A Valentine for a Lawyer

By John Curtin
On February 14, 2013

Today Sonia and Angel stopped by. Four years ago, a tiny little Spanish speaking grandmother came to our offices begging for help. Her daughter, Sonia, had suffered complications during delivery and had bled extensively. Now she was in a coma, her kidneys had failed and she had a raging infection. Worse, the next morning, the hospital was planning to send her to a public hospital — in Honduras. Sonia was in the USA legally, but in a refugee status that was not eligible for health care. She had lived and worked in the US for 17 years. She has six children, all citizens, including the new baby fighting for its life in the NICU (Angel). But since there was no one to pay for what looked to be permanent care, the hospital wanted to send her to a third world…



Lessons from Connecticut

By Joel Robbins
On December 21, 2012

On Friday, December 14, 2012, a troubled young man killed a classroom full of Kindergarten children. It seems incomprehensible that anyone could kill small children- kindergarteners capable of little more than sweetness. As our country sorts through the facts of the Connecticut slaughter, looking for some meaning, don’t you find yourself asking, “How could God let this happen?” I suppose the answer is that God did not let this happen; a person made this happen. God could no more prevent the young man in Connecticut from shooting than he could force another person to be good against their will. Man’s free will necessitates that God does not prevent man from acting badly. If God forced people to be only good, we couldn’t choose to be good. We could be no more than mindless robots, capable of doing no more than…



The legal thriller has been part of the American culture for decades, if not longer. CBS began broadcasting Perry Mason in 1957, a mainstay of its television arsenal during the early years of television, based upon Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels from the 1930s and 40s. To Kill A Mockingbird is both a literary and cinematic masterpiece. Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent in 1987 reinvigorated the literary genre. The patriarch of the legal thriller, John Grisham, has written:  “Though Americans distrust the profession as a whole, we have an insatiable appetite for stories about crimes, criminals, trials and all sorts of juicy lawyer stuff.” (“The Rise of the Legal Thriller: Why Lawyers are Throwing the Books at Us,” New York Times, Book Review Section, 33, Oct. 18, 1992). As Grisham notes, however, the genre has focused almost exclusively on criminal law and…



Personal Responsibility

By John Curtin
On June 5, 2012

Some people believe that trial lawyers do not believe that people should take personal responsibility for their lives and actions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trial lawyers are in the business of enforcing personal responsibility on people and businesses who try to avoid being held accountable for their conduct. The notion that trial lawyers are at war with the concept of “personal responsibility” comes from a warped concept of what that term means. These days, the person shouting “personal responsibility” the loudest, is all too often the person trying desperately to AVOID being held responsible. We hear the litany of “personal responsibility” from negligent doctors, careless drivers and irresponsible manufacturers. They say that people “ought to take personal responsibility for what happens to them.” This sounds good, but there is a subtle distortion in this statement which has…



Why Pink Underwear Matters

By Joel Robbins
On May 15, 2012

Sheriff Arpaio goes before a Houston audience. He tells them about why he has pink underwear in his jails. He goes through an explanation that his white underwear was being stolen from his famous jails, so he made it pink to prevent it from being stolen. Besides the obviousness of the lie, that inmates aren’t required to return all the clothes that they have been given by the jail, Sheriff Arpaio makes it clear that he knows that it is a lie.  He says that’s the “official” reason. “I always have an official reason so I can win the lawsuits and then I have my reasons.”[1] The audience laughs heartily. The “real” reason, the Sheriff goes on, is that the inmates hate pink. The audience chuckles at the prospect of the Sheriff tricking courts with a pretextual claim that underwear is…



Imagine going to a restaurant, opening the menu, and discovering that you only had a choice between two items. Steak or chicken. Nothing else. For those of us that like steak or chicken, this menu might be just fine. But for those who may prefer seafood, pasta, ethnic fare, or the like, the choices are far from adequate. Yet, every two years in November, as we fill out our voting ballots, we confront little more than a two item menu. For President: Democrat or Republican. For Senator: Democrat or Republican. For Governor: Democrat or Republican. For well over a century, these two parties have controlled American politics from local to the national level. In economic terms, the two parties have a duopoly; the “market” for political power is not free or open, but dominated by the two parties. Not surprisingly,…



The pursuit of justice does not end at the doorway of the trial court. When necessary to advance their clients’ interests, neither Joel Robbins nor John Curtin shy away from appellate courts, whether state or federal. Between John and Joel, the attorneys of Robbins & Curtin have either defended or prosecuted dozens of appeals before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and even the United States Supreme Court. Along the way, Joel and John have sought to leave their footprints on the law, urging appellate courts to adopt decisions that reflect the American tradition of personal liberties and governmental accountability. The Arizona Court of Appeals’ decision in Flanders v. Maricopa County, 203 Ariz. 368, 54 P.3d 837 (App. 2002), reflects this commitment. Joel’s client, Jeremy Flanders, had been sentenced…



Proud to be a Lawyer

By John Curtin
On April 2, 2012

It seems as though lawyers are not as respected as they used to be. The dishonest, greedy lawyer who represents only his own selfish interest has become a stock villain in the movies and the butt of a thousand jokes. (Yes, I’ve heard all of them. Some of them are pretty funny.) But how accurate is the public image of lawyer as destroyer-of-all-that-is-good? Not very. I have a different attitude toward being a lawyer. My father was a lawyer and judge. His brother, also a lawyer and judge. My wife is a tremendously talented lawyer. My oldest and dearest friend? Another lawyer. My law partner? A lawyer who is driven by a deep commitment to justice. I work and socialize with lawyers. I like lawyers. Truth be told, the best, most honorable people I have known in my life have…



Working with your Doctor to Prevent Medical Errors

By Anne Findling
On March 8, 2012

Even though there is no way to completely protect yourself from harm from medical negligence, there are some things that patients can do to increase their chance for a good outcome from medical care. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides some good advice to patients to help prevent medical errors. Here is a summary of some of their suggestions: Be active in your own health care. When you schedule a doctor’s appointment, think about the reason for your visit and plan to ask questions during the visit. Ask questions throughout the process. What is the provider planning to do? Why? If it is a test, ask what the doctor hopes to learn from the test.  If it is a procedure, ask what the doctor expects from the procedure. Don’t be rushed through…



Do I Need a Lawyer?

By Joel Robbins
On February 12, 2012

This blog is not intended to offer you legal advice. It is common sense advice that should give you an overview of general principles to consider when determining whether or not you need a lawyer. In the event that you have a potential case where you have some doubt as to whether or not you should pursue it, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your specific case to make certain. If people were always fair, always told the truth, and always thought carefully before they did something, there would be no need for lawyers. Lawyers cost money and add a middleman to your contact with an insurance company. Because of this, it’s always important to know whether or not you need a lawyer in the first place before you hire one. Here are some statements that I have had…



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