Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome to the blog 2019!

This past year, I posted every Monday about each of the 50 US states, plus DC and US territories, including interesting information and trivia.  I hope you enjoyed reading!

In 2019, I will post every Monday about a “frivolous” lawsuit which either began or ended in 2018.

What is a frivolous lawsuit?  A frivolous lawsuit is any lawsuit that is filed with the intention of harassing, annoying, or disturbing the opposing party, or in which the plaintiff knows there is little or no chance of the lawsuit actually succeeding if pursued in court.

Although most people will agree that certain lawsuits are frivolous, some of these lawsuits resulted in the plaintiffs obtaining money.  And sometimes, a lawsuit which appears frivolous actually isn't.

As an example of an older “frivolous” lawsuit, most of us remember when a 79yo lady sued McDonald's because of burns she sustained when she bought a cup of hot coffee from the drive-thru and it spilled in her lap, (1) causing third degree burns which required extensive surgery and skin grafts, and almost killed her, or (2) people need to realize that hot coffee is just that – hot – and should expect to be burned if they spill it on themselves, duh.

In 1994 [can you believe this is 25 years ago?!], a New Mexico jury determined that plaintiff was 20% responsible for her own injuries and McDonald's was 80% responsible, and awarded the lady almost $3 million.  The court reduced that amount to $640,000.  Thereafter, the parties reached a confidential settlement to avoid the further legal expense of a McDonald's appeal.

Click here for plaintiff's side of the case, which actually looks very compelling, including that McDonald's intentionally sold the coffee at 180-190 degrees which is capable of causing third degree burns in three seconds [boiling point is 212 degrees, home-brewed coffee is generally 140 degrees, reducing the temperature to 155 degrees would have avoided severe burns entirely], and McDonald's had received over 700 previous consumer complaints about coffee burning them and had done nothing.  Plaintiff had initially just wanted $20,000 to cover her medical expenses.  McDonald's offered $800.

Here's to a safe and happy 2019!

Monday, December 24, 2018

December - Week 52 - US Territories

Date became a US territory – August 1, 1950 (as unincorporated territory), April 11, 1899 [acquired from Spain]
Postal abbreviation – GU
Capital – Hagåtña
Area – 570.7 [smaller than Rhode Island]
Population as of census 2010 – 159,358 [lower than every state]
Population density per square mile – 759.9 [about as crowded as Connecticut, the 4th most crowded state]
Area code – 671
Zip codes – 96910 - 96932
Official nickname – Island of Warriers, or Tano 'l ManChamorro meaning 'Land of the Chamorros'
Official motto – Where America's Day Begins [it is located on the other side of the international date line] 

Flag of Guam
Fun facts
-Guam does not have sand. The beaches are coral.
-It is the largest island in Micronesia.
-It is approximately 30 miles long, and its width varies between 4 and 12 miles.
-Guamanians are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.

Puerto Rico
Date became a US territory – March 2, 1917 (as unincorporated territory, a commonwealth), April 11, 1899 [acquired from Spain], it has voted to become the 51st US state but that is not yet official
Postal abbreviation – PR
Capital – San Juan
Area – 5,324.7 [larger than only Delaware and Rhode Island]
Population as of census 2010 – 3,725,789 [approximately the same as Connecticut]
Population density per square mile – 1,088.1 [only District of Columbia and New Jersey are more crowded]
Area code – 787, 939
Zip codes – 00600 – 00799 and 00900 - 00999
Official nickname – Island of Enchantment
Official motto – "JOANNES EST NOMEN EJUS" means "John is his name", referring to St. John the Baptist or San Juan Bautista, the original name of the island. 

Flag of Puerto Rico
Fun facts
-The official name is the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
-The temperature varies between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.
-The largest telescope in the world is located in Puerto Rico. It is used to look at asteroids and determine if any get too close to the Earth.
-Puerto Ricans are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
-Puerto Rico is an archipelago consisting of the main island of Puerto Rico, smaller islands Vieques and Culebra, and 140+ other islands, most of which are uninhabited.
-Puerto Rico has the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest System, and has no snakes.

US Virgin Islands

Date became a US territory – March 31, 1917 (as unincorporated territory) [purchased from Denmark]
Postal abbreviation – VI
Capital – Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas
Area – 732.8 [about twice the size of the District of Columbia]
Population as of census 2010 – 106,405 [lower than Guam]
Population density per square mile – 791.7 [about the same as Guam]
Area code – 340
Zip codes – 00801 - 00851
Official nickname – 'Rock City' for St. Thomas, 'Love City' for St. John, and 'Twin City' for St. Croix.
Official motto – "United in Pride and Hope" 

Flag of the US Virgin Islands
Fun facts
-The US purchased the islands from Denmark for $25 million in gold.
-The US Virgin Islands is the only location in the United States where you drive on the left side of the road.
-Point Udall is the Easternmost Point in the United States. 
-There is an Underwater National Park off the coast of St. John. 
-Virgin Islanders are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
-The US Virgin Islands is an archipelago consisting of three main islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – and 50+ other islands.

American Samoa

Date became a US territory – April 17, 1900 (as unincorporated territory)
Postal abbreviation – AS
Capital – Pago Pago
Area – 581.1 [about half the size of the US Virgin Islands, slightly larger than the District of Columbia]
Population as of census 2010 – 55,519 [approximately half of the US Virgin Islands]
Population density per square mile – 726.7 [about the same as Connecticut]
Area code – 684
Zip code – 96799
Official nickname – The Heart of Polynesia
Official motto – "Sāmoa, Muamua Le Atua" which means “Samoa, Let God be First” 

Flag of American Samoa
Fun facts
-American Samoa has earned the nickname "Football Island," as the islands produce more American football players than anywhere else in the world.
-American Samoa consists of five volcanic islands (Tutuila, Aunu'u, and the Manu'a islands of Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u) and two coral atolls (Rose and Swains atolls)
-American Samoa is located 2,300 miles south of Hawaii, making it the most southern point in the United States.
-Bats are the only native species of mammals found in American Samoa. The Samoan flying fox bat is only found in Samoa and Fiji. They are active both day and night, and have a 3 foot wingspan.

-American Samoa's waters were used for the splash landings for US astronauts during the 60s and 70s.
-It rains 300 days each year 

Northern Mariana Islands

Date became a US territory – November 4, 1986 (as unincorporated territory, a commonwealth), conquered by the US in 1947 during WWII
Postal abbreviation – MP
Capital – Capitol Hill on the island of Saipan
Area – 1,975.7 [almost as large as Guam]
Population as of census 2010 – 53,883 [smallest of all states and territories]
Population density per square mile – 295.7 [about the same as Ohio]
Area code – 670
Zip codes – 96950 - 96952
Official nickname – Pearl of Saipan

Flag of Northern Mariana Islands
Fun facts
-The Northern Mariana Islands, plus Guam, comprise the Mariana Islands archipelago.
-The island chain geographically consists of two groups:  a northern group of ten volcanic main islands, all currently uninhabited; and a southern group of five coralline limestone islands (Rota, Aguijan, Tinian, and Saipan, along with Guam), all inhabited except Aguijan.
-The temperature remains almost constant during the year.  The rainy season is July through November and the dry season is December through June.  Ocean temperature is usually around 80 degrees.
-The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were loaded onto war planes on the island of Tinian.
-Northern Marianans are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.

Monday, December 17, 2018

December - Week 51 - District of Columbia - DC

District of Columbia
Date established – July 16, 1790, land taken from the states of Maryland and Virginia
Postal abbreviation – DC
Capital – of the United States of America
Area – 68.3 [smallest of all states and territories]
Population as of census 2010 – 601,723 [lower than every state except Vermont and Wyoming]
Population density per square mile – 10,801.5 [more crowded than any state]
Area code – 202
Zip codes – 20001 - 20599
Number of counties – 0
Official nickname –  DC
Official motto – "Justia Omnibus" - Justice for All

Flag of the District of Columbia
Fun facts
-Both Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators in the White House.
-John Adams was the first president to live in the White House.
-The White House has 35 bathrooms.
-The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with more than 162 million objects in its collection. Approximately 12,000 items are added to the collections daily.
-DC residents could not vote in presidential elections until the 23rd amendment was ratified in 1961.
-Both the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers started out as the Washington Senators.
-The Washington Redskins were originally based in Boston.

Law Schools

-American University Washington College of Law
-Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
-University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
-Georgetown University Law Center.
-Howard University School of Law
-George Washington University Law School

Military Bases

Monday, December 10, 2018

December - Week 50 - Hawaii - the Aloha State

50 Hawaii
Date admitted to the US – August 21, 1959
Postal abbreviation – HI
Capital – Honolulu
Area – 10,931.7 [47th largest in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 1,360,301 [39th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 211.8 [13th largest in the US]
Area codes – 808
Zip codes – 96701 - 96898
Number of counties – 5
State nickname –  the Aloha State
State motto – "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono" - The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness

State Flag of Hawaii
Fun facts
-The state of Hawaii consists of eight main islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Hawaii.
-Hawaii is the most isolated population center on Earth - 2,390 miles from California; 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from the Philippines.
-There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet - Vowels A, E, I, O, U and Consonants H, K, L, M, N, P, W
-From east to west, Hawaii is the widest state in the United States.
-The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the largest mountain range in the world.
-Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time), two hours behind Pacific Standard Time.  There is no daylight savings time.
-Molokai is known as the most Hawaiian Isle.
-The island of Oahu draws the most visitors.
-Kilauea is the world's most active volcano.
-Ka Lae is the southernmost point in the United States.  A constant wind blows east to west at 27 knots per hour, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
-Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world (measured from its base at the ocean floor). 

Law Schools
-University of Hawai'i at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law

Military facts
Military bases

Monday, December 3, 2018

December - Week 49 - Alaska - The Last Frontier

49 Alaska
Date admitted to the US – January 3, 1959
Postal abbreviation – AK
Capital – Juneau
Area – 665,383.9 [1st largest – largest- in the US]
Population as of census 2010 – 710,231 [48th largest in the US]
Population density per square mile – 1.2 [50th largest – smallest
in the US]
Area codes – 907
Zip codes – 99501 – 99950
Number of counties – 27
State nickname –  The Last Frontier
State motto – “North to the Future”

State Flag of Alaska
Fun facts
-In 1867, US Secretary of State William Seward offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska.
-The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.
-Prudhoe Bay, on the northern Alaskan coast, is North America's largest oil field.
-The 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour.
-Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle.
-When a scale map of Alaska is superimposed on a map of the 48 lower states, Alaska extends from coast to coast.

Law Schools

Military facts
Military bases