Friday Links

Above, you’ll find the cover of Superman: The Man of Steel #50, published not so long ago in the wonderful days of 1995. We’re bringing this issue to your attention because of its part in the “Trial of Superman” narrative, which we previously mentioned here. As for this cover, all we have to say is, that’s a lot of chains. Wouldn’t it be easier just to make one chain, but have that chain be stronger? We don’t know who is putting Superman on trial, or what the charged offense is, but that’s got to be cruel, right? It’s certainly unusual.

Did you know that you can follow our writer and contributor, Nick Farr, on Twitter? Nick, you may recall, is one of our prolific hot coffee litigation writers. To do so, simply click here.

We should go ahead and say that we are excited that college football has returned to the airwaves.  Please feel free to suggest to us any football related products liability issues, or even any non-legal football topics, you think we should be discussing here.

The Journal of Frivolous Tort Claims: Carrillo v. The Dallas Cowboys (Post 2 of 2)

[Editor's note: This Dallas Cowboys lawsuit was of such great interest to us that we decided that both Steve Buckingham and Nick Farr, fine writers of this site, should comment upon it. Accordingly, today, we offer Steve's views, while yesterday, as you may recall, we shared Nick''s thoughts. We hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we did.]

Preposterous.

The Dallas Cowboys were sued last week by Plaintiff Jannelle Carrillo, who alleged that she sustained third-degree burns while sitting on a bench outside the stadium before a preseason game in 2010. The allegations of the complaint, which is linked here, speak for themselves. The bench in question was made of black marble, and “was uncovered and openly exposed to the extremely hot August sun. The combination of the nature of the black, marble bench and hot sunlight caused the bench to become extremely hot and unreasonably dangerous. No signs were posted at or near the bench warning that it was too hot for persons to sit on.” It is alleged that as a consequence of the unreasonably dangerous condition of the bench, “plaintiff suffered third degree burns to her buttocks,” which required her to undergo hospitalization and skin grafts that have left her disfigured.

Ms. Carrillo’s injuries are no laughing matter. But the fact that she would try to hold the Cowboys franchise accountable is utterly preposterous. The sun is hot. Things left out in the sun, in August, in Texas, get hot. Are we really supposed to believe that Ms. Carrillo needed a written warning about any of this? Please.

But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume she didn’t know that the sun made stuff hot. It seems to me she would have figured out that the bench was hot approximately 1 split second after she sat down. Why not just stand up? The complaint doesn’t say how long Ms. Carrillo continued to sit on the bench, but I’m willing to bet she didn’t stand up for a while. I bet she kept on sitting there, complaining to her friends and anyone who would listen, “Man, this bench is hot.” Meanwhile, her goose was slowly getting cooked.

Generally, there is no duty to warn folks against open and obvious dangers, and dangers – to the extent this bench presented one – don’t get much more open and obvious than this. It is my prayer to the God of justice and wisdom that this case is thrown out on a motion to dismiss.

Jerry’s World, Sun Subject of New Texas Suit (Post 1 of 2)

[Editor's note: This Dallas Cowboys lawsuit was of such great interest to us that we decided that both Steve Buckingham and Nick Farr, fine writers of this site, should comment upon it. Accordingly, today, we offer Nick's views, while tomorrow, we'll share Steve's thoughts. We hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we did.]

In 2009, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys unveiled the billion dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  With its plethora of unique and extravagant features, the stadium is the closest thing the National Football League has to a work of art.

Now, it is the subject of a lawsuit.

When we here at Abnormal Use heard that “Jerry’s World” was involved in a civil suit, we just knew it had to be some devastating accident involving the 2,100 inch video screen suspended over 60 yards of the field.  (Seriously, how do they keep that think hanging?)  To our surprise, however, it is not the monstrous video board at the center of the personal injury litigation, but, rather, a bench.  A simple black marble bench.

According to reports, a Texas woman has sued the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones in the Tarrant County District Court after she allegedly sustained third-degree burns on her buttocks after sitting on the marble bench.  The woman, attending a Cowboys scrimmage in August 2010, sat on the bench in 100-plus degree temperatures for an undisclosed amount of time while wearing full-length pants.  She alleges that the combination of the black marble and the hot sun made the bench extremely hot and unreasonably dangerous – a condition about which the Cowboys allegedly failed to warn her.

The words “extremely hot and unreasonably dangerous” immediately conjure up thoughts regarding the infamous hot coffee litigation.  Like freshly brewed coffee, a black object basting in 100 degree temperatures will be hot.  Common sense and logic would suggest that the woman bares at least some responsibility for her injuries.

Unlike hot coffee, however, there may be issues of fact regarding whether the common person should appreciate the risk of sitting on a bench made of marble as opposed to a less heat-absorbent material.  Nevertheless, it seems a bit ridiculous to require a warning that a bench resting in the Texas sun may be hot.  Should they also warn that a bench sitting in the rain may be wet?

Of course, the naysayers will suggest that Jones obviously had the money to purchase a sign or design an external bench out of a non-heat-absorbent material.  But should he have to?  This is a marble bench - clearly not a case of a company skimping on costs by cutting safety measures.

(Thumbs) Up and Away – The Wisconsin Crossbow Lawsuit

A Wisconsin man went hunting last fall hoping to take out Bambi’s mom but instead his thumb became the only casualty of the outing.  Let’s talk specific. In November, Cyril Korte found himself deer hunting with a TenPoint Phantom crossbow he purchased at a Cabela’s Retail Store in 2009.  Unfortunately for Mr. Kote, as he fired the crossbow, he stuck his thumb in the path of the bow string, which is a major no-no.  In so doing, he severed part of his thumb; making matters worse, the missing piece could not be reattached.  Mr. Kote has, of course, filed a lawsuit against Hunter’s Manufacturing Company (d/b/a TenPoint) and Cabela’s Retail.

I’m not particularly familiar with the operation of crossbows, but it would seem to me that keeping your digits out of the path of the bow string is common sense.  I found the 2009 owners manual for the TenPoint Phantom crossbows.  Sure enough, it states, quite clearly:  “Never allow your fore-grip hand’s fingers or thumb to move above the barrel’s flight deck or into the bow string or cables’ release path.  If you do, you will injury yourself severely when you fire your crossbow.”

Plaintiff has made a few interesting claims in his suit.  First, the complaint states that TenPoint should have know of the crossbow’s dangerous propensities and that “injuries to users’ fingers or thumb are the most common injuries associated with the use of Tenpoint’s crossbows and TenPoint was at all relevant times aware of this fact.”   For any product, there is always going to be a “most common” injury regardless of whether it is defectively designed.  The real question is, of course, whether the foreseeable injury could have been reduced or avoided by a reasonable alternative design.  To that end, Plaintiff”s real claim is that the crossbow should have some sort of grip guard to keep people from sticking their thumbs into the path of the bow string.

The second interesting allegation Plaintiff made in his lawsuit is that he relied on expertise of the Cabela’s staff in selecting the crossbow and he was apparently he was told that the TenPoint Phantom was the “best and safest” crossbow on the market.  So what? Was this some sort of express warranty that Plaintiff couldn’t severe his thumb if he didn’t use the cross bow properly?  The “best and safest” of anything, especially weapons, will typically still cause injuries if used improperly.  What if a person goes out and buys the “best and safest” car based on the car salesman’s recommendation, then later proceeds to slam on the gas peddle with his friend standing in front of the car?  Of course an injury will occur, even though the car may have, in fact, been the best and safest car on the market.  The real question is here is whether other crossbows sold in 2009 had a grip guard that could have prevented the injury.

In the end, this case just seems like another classic example of “if there is a way to get injured there is someone out there who will find it.”  That someone will inevitably file a lawsuit thereafter.

Get out your robe! FantasySCOTUS is here!

For years, I have watched others obsess over their fantasy teams – fantasy football, fantasy baseball, fantasy soccer – on and on and on.  I don’t really understand the draw – making up fake teams cobbled together with players from real teams, and then “playing” these fake teams against other fake teams to see whose fake team is the best.  A strange pastime, if you ask me, and one that requires time and effort I simply don’t have.

At least for me, it’s hard to get into something that doesn’t have any application or consequences in the real world, unless you have some money riding on it.

That said, I have discovered a fantasy league I can get excited about.  Wait for it . . . .

There is a fantasy SCOTUS league!  FantastySCOTUS is an online fantasy league created by Josh Blackman, head of the Harlan Institute. It involves enthusiasts of constitutional law predicting how each member of the United States Supreme Court will rule on any given case. In its second season, over 5,000 players have registered with the website. A high school version has been created to help improve education in constitutional law. The Harlan Institute is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “bring a stylized law school experience into the high school classroom to ensure that our next generation of leaders has a proper understanding of our most fundamental laws.”  FantasySCOTUS is one of the tools that the institute uses to educate and engage high schoolers on SCOTUS.

How does the league work?  Members earn points by correctly predicting how each justice will rule on any given case:

A Justice can either vote to AFFIRM, REVERSE the lower court, or RECUSE from the case and not cast a vote. Users can make predictions at any point before the case is decided, though predictions will be disabled on all days the Supreme Court announces that opinions will be released.

Any law student, however, can tell you that sometimes a justice will vote to affirm in part and reverse in part; in those situations, FantasySCOTUS decides whether the vote was more of an “affirm” or “reverse” vote, and award points accordingly.  And, as one would expect from such a league as this, there is a way to appeal the scoring of a particular case, using the “clearly erroneous” standard.  Challenges to the rules themselves are reviewed using the “abuse of discretion” standard.  Changes are made via blog, and players are charged with constructive notice of such changes.

Sports fans often wear the jerseys of their favorite team or player when they watch sports and update their fantasy teams.  I wonder if FantasySCOTUS will start selling Scalia or Sotomayor robes for the sake of authenticity.

Friday Links

Depicted above is the cover of Showcase #44, published way, way back in 1963. That issue was dedicated to the exploits of Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers who, at that point, was apparently “wanted for treason.” Treason is apparently a popular crime for comic book super heros. Here’s our question, though: If all the other inmates are wearing traditional prison garb, why does Tommy Tomorrow get to wear his own costume while in custody? No fair! In fact, this is an issue that seems to come up again and again. What gives?

Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.’s own Jennifer Johnsen recently published a new article on the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel website offering insights into how in-house counsel should protect their directors and officers in a “5 o’clock bombshell” lawsuit. To read the article, entitled “D&O Insurance In The Dodd-Frank Era: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Directors And Officers,” please click here (PDF).

In case you weren’t aware, most courts here in Charlotte, North Carolina will be closed during the week of the Democratic National Convention.  Quite frankly, of all the DNC related happenings, we’re more concerned about the special Foo Fighters “Rock the Vote” concert, which they say sold out in eight seconds. Wow.

Did you know that you can follow our writer and contributor, Stuart Mauney, on Twitter? Just yesterday, he authored a post on a 76 year old road trip to Texas which, of course, does not have much to do with products liability. But, we’re not just litigators here, we’re also storytellers and chroniclers of the human experience. So, to follow him on Twitter, simply click here.

The 76 Year Old Road Trip – Texas, Here We Come!

Seventy six years ago this month, on August 10, 1936, the small town of Shelby, North Carolina coped with a muggy Monday morning.  My dad, Grady Mauney, then 16 years old, and his best friend, George Watson, sat on the front porch of the Mauney home on North Lafayette Street.  They started talking about how fun it might be to go to the Texas Centennial Exposition, in Dallas, Texas that year.  But, that was a long way from Shelby!  “Wonder how long it would take us to thumb rides to Dallas?” they asked themselves.

Before they realized what they were doing, Grady and George had both scraped together a little money, packed a bag, and found themselves hitchhiking their way to Texas.  Grady chronicled his journey in a series of postcards sent home from the road.  Oh, one other thing, Grady left town without telling his parents!  The two would-be adventurers simply left a note at the drugstore where they had been working that they were headed to the Texas Centennial.

Grady’s first postcard was addressed to his mother, postmarked Royston, Georgia, 4:30 p.m., August 10, 1936.  My dad’s sister told me that she always heard that my grandmother, Macy, spent three days holed up in a closet, worried about her son.

Dear Mother,

I thought if I told you that I was going to Texas, you wouldn’t let me so I didn’t tell you.  I got $25.00 and I am now in a little town in Georgia.  It is 4:00 and we have already come nearly 200 miles.  We are going to stay in Atlanta, GA, with George’s sister tonite.  I will write you along.

Grady, Jr.

The next day, Grady wrote that it was Tuesday morning and that they had stayed with George’s brother in Atlanta, but had decided to stay for the day and tour around the area.  They hoped to make it to Texas by Saturday.

On Wednesday, August 12, Grady sent another note to his mother, postmarked Lanette, Alabama.

Dear Mother,

We just arrived in Lanette, Alabama.  It is 10:30 Wed. morning.  We have got a ride into Montgomery, Alabama.  We spent the day with George’s brother in Atlanta Monday and Tuesday.  It is a lot of fun riding with a traveling salesman in a big car.  We have had lots of luck.  We looked over Atlanta yesterday.  It is about three times larger than Charlotte.

Grady, Jr.

Grady further wrote that they stayed in Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, and expected to cross the Mississippi River the next day.  On Thursday, August 13, Grady sent a postcard from Jackson, Mississippi, reporting that they had stayed in a hotel in Jackson, having traveled about 250 miles that day.  They still expected to arrive in Dallas by Saturday and anticipated it would be August 25 before they returned home.

On Friday, August 14, my dad sent a postcard from Vicksburg, Mississippi, addressed to his father, R.G. Mauney, in care of A. Blanton Company in Shelby, North Carolina.  He said he was having lots of fun and that he “might go on to California if my money holds out.  I bet Mother is cussing because I left.”  The cost of the postage stamp was 1 cent.  That same day, Grady sent a separate postcard to his mother.

Dear Mother,

I am in Vicksburg, Miss., getting ready to cross the Mississippi River.  Getting nearer to Dallas, Texas.  I still got about $25.00.

While most of the postcards were sent to his mother, Grady also wrote his younger brother and sister, Charles and Martha:  “I am having a good time hitchhiking it.  We hadn’t had to stand on the road over 10 minutes before we caught a ride.  It is lots of fun thumbing a ride.  We will be in Texas by Saturday.”

My mom recalls my dad saying that one night they stayed in a Hooverville, the name given for shanty towns built by homeless people during the Great Depression.  If that was the case, such was not documented in his postcards.  Maybe he didn’t want to worry his already distraught mother!

As they neared Dallas, they became more anxious to arrive and caught a bus from Greenwood, Mississippi to Dallas.  “It is costing us a good much but we wanted to get in Dallas tonite.”

Grady and George arrived in Dallas on Saturday night, August 16, 1936, six days after they left Shelby.  The next morning, he wrote a letter home to his mother and father.

Dear Mother and Daddy,

We arrived in Dallas last nite.  We had to ride a bus from Greenwood because we wanted to get in here before Sunday.  We got up this morning early and went to the fair and stayed all day.  We got enough of this place so we are leaving for home in the morning.  The Centennial sure is a big fair.  They say it is bigger and better than the World’s Fair was.  It cost over 6 million of dollars to build it.  Dallas is about three times larger than Charlotte.

Well I will tell you about our trip out here.  Monday we caught a ride from Shelby to Spartanburg and from Spartanburg to Royston, GA.  From Royston to Athens, GA, from Athens to Atlanta, and stayed in Atlanta with George’s brother for the nite.  The next day we stayed in Atlanta which is about three times as large as Charlotte, and let George’s brother show us over the town.  We saw lots of interesting things there but I will wait until I get home.  So it was Wednesday before we started on the road again.  We came 170 miles Wed. and stayed at Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.  Thursday we came 233 miles and stayed in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi that nite.  Friday we came 171 miles and stayed in a little town named Ruston.  Saturday we came 290 miles.

Each nite after we get our room, we would take a bath and go to the picture show.  The next morning we’d get up about 8:30 and start hitch-hiking.

We have had lots of fun but we are ready to come home.  We will be there by Saturday.

We have ridden in all kinds of cars.  I will tell you more about the fair and our trip when I get home.

Grady, Jr.

This final letter was postmarked Dallas, Texas, August 17 at 10:30 a.m.  The envelope was from the New Dallas Hotel, 310 South Ervay Street.

According to Google Maps, traveling their likely route, the journey would be 1,014 miles.  By today’s standards, that’s about a 17-hour drive.  Grady’s estimate of the miles they traveled was 1,063, which is remarkably close to Google’s estimate.  He must have asked each driver to keep track of how many miles they had driven that day.

The Texas Centennial Exposition lasted six months and attracted over 6 million visitors.  I suspect none of them had more fun than those two teenage boys from Shelby, North Carolina.

Thoughts on Reporters Reading New Lawsuit Filings

A few months ago, friend of the blog and legal writer Walter Olson tweeted a link to a blog post by Jim Romenesko, referencing generally “the stories newspapers missed by not having reporters read new court filings.”  In his blog post, Romenesko profiled the efforts of an intrepid courthouse news reporter, Dave Tartre, who came across a particularly interesting priapism lawsuit brought against a automobile company. (Yes, you read that last part correctly.).

Walter’s tweet got us thinking about the nature of news coverage of legal pleadings, particularly plaintiffs’ initial complaints.  Over the years, we’ve seen various news stories reporting on complaints and new lawsuits, and we have to say that news reporting on such things can sometimes be unsatisfactory.  General publications typically recite the allegations of the complaint, quote the plaintiff’s lawyer, who is only happy to expound upon the legal theories and purported negligence of the defendant, and leave it at that.  This is not always good. There are several reasons why this is the case, and we list some of them here today.

1.  The complaint offers only side of the case, and it’s not always correct.  Obviously, by its very nature, the complaint includes only the plaintiff’s bare bones account of an alleged injury and often times, there are mistakes, errors, and misstatements in that document.  Usually, there are exaggerations to bolster the characterization of the claim, and there’s often boilerplate language, when taken out of context by the reporter, may sound unfairly suggestive or sinister. However, as we all know, during the course a lawsuit, plaintiffs learn new facts or abandon old legal theories based on previous mistakes or new impressions of certain old or recently discovered facts.

2.  Typically, a news reporter cannot reach the defendant (or a defendant’s representative) in time to meet the relevant publishing deadline to report upon the filing of the complaint.  Because the reporter only has a summons and complaint, he or she may not know how to contact the appropriate in-house counsel or claim agent at the defendant’s corporate headquarters.  Even if they do know how to reach the appropriate person for comment, the defendant may be unaware of the new lawsuit.  Even if they are aware, they may be unable to comment on brand new pending litigation which, most likely, is only just being investigated by the defendant.  Typically, this inability to obtain a meaningful comment from a defendant’s representative results in the token paragraph included in such an article that the defendant either could not be reached or could not comment if reached.  This omission does not stop the reporter from publishing the piece, and it grants some credibility to the allegations in the complaint which, as noted above, may be exaggerated, boilerplate, or even factually inaccurate under the circumstances.

3.  Many times, the news report about the initial filing is never followed up with a subsequent article reporting on the results of the case.  So, if the case is promptly dismissed, or if the defendant wins a motion for summary judgment, the news goes unreported. Perhaps in the most high profile of cases we learn such results, but you never see a subsequent article in which the plaintiff is called to task for fabricating certain facts in a deposition or the case being dismissed for other reasons.

This is not to say that one should not report on new filings.  In fact, there could be great value of such coverage.  Take a look at the coverage at Popehat on the recent Carrion v. Inman matter.  Those suits and claims were dissected by lawyer bloggers who foresaw the potentially long litigious process which may result from the filing of a complaint.

(Hat Tip: Walter Olson).

One Lawyer’s Discovery Pet Peeves

Lawyers are notoriously nuts about certain things, and we all have our pet peeves which drive us to the brink of insanity.  These are often, very, very trivial things.  For the most part, they are so minute and inconsequential that they have no bearing whatsoever on the substance of the litigation.  However, because we, as lawyers, are perfectionists, or at least like to think that we are, these little irksome things can drive us up the wall if we allow them to do so.

I write today not to urge caution, reasonableness, of diligence in the mitigation of such things. This post is reserved only for unreasonable and petty complaining about my legal pet peeves.

So, today, I share with you the two things in the practice that drive me absolutely bonkers.

First, when there is a singular individual suing a defendant in a lawsuit, you refer to that individual as the plaintiff, not plaintiffs.  For some reason or another, wherever I practice, wherever I go, I always seem to run into lawyers who refer to an individual, single plaintiff in the plural rather than the singular.  This must be a widespread phenomenon because I recall people making that error as far back as my law school days.  Surely, I’ve made the same mistake myself, but this is so commonplace that there must be something out there prompting this outrageous conduct.  (Don’t get me started on the use of an apostrophe after the “s” when we are referring to a single plaintiff using the possessive form).

But more vexing, and thankfully, less often encountered, is the manner in which we refer to requests for production and requests for admission.  How many discovery templates have we seen where we are being served with “request for production” or “request for admission?”  If there is more than one request, then you call the document “requests for production” or “requests for admission,” right? Were I far more cavalier in the practice of law, I would object under Rule 26 or whatever rule applies – even if that rule does not deal with discovery limitations – and say that if a party has titled their discovery document as a “request for production” or a “request for admission” then I will only be answering the first listed request since they did not use the plural in their caption.

I feel pretty good about my chances at a motion to compel hearing defending that response, actually.

Really, the only solution for these issues is legal education.  Therefore, I call upon all law schools to incorporate these paramount issues into their first year curriculum.

Well, or, at the very least, people should read this blog post and really contemplate this subject matter.

Find My iPad! No, Please!

Friend of the blog Max Kennerly of the Litigation and Trial blog recently tweeted something about an opposing counsel leaving his iPhone at his office.  This struck a chord with me because very recently I left my iPad at a local courthouse and did not realize it until later in the evening. What horror!  What fear fell upon me!  Concern and trepidation rained down upon me!

This, I now realize, is what parents must feel when they briefly lose sight of their children at the supermarket. Without my iPad, after all, I am incomplete.

(Fortunately, I had taken all of the relevant precautions to securitize my iPad with password protection and the “Find My iPhone” app to permit me to track its location by GPS).

Whatever the case, shortly thereafter, I arrived back at my hotel and realized my grievous error.  By that time, the courthouse was closed, and no one in the building was there to answer my frantic telephone calls.  I thought to call the local county sheriff’s office to see if I might be permitted entry into the courthouse after hours to retrieve it, but they advised that I would need to wait until the next day.  Fortunately, the events that brought me to the courthouse that day were a series of depositions noticed by a plaintiff’s lawyer who, rather than selecting an office or hotel conference room, chose the grand jury room of that courthouse as the site of the depositions.  Fortunately for me, the plaintiff’s counsel had noticed so many depositions that she had scheduled them across two days, meaning that I would be returning to the courthouse the following day.  Whew. However, the fact that I was to return to the courthouse a half a day later did nothing to ameliorate my fear and concern.

It was a long night.  But here is the really interesting component of the story.  As aforementioned, on both my iPhone and my iPad, I had installed the “Find My iPhone” app.  This utility allows the user to log in, on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop computer, to Apple’s services and utilize the GPS function of the missing mobile device to identify its exact location.  The utility will then produce a map – which can be converted to an overhead satellite image – with a blinking dot indicating the precise – or almost precise – location of the missing device.  Knowing this, I immediately used this on both my iPhone and laptop to locate my iPad, which I was certain was plugged into the wall charging in the corner of the courthouse’s grand jury room.  The “Find My iPhone” app confirmed the suspicion, and the blinking dot, when placed on the overhead satellite image, appeared exactly where it should have been on the overhead image of the local courthouse.  However, there is also something perilously inexact about this utility. Depending on when the users login, how they login, what Internet connection service they use to login, and what device they use to login, they may receive an ever so slightly different result.  Thus, five minutes later, when I, in my paranoid state, sought to again confirm the location, the dot had moved slightly away from what I suspected was the grand jury room to a new position: the parking lot.  Seeing the blinking dot on the overhead aerial map in the parking lot shook me.  However, when I hit refresh, the dot returned to its original location on the aerial map image to the grand jury room.  Refreshing the image would often cause the dot to move slightly sometimes across the street, sometimes to the parking lot, sometimes to a different portion of the building.  Although I knew that this was probably just the result of the inexactness of the program, it did little to calm my nerves.

The next morning, I woke up extra early and was the first person at the courthouse at 7:59 AM.  I immediately made my way to the grand jury room where I found my iPad waiting for me.

There are several lessons to be learned from this incident.  Fortunately, I already knew to heavily securitize the iPad.  Fortunately, I store little work information on my iPad, but I had protected it in various ways, including password entry.  I flirted with deleting the contents of my iPad from afar – something that one can do using the “Find My iPhone” utility – but I decided that if there was one safe place one can leave one’s iPad overnight – it is the grand jury room of a county courthouse.

But of course, the main lesson to be learned is to keep better track of one’s mobile devices.