Miami said...

Winter is coming...
So is The REN!!!

Winter is coming...but first SUMMER

Eatly Miami partners in conjunction with Shumie Ventures whisper that Winter is coming...but first summer, and a New REN... a venue and soooo much more.

Imagine a hotel on the beach...the sun setting behind you....or maybe a sunrise after an all nighter...sipping a classic whiskey sour made the REN way with our single malt small batch aged 25 years that we bought 1,225 casks from a small Kentucky brewer that needed to raise cash.
Maybe a sunrise tofu egg scramble on gluten free rolls baked daily...or a shrimp taco with our homemade spicy mayo infused with our proprietary organic sirracha sauce and local grown Avocados...or just a mimosa and a great cup-a-joe...

winter is comming...but first SUMMER...the next REN is coming to. Summer..2017.

Anonymous said...

9:21 A.M,, those are GREAT news! This winter we can call the Shumie very early and go to the REN a venue to enjoy its fine food and libation offerings. Yay!

IITIMBB said...

Thanks for the info BR. You're obviously plugged in so make a call to Slom for us all. Thanks in advance.

IITIMBB (If it's Tuesday, it must be Barakat)

Anonymous said...

Saw Lurvey, Brennan and Baez lunching in the Gables. Next power firm?

Anonymous said...

Money isn't everything but opening LLC's under family member's names in order to buy properties at auction in which you have been presiding Judge sure helps the bank account. Did you guys ever wonder why some Judges were so quick to grant final judgments without even looking to see if the Defendants had been served or even verifying if the Note and Mortgage being presented to the Judge was the actual an Original and not just a copy stamped Original or even if the Original being presented was the one for that property and that defendant???

Anonymous said...

She can do what she sees fit. Stop trying to micromanage judges. You should be concerned about more important things.