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David White is a software/firmware/marketing professional and a long time investor. He has worked in the networking field, the semiconductor equipment field, the mainframe computer field, and the pharmaceutical/scientific instrumentation field. He has bachelor's degrees in bioresource sciences... More
  • How To Change A Law. 2 comments
    Aug 16, 2013 5:44 PM

    Some rumors have been circulating about me setting a legal precedent in Small Claims Court (many years ago as a student). To clarify such rumors I have decided to explain it. My car was sideswiped by a tow truck while my car was parked. The owner of the tow truck was willing to have his insurance pay. His employee was after all guilty of the sideswipe action. As a student I had an old car, but I had maintained it well, so it was worth more than the "totalled" value, which is what the insurance company naturally wanted to pay.

    I cited a case in which a stolen car was sold to someone. That someone then insured the car against accidents and theft. That car was then stolen or totalled (I can't remember after all these years). Since it was a stolen car, the person who had insured it actually had no legal interest in the car. Therefore the insurance company argued that it should not have to pay off on the insurance policy. The court ruled that since the recent buyer bought the insurance policy in good faith, the insurance company had to pay off the "totalled" value of the car, even though the person actually had no legal ownership interest in the car.

    I argued that the court had in fact ruled that the insurance company had to pay off on the "believed interest" the policy owner thought he/she had in the car. Therefore the insurance company in my case should also have to pay off on the "reasonably believed" value I thought I had in my car. I presented evidence that that belief was significantly above the insurance company stated "totalled value". The court ruled in my favor. The current rumors are apparently saying that that ruling was a new legal precedent. I am guessing that prior to that the "totalled" value had to be accepted.

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  • David White
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    Author’s reply » I have heard some pushback about the quality of this argument. I only heard a rumor that it was a legal precedent. However, I do know that the judge wanted to rule that I would get only the "totalled value" before I presented the argument.He said as much. Also the judge did ask me if I was a lawyer. When I answered "no", he asked if I was a law student. Again I was not. At the very least this was a good argument. Plus I did get the feeling that the judge enjoyed listening to an actual "legal argument" as opposed to just people arguing. If it was enough to interest the judge, it was at least a good argument.
    20 Aug 2013, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • David White
    , contributor
    Comments (4882) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Others have apparently voiced further feedback that I probably got help. No. I just went up to the Boalt Hall library, and I researched it myself. I did study law in high school (mostly Constitutional Law); and I did take two undergraduate law classes at the University of California -- Business Law and Family Law. I was not a total neophyte. I did come up with the argument totally on my own.
    6 Jun 2014, 08:30 AM Reply Like
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