Thursday, December 29, 2011

Forty-car accident a reminder we can all be safer

As you probably know, this morning there was a horrific car accident on Interstate-10 in eastern New Orleans. More than 40 vehicles were involved in this accident, which resulted in two deaths.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

R.A.K.E. - Redmann's Acts of Kindness Everywhere

As I'm sure most of you did as well, I stayed up extra late last night to watch Drew Brees break Dan Marino's 27-year old record for most passing yards in an NFL season. It was a wonderful moment made all the more special for how much love and gratitude we have for Brees. It's an uncommon amount of love and gratitude for a city to have for an athlete, borne not just from his being the best player the Saints have ever had, but from his tireless efforts at giving back to his community.

Brees uses his energy and resources to do good for his fellow man; he's somebody whose example we should all follow. My office, the Law Office of John Redmann, has been working toward starting a community outreach program that we're going to call Redmann's Acts of Kindness Everywhere, or R.A.K.E. It's a very exciting time for us, and we have all kinds of great ideas to engage with and improve our community.

There will be much more information about R.A.K.E. coming out soon, but for now, I'd like some input from you. If you have a minute or so, please leave a comment on this page telling us some kind of volunteer work or charitable activity that you do, have done, or want to do in the future; or, you could give an example of a person you know who does community outreach work that you admire, and tell us why.

To comment, just type your comment and select, "Name/URL," then enter your name (You don't have to provide a URL.), or you can comment anonymously.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Traffic Cameras: Yes or No?

One of the goals at Redmann Law is to get the general public actively involved in conversation about the law. The law not only influences how we live, we also influence how the law is shaped.

So I'd like to know what you think about a particularly fiery debate right now: Traffic cameras. We all know somebody who's been issued a citation by a traffic camera (most of us have probably been ticketed ourselves), and we've heard both sides of the debate argue back and forth. Supporters say traffic cameras increase safety and generate revenue for their communities; opponents point to a lack of evidence that traffic cameras make people drive more safely, and that very little money actually stays in the community (with most of the money going back to the camera contractors).

This is a fascinating and important topic. So what do you think?

Post your opinion in the comment section below. Select "Comment As," choose "Name/URL," and then type in your name (You don't have to put a URL.). Or you can comment anonymously if you would rather. Please remember to be civil and respectful of other commenters and readers.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A culture of driving distracted

Even though text messaging while driving is outlawed in most states (including Louisiana, and you can read the language of that law HERE), the amount of texting while driving continues to increase in this country, according to a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Texting while driving is one of the many forms of distracted driving, and research by the NHTSA reveals that distracted driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. And yet distracted driving is not treated with the same seriousness that drunk driving is.

Immediacy swirls around our culture; we feel that because we have the technology to do things faster than ever before that we should be doing things faster than ever before, that if we get a text message or an e-mail that we should respond to it as fast as possible, because that's what is expected. And though vehicles are constantly being manufactured to be safer, drivers compensate by driving more and more recklessly.

Bans and law enforcement aren't having an impact on distracted driving. I think this is because of our mentality - we're annoyed by other drivers texting when they don't notice the light has turned green or when they're swerving in and out of lanes at 70 miles an hour, and yet we continue to text while we drive because we all think, "But I'm not the problem, it's everyone else. I'm a great driver, after all!" The problem, of course, is that every person thinks this. It has to stop. No text message can be worth endangering yourself on the road and endangering the lives of others. Let your friends and family know that you don't text while you drive, so that they can expect to wait a while before receiving a response from you.

You can learn more about distracted driving at the web site of the NHTSA and at

by John W. Redmann
Attorney for the Injured and Others who once trusted Insurers©
and Matt Stokes
Co-Author and Online Editor at Redmann Law

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't"

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins is an excellent book that does a great job of describing how the author and his university team scientifically studied companies that went from "good" to "great" (hence the title) and stayed great for at least 15 years. These great companies managed to do so without being dependent upon any single charismatic leader (e.g., Lee Iacoca, Bill Gates) nor on any particular product or service that, for most vendors, everyone did great (e.g., computers) over a sustained 15-year period.

Collins uses such criteria as consistently extraordinary stock returns over the years (at least 4.3 times the average market returns) as the yardstick for gauging a company's greatness. Over the 30-year period studied, only 11 companies "made the grade." This team of researchers studies what the company management did to go from good or average stock performance to become great, including by interviewing the leaders and many others involved in each company, and many other factors, and came up with a short list of clear, and clearly defined, principals, that every one of these best of the best performers all did.

As someone fascinated by this topic, this book has impressed me more than any other I've read, and taught me more than any other, to the significant benefit of both me and my company. Of note also are the excellent comparisons in the book, and detailed analyses, of "control group" parallel companies - basically "on par" - average performance-wise - with each of the other companies that turned that proverbial corner, but that themselves failed to become great.

I've read (and listened to on audio book) Good to Great several times, so I can and do highly recommend it to anyone, especially business owners.

[Check out Good to Great by Jim Collins on]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why we're not having the right conversation about poverty

Last week in this space, we quoted a column by syndicated columnists Cokie and Steve Roberts.  The Robertses have a brilliant way of cutting through the noise of political chatter to get to the heart of the issues we face, and they've done so again in a column published Sunday about America's rising poverty levels.

Monday, November 7, 2011

When it comes to immigration, let's just stick to the Facts

I read a column earlier today by syndicated columnists Cokie and Steve Roberts that I think completely crystallizes the logical argument against the anti-immigration furor that has swept certain segments of our country.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Long overdue honor: Congress to honor the first black Marines

In what can only be described as overdue, Congress voted yesterday to commemorate America's first black Marines.  Lawmakers from both parties agreed that the Montford Point Marines will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the most prestigious honor awarded by Congress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Posting pictures online from a smartphone poses a privacy threat

A newscast from NBC Action News in Kansas City currently has almost 6 million views on YouTube, and it's no wonder why - the report explains how easily internet users can obtain information from pictures online that were taken by a smartphone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Financial Crisis: Threat, or Opportunity?

In a column for The New York Times published October 11th, 2011, Thomas L. Friedman has a very interesting take on what the Occupy Wall Street movement might indicate about our economic future:

"There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me," Freidman says.  "One says this is the start of 'The Great Disruption.'  The other says that this is all part of 'The Big Shift.'  You decide."

Real, sweeping change historically accompanies crisis; people change when they are forced to.  Friedman looks at the financial crisis via two perspectives.  The first Friedman describes as "The Great Disruption", which he's derived from a book of the same name by Paul Gilding, and it paints a very pessimistic view of our global economic future.  He quotes Gilding:

I see our economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planet earth - our system - is eating itself alive.  Occupy Wall Street is like the kid in the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperor has no clothes.  The system is broken.  Think about the promises of global market capitalism.  If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we let the rich get richer, if we let corporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked, then we will all be better off.  It may not be equally distributed, but the poor will get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hard will get better jobs and we'll have enough wealth to fix the environment.

This contrasts with another perspective, which Friedman deems "The Big Shift", and he's influenced here by a book called The Power of Pull, by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown. This is a considerably more optimistic viewpoint:

In the early stages, we experience this Big Shift as mounting pressure, deteriorating performance and growing stress because we continue to operate with institutions and practices that are increasingly dysfunctional... Yet, the Big Shift also unleashes a huge global flow of ideas, innovations, new collaborative possibilities and new market opportunities.  This flow is constantly getting richer and faster.  Today, they argue, tapping the global flow becomes the key to productivity, growth, and prosperity.  But to tap this flow effectively, every country, company and individual needs to be constantly growing their talents.

This Big Shift would force the smartest people and businesses, the thinkers who are best adapted to the current climate, will be forced to adapt as normal people begin to have access to the same tools and information as the elite.  And in a free market, the ideas that will rise to the top will have to be even more innovative and even more useful and profitable than ever before.

So, two drastically different takes on our global economic situation.  Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Offset" and Homeowners vs. Flood Insurance: Issues with the Recent Louisiana Supreme Court Decision

In response to a story that ran in The Times-Picayune on Sunday, October 2nd (you can read that story HERE), here is an expanded version of a letter I wrote to the editor of the Picayune:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering What We Lost on 9/11

To put the September 11th terrorist attacks into proper context and perspective, to offer some measure of comfort or insight, is a nearly impossible task.  I think mostly of what we - as a nation, and as a world - lost on that day.  2,996 people died, but what's harder to calculate is just how profoundly our lives changed because of those lives lost.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adoption in Louisiana

One of the topics I'm frequently asked about is adoption.  My associate Patrick Sanders has researched and compiled a report and an FAQ on this very subject, and I invite you to read them both:

How to Adopt a Child in Louisiana
Frequently Asked Questions about Adoption in Louisiana

Cómo Adoptar un Niño en Luisiana

Friday, September 2, 2011

Alabama immigration law put on hold by federal judge

Alabama's new immigration law - easily the toughest anti-immigrant/Hispanic law in the US - has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.  Sharon Blackburn, a US District Judge in Birmingham, has delayed enforcement of the new legislation till September to determine its constitutionality.  This is great news for those of us who oppose this ridiculous, inhumane law which quite literally threatens to make criminals out of almost anyone who interacts with Hispanics without first putting on an Immigration Inquisition hat and demanding (not necessarily with a Gestapo tone or while wearing a monocle) "Vhere are your Papers!!" - or so it seems.

As per Brian Lyman of The Montgomery Advertiser:

"The law, signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on June 9, 2011 makes it a state crime to be an undocumented alien in Alabama.  It also gives law enforcement the ability to detain those they have 'reasonable suspicion' of being in the country illegally, and also provides non-criminal sanctions to businesses that knowingly hire undocumented aliens.

"The law also makes it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented aliens, including giving them rides to workplaces.  It also makes contracts with undocumented aliens null and void and forbids renting property to undocumented aliens." (complete article here

Kudos to Judge Blackburn for not caving in to popular "Us vs. Them" hysteria and at least temporarily putting a hold on what will be, if enacted, tremendously important and potentially devastating legislation.  And another stain on this Great Nation's track record.  Let's hope that cooler heads prevail and this excessive, unnecessarily, and ultimately hateful law is stopped before it can even take effect.

Kudos also to the many other cool-headed judges across the country, interested only in applying the laws consistent with our Constitution, in striking down or restricting other offensive laws in other states.  Churches, non-religious groups, Consumers' Rights groups and many other organizations and individuals have stepped forward - including by seeking this injunction, and they deserve recognition for these efforts.  Meanwhile, many politicians - worried about the xenophobe vote, perhaps - sat silent, or, worse, took steps in support of radical anti-Hispanic/immigrant legislation to appease the very vocal anti-Hispanic rabble. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Obama's new deportation policy is a hot-button issue

There are currently more than 300,000 people in the United States undergoing deportation cases, and, as you may have heard, President Obama recently enacted a policy to change our country's deportation practices.  Each of these 300,000 is going to face review on a case-by-case basis; the new policy assures that only those undocumented immigrants who are considered "harmful" will be considered for deportation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Never Forgetting Katrina

Six years ago today, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the entire Gulf South region.  In the years since it's become customary to share our Katrina stories with each other.  It is something that binds us all in a very profound way.  "Where did you go for Katrina?" is a common form of small talk for many Louisianians.

So it's important to remember those lost on August 29th, 2005, and in the days that followed (Because after all, the true damage wasn't done on the day the storm hit, but the next day when the storm surge overwhelmed the levees and Lake Pontchartrain flooded the city.).  To remember that period in time that has, in a way, defined us all.  The Times-Picayune has an excellent piece on the many Katrina memorials, as well as an appeal to look ahead.

I had the pleasure of defending many people affected by Katrina against insurance companies that tried to short change them.  There are still those out there who have never recovered, and many others who have never returned.  So please, even as the beat of time continues to march on, as seasons change and we grow older and the Saints continue to dominate our conversations, never forget Katrina.

"New Orleans attorney John Redmann takes landmark Katrina insurance case to the U.S. Supreme Court"
"Remembering Hurricane Katrina in Pictures"
"Drew Brees reflects on Katrina"
"President Obama reflects on Katrina"
"Marathon home rebuild marks Katrina anniversary"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google's Gmail practices open up questions about privacy

Google is far and away the biggest web company in the world, and its Gmail service has lately come under intense scrutiny for its privacy practices.  A recent YouTube video mocking Gmail became a viral sensation; clearly, people are unhappy with Google's policies:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Transparency in Food Safety

The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals recently launched a website focused on cleanliness and sanitation in our food industry.  "Eat Safe Louisiana" is its tag, and as John Pope wrote today in The Times-Picayune in his write-up of the new site:

"Instead of evaluating the products on the plate, the website lets diners know about the cleanliness of the environments in which these dishes are created - the conditions of the sinks and garbage receptacles, for instance, as well as the temperature of the dishwashers and freezers, the status of the plumbing and employee compliance with hand-washing regulations."  (read the complete article here)

The principal goal of the site is to provide consumers with information to which they would not normally have easy access: How sanitary their favorite restaurants and stores are.  The web site's most useful feature is its interactive database of more than 34,000 Louisiana food establishments and records of their sanitation inspections.  The user also has access to a PDF of each sanitation report.  [For some reason, this feature is buried on the web site... you can go to it directly by clicking HERE or find it at the bottom of the "For Consumers" section.]

Transparency here is key.  We are blessed to live in an era of almost limitless information.  Sometimes this abundance of information can be intimidating, but when we get a very user-friendly tool such as Eat Safe Louisiana, we can make the best and most informed choices for ourselves and our loved ones.  
NOTE: We recently updated our website,, to include a section focusing on important and interesting health and safety information.  Our goal here is simply to inform and hopefully provide some helpful and useful info.  Check it out by clicking HERE, and of course, your feedback is welcome.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Public opinion of Congress at historic low

We're all aware of the recent talks about the debt ceiling in this country and how polarizing these talks have become.  What's surprising is that somehow Americans have come together to reach an overwhelming consensus: We're unhappy with Congress.

A recent New York Times/CBS poll revealed that 82% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress has done.  This is the highest percentage in the history of the poll, which dates back to 1977.

As originally reported by the New York Times: "More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country." (read the rest of the original article here)

These are scary economic times, indeed, and many people fear another recession on the horizon for this country.  What makes it all the more frustrating, I believe, is that most of us can't wrap our heads around what's really going on and how it should be fixed.  This is, of course, why we elect leaders - to work toward solving problems we can't.  But people are becoming more and more frustrated and disenchanted with the way Congress is handling this problem, politicizing potential solutions and using them to strengthen each party's agenda.  It is incredibly disheartening; we elect our leaders to show vision for the future, not to spend time divvying up blame and credit for the past.

Among other interesting findings in the poll was this: 63% of Americans believe that households with an annual income of at least $250,000 should see increased taxes to lower the deficit.  This is an interesting development, as nearly two out of every three Americans think that those fortunate enough to be blessed with more should consequently give more back to their country.

I'm not sure any of us knows an easy answer, or that one even exists.  But one thing is certain: It's time our leaders in Congress stop bickering and have an intelligent, sensible conversation about where we are, how we got here, and we're going to go from here.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Legal and Illegal Gambling in Louisiana

My associate Patrick Sanders and I have put together an article that explains the various legal and illegal forms of gambling in the state of Louisiana.  It's a very interesting and informative read, and you can view it HERE or by visiting our official website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

'Hot Coffee' raises important questions about justice

Our office recently viewed Hot Coffee, a great HBO documentary that questions many things we've come to assume about our civil justice system.

Nearly everybody has heard of the McDonald's "Coffee Case", but what's amazing is how few people are aware of the facts of this case.  Hot Coffee begins by shedding light on the case and its aftermath.  The case has been the source of joking and outrage, mocked as the epitome of an overly litigious culture.  Popular opinion has it that Stella Liebeck, the plaintiff in the case, spilled some McDonald's coffee on herself while driving and subsequently "hit the jackpot" by suing McDonald's and winning several million dollars.  This opinion is nowhere near the truth, as the film quickly reveals.