2001 ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
MISSISSIPPI TO NEW ORLEANS FELLOWS ATTENDING: Judge Ralph M. Drummond (Mary Jane), Pauma, CA Judge William R. Hollingsworth (Jo), Hermosa Beach, CA (New Orleans) Judge William B. Keene (Pat), Manhattan Beach, CA Judge Bonnie Lee Martin (Art), Los Angeles, CA Judge Philip K. Mautino (Barbara), Bellflower, CA Judge John R. Stanton (Meredith), Long Beach, CA (New Orleans) Mrs. Marjorie Love, Houston, TX Executive Secretary Diane Bowen, Los Angeles, CA
MONDAY: [The 2001 Annual Business meeting of the Academy was originally planned as a cruise aboard the Mississippi Queen from Memphis to New Orleans, and 28 people were signed up to attend. The week before the trip the Delta Queen Steamboat Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and cancelled all trips. The trip was converted from a cruise to a bus tour from Memphis to New Orleans and half of the judges originally signed up decided to participate in the alternate trip.] The group arrived in Memphis and stayed at the Peabody Hotel, which was built in 1869. A welcome dinner was held at the Peabody in the Dux Restaurant. While at the Peabody the group made sure to watch the famous Peabody ducks march.
TUESDAY: The group visited Graceland, the private home of Elvis Presley, and toured the mansion, exhibits of Elvis’ stage costumes, gold and platinum records and awards, the auto museum filled with rare vintage vehicles, including the pink Cadillac which Elvis purchased for his mother, and the two airplanes owned by Elvis. Lunch was at Elvis Presley’s Memphis Restaurant and some members enjoyed their first taste of fried Pecan Breaded Catfish, and were served homemade banana pudding, Elvis’ favorite dessert. Lunch was followed by a city tour of Memphis which included the Danny Thomas St. Jude Hospital, and the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. After the city tour the group walked down Beale Street, Home of the Blues, a melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock-n-roll, R&B and gospel in clubs lining the street for blocks, and home of A. Schwab’s founded in 1876.
WEDNESDAY: On Halloween the group left Memphis on the way to Jackson. Along the way the group visited the Kate Freeman (1875-1957) Art Gallery in Holly Springs and then toured an antebellum plantation in Montrose. Lunch was in Oxford, Mississippi founded in 1885, after which the group toured Rowan Oak, built in 1848 and from 1930 to 1967 the home of novelist William Faulkner, who named the house for the Rowan Tree, symbol of security and peace. In the evening, the group arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.
THURSDAY: In the morning the group enjoyed a city tour of Jackson and toured the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, built from 1833 to 1842, renovated in 1909 and 1971 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. The group also visited the Old Capitol Museum. In the afternoon members attended the Southern Farm Bureau Classic PGA golf tournament at the Annandale Golf Club and were given complimentary tickets to the Classic Club on the 18th hole by the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. The group enjoyed dinner at the Cock of the Walk, a favorite restaurant for catfish and southern fried chicken, hush puppies, fried dill pickles, cornbread and greens.
FRIDAY: The group departed Jackson for Vicksburg and toured the Vicksburg National Military Park, commemorating Civil War battles which took place in this area. The road to Natchez was along the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, where during the late 1700s and early 1800s travelers walked the Natchez Trace when it was a primitive pathway through the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian Nations. The trip of nearly 500 miles between Natchez and Nashville required as much a four weeks. The judges stayed at Linden House, and were guests of Mrs. Jeanette Feltus. Her children are the sixth generation of the Conner family to reside in Linden House, built in 1800, whose facade was copied for Tara in Gone with the Wind. Each of Linden’s seven bedrooms was furnished with antiques and canopied beds and opened onto galleries. Dinner was at the Monmouth Plantation across the street from Linden House. Monmouth was built in 1818 by General John A. Quitman, a Mississippi governor.
SATURDAY: In the morning the group began the day with a southern breakfast served in the stately dining room of Linden House, where a magnificent cypress punkah (fan) hung over the Hepplewhite banquet table, set with many pieces of family coin silver and heirloom china. The group then departed for Frogmore, an 1800-acre working cotton plantation. On a private tour with the owner, Lynette Tanner, the judges contrasted a working plantation in the early 1800s, with cotton gins, slave quarters, and a steam gin, to the present cotton plantation with a computerized 900-bale-per-day cotton gin.
In the afternoon the group toured antebellum mansions in Natchez including Stanton Hall, built in 1857, with immense Corinthian columns, marble mantles, and massive gold-leaf mirrors. Lunch was at the Carriage House Restaurant on the grounds of Stanton Hall, which specialized in southern fried chicken. The group then toured Rosalie House, built in 1820, located on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River; it was the headquarters of the Union Army during the Civil War. In the spirit of Halloween, Rosalie was holding an exhibit of a house in mourning, replete with an coffin in the living room. Rosalie was built from 1820-1823. Dinner was at the Dunleith House, built in 1856 in a Greek Revival temple-like style surrounded by tall Doric columns.
SUNDAY: After another southern breakfast at Linden House, the group left for New Orleans. En route the group toured the Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville built in 1827, shelled during the Civil War and fully restored by 1880. The group continued to New Orleans and the LePavillon Hotel. Judge Hollingsworth and Jo and Judge Stanton and Meredith met the group in New Orleans.
MONDAY: In the morning the group walked to the French Quarter and enjoyed a cooking demonstration and lunch of black beans and rice, cornbread, pralines and pecan pin at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
The annual business meeting was held at the LePavillon Hotel at 2:00 p.m. with all Fellows in attendance. It was noted by those attending that Judge Richard Aldrich, the 2000 and 2001 President of the Academy, set up the entire 2001 meeting but then was unable to attend. It was the consensus of the Fellows present that Judge Aldrich had done a great job over the last two years, bringing in 20 new members and 25 pending nominations, and the judges extended their thanks and congratulations for a job well done. The minutes of the Alaska Adventure, September 10-21, 2000, were approved as written by motion of Judge Drummond, second by Judge Stanton, unanimously passed. The Treasurer’s Report showing a balance on hand of $5,360.39, with 2001 trip expenses outstanding, was approved as submitted. It was noted Marjorie Love has been attending the meetings since Judge Miron Love passed away, and she brought to the attention of the judges that she has not been billed for dues since his death. The matter was discussed and it was decided Marjorie Love, as a widow of an Academy Fellow in good standing at the time of his death, shall be placed on the membership role as a widow and billed for dues in the sum of $25 per year beginning in 2002. In the delinquent dues report one Fellow is delinquent for 2000 and 2001 dues, motion by Judge Hollingsworth, second by Judge Drummond, unanimously passed to drop Judge Bruce W. Sumner for non-payment of dues. The pending nominations were discussed. The nominations of four members of the Vancouver Courts are withdrawn for no response. Judge Aldrich will be asked to follow up on the nominations of Judges Klein, Danielsen, Luna, Storch, Hill, Huffman and Duffy-Lewis. Judge Mautino will follow up on the nominations of Judges Crispo and MacKenzie. The members noted more personal follow-up after the nomination letters are mailed should be done by the nominating judge. The Scholarship fund was discussed. In 1999 a balance of $390 was carried over; in 2000 $1,035 was collected and a $1000 donation was made to the British Columbia School of Law. The balance carried to 2001 was $425; $945 was collected, making a current total of $1,370 in the Scholarship Fund. A law school visit is scheduled at Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. It was decided that a donation to a law school in the United States was not the intent of the Fund, and the balance should be carried over until the Academy visits a law school out of the country where a donation would be much more helpful. Judge Keene was pleased to report, as head of the nominating committee, that Judge Philip Mautino agreed to serve as President of the Academy for 2002; Judge Hollingsworth has agreed to serve as Chancellor; and Judge Keene will continue as Secretary-Treasurer. The nominations were moved closed by Judge Drummond; seconded by Judge Martin and unanimously approved. The judges gave various suggestions for the destination of the 2002 meeting. The bankruptcy action of the Delta Queen was discussed. Diane reported Creative Travel would be following the bankruptcy closely and their cruise broker would be submitting claims for the group. The owner of Creative Travel was hopeful of further news when things settled down. [NOTE: In November members who had been signed up for the trip received a refund of 64% of the cruise portion of the trip and those who did not attend the meeting received a significant refund of the land package. The travel agent was able to secure refunds of the land package for those who did not attend because of the fact that the group was not a complete cancellation, in which case no monies would have been refunded.] There being no old business nor new business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
TUESDAY: In the morning the group enjoyed a private tour in the French Quarter of the Historic New Orleans Collection which included a gallery, house museum and exhibition of the culture and history of New Orleans. The Collection of Leila and Kemper Williams is housed in the Merieult House, built in 1792, and provided a comprehensive look at the settlement and development of Louisiana.
In the afternoon Academy members visited Tulane University School of Law and were met by Assistant Dean of Career Services, Kristin Flierl. There are currently 1,000 students, 340 First Years attending the School of Law; 49% are women and one-third of the students are from California. The group was introduced to Dean Lawrence Ponoroff, Assistant Dean Ann Salzer and Deputy Dean Gary Roberts. Tulane University entered into legal training 150 years ago by establishing the first United States curriculum in civil law and has been recognized as a center of comparative study ever since. Tulane has a large concentration of international specialists teaching and researching in the field of international and comparative legal studies. It has a large faculty of gifted scholars teaching up to 80 internationally related courses. All students at Tulane Law School enroll in required courses during the first year of law school. These courses lay the foundation for advanced courses in the second and third years of law school. After the first year of law school and after completion of the Legal Profession course, all courses are elective, which means that students can specialize as they choose. Many students find one or more areas that they wish to pursue in depth. In addition to the intellectual property area, Tulane’s course offers support specialization in such areas as corporate and commercial law, environmental law, admiralty, international and comparative law, and sports law, among others. More than a third of Tulane’s faculty teach and research in the field of international and comparative law. The summer school abroad program has ten programs throughout Europe, Canada and the Middle East at key institutions. The school attracts prominent jurists, lawyers and scholars from around the world. An Endowed Lecturer Series was being held during the Academy’s visit and several members of the group attended a lecture in the evening by Professor Ole Lando, a leading international scholar of Comparative, Contract and Commercial law, who currently chairs the Commission on European Contract Law, and is a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and Collaborator of UNIDROIT, Rome. He is an emeritus professor at the Copenhagen Business School with a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Copenhagen University and holds Dr. Jr. Degrees from the University of Osnabruck in Germany and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Prof. Lando is the Commissioner of the European Union Project on Commercial Law, which is currently working on European Civil Law unification, named UNIDROIT (The Principles of Universal Commercial Contracts). In his lecture, Prof. Lando compared the European Commercial Codes to the Uniform Commercial Code adopted by all of the states in the United States, except Louisiana. UNIDROIT expects to publish a proposed European Uniform Commercial Code in 2002, with comments and source notes. It is an open question whether the European Union will force the individual member countries to adopt the proposed Code or whether each member country will have to decide whether to adopt it. Prof. Lando believes that even if the EU has that power they should not exercise it. He believes that adoption should be voluntary. There are now 60 countries which are participating in the attempt to establish uniform commercial law. He emphasized two things about the operation of the Uniform Commercial Code in the United States: (1) the U.C.C. provides a realistic picture of how the law operates, giving examples and suggestions, rather than abstract concepts. (2) The United States is a union of common law jurisdictions and the states all have statutes which restate the common law. The statutes use the European civil law style of language, but they are interpreted by the courts, judges and lawyers, with a common law approach. Whereas the individual states in the U.S. have common legal reasoning, European countries are only beginning to get to that point because of the civil law background. European judges are beginning to study the statutes and decisions of other countries the way U.S. judges read the statutes and decisions of other states. In addition, judges and lawyers in the U.S. have common cultural and moral backgrounds. Also, there are special statutes in the U.S. which are not based on common law, e.g. consumer protection laws; Europe has no such laws. Prof. Lando discussed why commercial law should be unified. The very purpose of the European Economic Community (EEC) is to foster the free flow of goods, markets and finance. There is a need for the feeling of security for the businessmen and their local lawyers who are unfamiliar with the laws of the other countries in which they do business. The need is greater in Europe because there is no common law nor common language. In 1989 and again in 1994, the European Parliament ordered that the drafting of a European common law should begin. In 2001 the Parliament issued requests as to whether a uniform contract law should be attempted. As a result, a separate voluntary commission composed of academics and lawyers was formed. The commission is not a government or political body, it selects its own members and is independent. It is now drafting proposed legislation on the contract subjects of performance and breach, agency, conditions, set-offs, illegality and substitution of parties. The language is similar to the U.S. Restatement. The presentation style imitates the Americans, with illustrative cases. It aims at internal coherence, and is not conceptual nor abstract. It is meant to be interpreted liberally according to its purpose, custom and usage and is intended to be elaborated on and expanded by courts to fill in the details. It must be understandable to the intelligent layman. It is addressed to the “man of reason” and must “speak to the heart.” Simplicity and brevity is the goal, but this is not always easy to achieve. It is written in English but will be translated, so legalisms are avoided because they are difficult to translate. Next on the agenda will be torts and then other subjects. The laws of succession will not be included. There are many new centers in Europe trying for uniformity, but not everyone is in favor of this. Prof. Lando explained some are referred to as “creepers” because they think that the law should grow slowly and be taught to students, fostered by academics and merchants, and eventually evolve or “drift down.” “Creeping” has started and should be worldwide. Any professor who wishes to let people know he exists must disagree with his colleagues, hence “creepers.” Prof. Lando said that he is a “Codifier” not a “Creeper.” But he agrees that the minds of the academics, judges, lawyers, and citizens must be penetrated before the Uniform Commercial Code can be enacted. Prof. Lando believes that such a Code should be adopted voluntarily by the various countries. He praised the Law School at Tulane University for its tradition of international comparative law.
WEDNESDAY: In the morning the Academy members met with Judge Nadine M. Ramsey who presides in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, Division J, a court of general civil jurisdiction. Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes. There are 14 trial courts, 3 assigned to domestic cases, in the Orleans Parish.
The Louisiana judicial system’s roots are from the colonial governments of France and Spain. In 1804 the United States Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two territories giving the name “Orleans” to the land south of the 331 N. latitude. They name W.C.C. Claiborne as its first judicial officer. When Louisiana became a state in 1812 the Legislature was given the authority to establish any lesser courts it felt necessary. Between 1813 and 1845 a City Court, Probate Court, Commercial Court, Court of Errors and Criminal Appeals Courts were formed. The Supreme Court was established in 1844 and in 1845 the new constitution set up district courts, justices of the peace and clerks of court. In 1852 the City of New Orleans and the Parish of Orleans became one. The judges observed a personal injury trial in progress in front of Judge Roland L. Belsome, and then were taken on a tour of the courthouse and met with the jury coordinator; jurors are paid $16 a day. The group also met with retired Judge Louis Dirosa who sits on assignment and is currently handling the calendar of Judge Richard Ganucheau because he is working on a class action involving tobacco cases. The rest of the day was free and in the evening the Farewell Dinner was held at the world famous Commander’s Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans.
THURSDAY: Members departed for home.
Written By Diane Z. Bowen, Executive Secretary William B. Keene, Secretary-Treasurer