Date with history

Vaughn Walker remembers the day the complaint in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the same-sex marriage case that would make history, landed on his desk.

“The first name I noticed was ‘Schwarzenegger’ and I thought, ‘Well, this will be interesting,’ ” he said during a discussion of gay and lesbian issues in the judiciary. As he began reading the complaint, he “had one of those ‘ohhhh shit’ moments.”

Walker, a now-retired federal judge who was quietly but openly gay, would strike down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and would be sustained by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

He said his personal trial highlight came when attorney David Boies cross-examined a witness about prejudice against gays and lesbians, propounding a survey that showed Americans are unlikely to vote for a president who is gay or has been married three times. Walker had met Boies several years earlier at a bench-bar conference, where it had come up in conversation that Boies had been married three times. — The Recorder

Teeter totter

Suspected smugglers who tried to use ramps to drive an SUV over a 14-foot-tall border fence abandoned their plan when the Jeep became stuck on top of the barrier. Agents spotted the Jeep Cherokee teetering atop the fence, a Border Patrol spokesman said. Two men were spotted fleeing into Mexico. — Associated Press

The horse’s mouth

A magazine ad with an owner’s testimonial to the calming effects of a horse supplement has shredded a personal injury settlement. The owner’s error, as described in a state appellate opinion, was never telling a tossed rider that the horse used the supplement. Buster, a 10-year-old quarter horse, was supposed to be docile, or so Joni Garvin of Coral Springs, Fla., was assured. Still, he reared, bolted and tossed Garvin, who suffered a back injury. She settled a claim, but then someone sent her a copy of the ad in which the owner endorsed a product called Ex Stress that had calmed Buster down, “since he can be a little difficult at times.” The court gave Garvin permission to reopen her case, citing “misconduct in discovery.” — Daily Business Review


For some Halloween-inspired reading, lawyers might want to pick up 42nd and Lex, a novel released a few months ago about a family lawyer who falls in love with a vampire. The book tells the tale of Abri Cole, whose life changes when she meets a good-looking, wealthy man with an apartment to die for who happens to have a secret. Author Bria Hofland works as in-house counsel at Dallas-based Loya Insurance Group. Lawyers, she said, will relate to her protagonist. “She’s pretty scrappy. As a female lawyer, we have to be a bit scrappy.” — Texas Lawyer