Welcome to my review of interesting events in law, literature and film.


1. Lawsuit of the Week: Smokehouse Creek Fire


Aerial view of Smokehouse Creek Fire


McQuiddy et al v. Xcel Energy Services

The Smokehouse Creek fire has scorched over one million acres of the Texas panhandle including several hundred structures and countless livestock. Now we have the first lawsuit. It lays the blame at the feet of Xcel Energy Services and its subsidiary, Southwestern Public Service Company, and the company they hired to inspect their utility poles, Osmose Utilities Services. The lawsuit claims the fire started near Stinnett, Texas, on February 26, 2024, when a wooden utility pole snapped and utility lines ignited the dry ground below.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer is Mikal Watts. Watts has made a handsome living suing utilities for fires in New Mexico, California, Colorado and Hawaii.

A copy of the Petition can be found here.


2. Legal Article of the Week: Some Dance to Forget


Don Henley


In the late 1970s, Ed Sanders contracted to write a book about The Eagles. The book was never published. However, Sanders befriended several Eagles band members. And in the process, depending on who you believe, Sanders either stole or was given original documents, including handwritten notes penned by Don Henley with lyrics for Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, and New Kid in Town. Sanders sold the notes to a well-known rare books collector who, in turn, sold the lyrics to Glenn Horowitz, a prominent rare books dealer. Don Henley, a founding member of The Eagles, claimed that Sanders stole the material and that Horowitz, the eventual purchaser, knew they were stolen. Somehow, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office thought this tenuous connection was still enough to prosecute Horowitz for theft. After several weeks of trial, including lengthy testimony from Henley himself, the Judge threw out the case.

More here.


3. Funny Article of the Week: Bachelorette, Season 36

The Bachelorette

Here’s a preview of the contestants on Season 36 of The Bachelorette, premiering May 13, 2041. Yes, that’s 2041.


4. Legal Clip of the Week: You Need Me on that Wall!



One of the finest cinematic cross examinations. Watch here.


5. Book of the Week: The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

If you are a fan of memoirs, this is one of the finest of that genre. Mary Karr’s prose is breathtaking. She grew up in a highly dysfunctional family in South Texas during the 1970s. This memoir (the first of three written by Karr) recalls her early years. Her alcoholic mother, her emotionally distant father, her crazy grandmother. It is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.

Even something as simple as how she felt when she rode in a car over a bridge sings:

“I muster all my courage to look out my window at the long drop down. It makes my stomach lurch. The steel girders jerk by my window in a fast staccato. In the distance, I can see two refinery towers. They make a weird Oz-like glow that bleeds up the whole bottom part of the sky.”

Or this, about her fighting skills:

“Daddy had instructed me in the virtue of what he called equalizers, which meant not only sticks, boards and rocks, but having one hell of a long memory for mistreatment. So I wouldn’t hesitate to sneak up blindside and bite a bigger kid who’d gotten the better of me a week before. To my knowledge, I never slouched off an ass-kicking, even the ones that made me double up and cry.”

And finally, this passage about when her parent’s divorce:

“I can’t recall how they announced the divorce. Daddy just sat heavy on the far end of that curvy couch. He was leaned over with his elbows on his knees, his big, rawboned hands dangling toward the floorboards. His head hung down at the angle a bull’s does at the end of a fight when he’s lost a lot of blood and the shoulder muscles have been picked at and stabbed so he can no longer lift that head to make a charge. Big tears fell from Daddy’s eyes onto the floorboards. He didn’t even bother to wipe at them. Every now and then he dragged the back of one hand across the bubble of snot that kept starting from his nose. The tears made dark drops on the wood floor. I studied the splatter of them a long time to keep from watching him cry. They were some connect-the-dots picture I couldn’t make sense of.”

Episode 6 is complete. Many thanks for reading and feel free to reach out with any comments, questions or suggestions.