Chief Justice and Justice Thomas agree with liberal justices about right to counsel

March 31st, 2016

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas agreed today with Justices Breyer, Ginsberg and Sotomayor that the government could not freeze a criminal defendant’s untainted assets and prevent her from hiring a lawyer.

Swing vote Justice Kennedy sided with conservative Justices Alito with the opinion that the government could freeze all assets of a person accused of a crime.

Justice Kagan wrote a separate dissent arguing that the government should not be allowed to freeze any assets until the accused is actually proven guilty.

The case is Luis v. United States.

Business Debt Qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Regardless of Income

March 4th, 2016

I just filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for a client who has close a restaurant. There is a means test to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That means that if you make more than average income, you may not qualify for Chapter 7, and may have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in which you make payments over time. However if the majority of the debt that you incurred before filing bankruptcy is business related debt, you do not have to pass the means test and you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy regardless of your income.

If you have questions about bankruptcy call Evan Livingstone at (707) 526-4600 English or (707) 206-6570 Spanish for a free consultation.

Bankruptcy: Not the End of the World

March 1st, 2016

As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, I frequently advise my clients when bankruptcy is NOT their best option. For example, your debt may be more easily settled by making an arrangement with your creditors. It may be that you have assets which are so valuable, that you may lose them if you file bankruptcy.

It is very important that if you are considering filing bankruptcy that you speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Call Evan Livingstone at (707) 206-6570 or (707) 526-4600. Visit my bankruptcy website at for more information about the various types of bankruptcy.

Workers’ Compensation Explained

February 1st, 2016

Workers Compensation is a specialized area of the law that covers injuries which a occur at work. An employee who is it injured on the job is not allowed to file a lawsuit in the regular court. She must file a claim in workers compensation appeals board.

When a person is injured at work she has the following rights:

1) The right to receive all medical treatment necessary to treat her injury for the rest of her life.

2) If she is not able to work, the right to receive temporary disability payments at the rate of two thirds of her regular salary, for up to two years.

3) Once a workers medical condition is considered permanent and stationary, i.e. it will not be improved by further medical treatment, a worker has a right to receive a payment for permanent disability based on her percentage of permanent disability.

The most important help that a workers compensation attorney can provide his client is to obtain for her the best medical treatment available. Workers often do not know that they have the right to choose their primary treating physician, albeit within a medical network of physicians which is provided by the workers compensation insurance for the employer for an experienced attorney can guide his client toward the best doctors.

A workers compensation lawyer will also ensure that his client receives all of the temporary disability payments, in the correct amount, on time.

Finally, a workers compensation attorney can help ensure that the insurance is calculating the percentage of permanent disability at the correct rate, thus ensuring the highest permanent disability payment possible.

There are two kinds of settlements in a workers compensation case. The first kind of settlement is called a Stipulations with Request for Award. In this kind of settlement, the worker is given a payment for her permanent disability, but retains the right to have the insurance company pay for her medical treatment for life, or as long as is necessary.

The second kind of settlement is called a Compromise and Release. In a compromise and release a worker receives payment for her permanent disability and payment for the cost of all the future medical treatment she will reasonably require. This kind of settlement will be more money, but the injured worker will be giving up the right to have the insurance company pay for her teacher medical treatment will have to pay for such treatment out of her own pocket or from another source of insurance.

Contact attorney Evan Livingstone at (707) 206-6570 to answer your questions about Workers Compensation.

Personal Injury Cases Settled

April 9th, 2014

The Law Office of Evan Livingstone settled two personal injury cases last week. Both clients were injured in automobile accidents. Attorney Evan Livingstone obtained favorable settlements for both clients who were compensated for the cost of their medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Lawsuit for Forcible Detainer Settled

November 27th, 2013

When a landlord or property owner wants occupants out of his property, he can not use self-help means to do so. Evan Livingstone recently negotiated a hefty settlement for an occupant who was told by a property owner to get out and told the sheriffs the occupants were trespassers. Landlords beware: you have to go through the legal process to evict someone, even if you think the occupant has no right to be there. Self-help evictions will expose you to big liability.

Lawsuit for Dependant Adult Abuse Settled

June 26th, 2013

Evan Livingstone has settled a lawsuit on behalf of his client for misuse of the funds of a dependent adult and breach of duty under a power of attorney.

Lawsuit Against Safeway Settled

May 15th, 2013

We have just settled a lawsuit I brought on behalf of my client against Safeway. My client alleged that a Safeway assistant manager grabbed him outside the store and wrongly accused by client of stealing a sandwich. We filed a lawsuit against Safeway allege battery, violation of my client’s civil rights and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit has been resolved with a confidential settlement.

Obstructing Police Officer Charges Dismissed

March 13th, 2013

The below editorial by my client appeared in the March 13, 2012 edition of the Bohemian.

The Cost of Privilege
Remembering that not all of us are so lucky
by Carl Patrick

Last June, I observed a Santa Rosa police officer arresting a homeless man during the Wednesday Night Market. For the crime of observing this, I was arrested and spent half a night in jail. I was then charged with obstructing an officer.

I am grateful to say that after months of court dates and pushing this case all the way to a jury trial, the charges have been dismissed.

Sometimes white privilege means that going into court against the law enforcement establishment might actually work in your favor. While I’m thrilled to not have a bogus charge on my record, I also have to face the fact that things may very well have worked out differently if my skin had looked a little bit different, or if I hadn’t been born in this country.

We have a lot of work to do to dismantle white supremacy and capitalism, and part of that work starts with realizing how this system has a plan for destroying the lives and families of people of color, through prison, deportations, economic exploitation, state violence, pollution of poor neighborhoods and so many more little evils that go unnoticed by most of us.

I am grateful to live in a community of thoughtful and radical individuals who are not afraid to resist these injustices. I specifically want to hold up the event being organized by the D.R.E.A.M. Alliance of Sonoma County on March 27 at SSU’s Mario Savio Speaker’s Corner called “Coming Out of the Shadows,” with immigrant youth speaking on their experiences in the United States.

I also want to remind folks to check out a great event on Tuesday, March 19, at the Arlene Francis Center, with author and activist Chris Crass, author of Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building.

The struggle continues. I am glad to be free of the court system. Now it’s time to get free of capitalism.

Carl Patrick is a member of Occupy Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County

Solidarity Network.Open Mic is a weekly op/ed feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution.

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Notes on the Practice of Law by Abraham Lincoln

December 29th, 2012

I am not an accomplished lawyer. I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.

The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man, of every calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today. Never let your correspondence fall behind. Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before stopping, do all the labor pertaining to it which can then be done. When you bring a common law suit, if you have the facts for doing so, write the declaration at once. If a point of law be involved, examine the books, and note the authority you rely on, upon the declaration itself, where you are sure to find it when wanted. The same of defenses and pleas. In business not likely to be litigated – ordinary collection cases, foreclosures, partitions, and the like – make all examinations of titles, and note them, and even draft orders and decrees in advance. This course has a triple advantage; it avoids omissions and neglect, saves your labor, when once done; performs the labor out of court when you have leisure rather than in court when you have not.

Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced and cultivated. It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is no more fatal error to young lawyers than relying too much on speech-making. If anyone, upon his rare powers of speaking, shall claim exemption from the drudgery of the law, his case is a failure in advance.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise when you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As a peace maker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the Register of deeds, in search of defects in titles, whereupon to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket? A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession, which should drive such men out of it.

The matter of fees is important far beyond the mere question of bread and butter involved. Properly attended to fuller justice is done to both lawyer and client. An exorbitant fee should never be claimed. As a general rule, never take your whole fee in advance, nor any more than a small retainer. When fully paid beforehand, you are more than a common mortal if you can feel the same interest in the case, as if something was still in prospect for you, as well as for your client. And when you lack interest in the case, the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance. Settle the amount of fee, and take a note in advance. Then you will feel that you are working for something, and you are sure to do your work faithfully and well. Never sell a feenote – at least, not before the consideration service is performed. It leads to negligence and dishonesty – negligence, by losing interest in the case, and dishonesty in refusing to refund, when you have allowed the consideration to fail.

There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence, and honors are reposed in, and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that the impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression, is common – almost universal. Let no young man, choosing the law for a calling, for a moment yield to this popular belief. Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgement, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.