Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Community Post: Cappello is at it again.

I was watching a DVD of the last season of the Soprano's and was trying to figure out how much is too much to get on the vig....and what in the world is a sfogliatelle when I got this community post which WAS WRITTEN BY AN AVID READER with concerns about the Santa Barbara News-Press' main attorney....what do you think? Can anyone explain? -- Sara
This time he is using a grief-stricken family to pad his pockets and settle a long-standing personal dispute.

According to local news reports, last week a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Gottesman family relating to the drowning of their son. We all feel for the family and losing a child is the worse thing that can happen to a parent. But does the Ottesman family really know what they have gotten themselves into?

Barry has been in cases involving harm to others and the only one to benefit was Barry and his firm. Barry was the attorney epresenting 133 people that suffered because of contaminations spread by a local Boeing facility. Barry was good, the group as awarded $30 million – Barry’s take was $18 million! The story of this transaction even made CNN!

And if Barry is not doing it for the money, then perhaps it has something to do with trying to exact revenge on Richard Berti ho was listed as an owner of the club where the drowning took place. Evidently, Richard and Barry don’t get along because Richard refused to pay Barry’s astronomical fee for some legal services.

Barry was the one who sought out the Gottesman’s and had them fire their attorney, they didn’t come to him – I wonder why?

The Gottesman family deserves to be taken care of; not be victimized by Cappello and his greed for money and revenge.


Tired of Cappello’s Manipulation of Santa Barbara

Simi Valley Acorn

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gottesman family made their choice and, like Cappello, it's apparently greed. One can be sorry for their loss but abhor their vengeful spirit.

Although a graduate of a reasonably good law school, I've never appreciated this aspect of American society that seems to equate the loss of a child, for instance, with money.

When there is wrong-doing, the criminal law is there. When there is an accident, the vultures hover, offering to share their catch with the relatives of the downed, as though money is "closure".

If it is NOT for money but for revenge then it is a misuse of public facilities — the courts, after all, belong to all of us and are funded by all of us. "Court costs" do not take pay all the charges, including the time and efforts of jurors, for instance.

Seems to me that the losing sides should pay for all court costs, including space rental and judges' and opposing side salaries; this might deter some of these vengeance cases such as this one and perhaps also the Janeway one seem to be.

It might also mean that some deserving cases would not get filed; but for some cases the court system should not be the way to deal with loss.

7/24/2007 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sfolgiatelle are sold primarily on the streests and shops of Naples and are flaky little pastries stuffed with various flavor creme fillings. One can be a whole meal.

Look at the root word "folgia" which means "leaf" - so they are a bit like mille feuille French pastry dough, also translated as a "thousand leaves".

Pack in a bunch of them, if you want a ring side seat to Circo Capelllo.

7/24/2007 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AVID READER might look to a position on the local daily's editorial page. Aside from qualifying due to poor proofreading, how about either making a point with conviction or just finding something else to rant about?

Mr. Capello, like him or not, works for pay, often speculative. His clients agree, in advance and in writing, to that arrangement. Such arrangement is subject to more procedural oversight than many other business agreements, and obviously more than would be involved in posting to a blog.

If Mr. Capello was not representing the plaintiffs, would it be acceptable if another attorney was? When the plaintiffs are casting about for an attorney in this area, are they required to select one that does not offer the same track record?

Still interested in that position at the News-Mess? Add these to your resume-

"But does the Ottesman family really know what they have gotten themselves into?"
Why don't you ask them before inferring your value judgements on their decision?

"Barry’s take was $18 million!"
(A bit off from your own linked reference. No doubt you'll want to quibble on the math, who did the work, and who fronted the expenses.)
According to the Daily News article that first reported the story, attorney fees totaled some $10 million, while research and case expenses came to about $8 million. The remaining amount, $12 million, is set to be divided among the plaintiffs.

"Evidently, Richard and Barry don’t get along because Richard refused to pay Barry’s astronomical fee for some legal services."
Well, do they or don't they? Starting any sentence such as this with the word "evidently" just lends to a lack of credibility and cowardice.

"Barry was the one who sought out the Gottesman’s and had them fire their attorney, they didn’t come to him – I wonder why?"
Did you ask them? The easy answer is because their prior attorney was not capable of handling such a case. Is this true? No clue, but it's just as credible a statement as your premise.

".... he is using a grief-stricken family to pad his pockets and settle a long-standing personal dispute."
I get the part about grief-stricken. The connection to the rest of the statement rolls right along with using the image of a child who died while bicycling to school in the recent disagreement about the use of La Cumbre Junior High. Not making the case on merits, it must be time to drag in any sick emotional connection you can.

It is obviouse that AVID READER has the axe to grind, no other principals in this "item" are complaining. The world is overrun with choices other than Mr. Capello's firm. It's obvious that enough people are selecting him based on something other than the rambling, meaningless questions posed here.

So this is the blog-world we live in? A family torn apart, doing what they need to do, and some AVID READER gets to make social comment fodder out of it? Really nice "Sara," but could or could you not have made the case for discussion without the connection to the Gottesman situation? Or is the supposed News-Mess connection temptation so overwhelming that this is what qualifies these days on blogabarbara?

7/24/2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

9:45 AM -- the connection you are speaking of is exactly why I posted this community post....what is it? I agree with you that Capello has the right to make whatever money he makes, may or may not be related to any of the points AVID READER made...and that's fine in my book as differing points of view are what we talk about here.

7/24/2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

6:50 pm ANON -- sorry -- I laughed but can't put that in here.

7/24/2007 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder if Capello will get a sense of potential jury sentiment reading these posts? Save him a lot of money running a mock trial for his clients.

7/24/2007 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Mr. B said...

There was a story about this in the NP today. It read like Capello himself wrote it. The story was based almost entirely on Capello's statement to the press. No attempt to talk to the authorities that investigated or even the athletic club itself.

Not a surprise though - the NP is just returning favors to its lap/guard dog Capello.

It's a shame the Gottesmans have let themselves get involved with Capello - the stench from this sleezeball pollutes all of Santa Barbara.

7/24/2007 8:52 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Sara please post 6:50 Anon...I could really use a laugh. Besides I'm so tired of censorship.

BTW your belief "that Capello has the right to make whatever money he makes" makes me cringe. Please re-evaluate circumstances.

p.s. Thanks for the link. I would rerun Tony Sr's countertop order over and over I know its>>>> Gabagool simple, so cultural.

7/24/2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I dunno donaldo -- I may not agree as to how he makes his money but he does have a right to make it for anyone that will pay him, no? Then again, there is also the media impact on how people make money. Wired Magazine put Martha on their cover this month -- is what she did forgotten now? That's what gets me because media has a higher responsibility than most of us as far as I am concerned. He was part of an article today about this case but no one would know that he is also an attorney to the News-Press as they didn't say so...

7/24/2007 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all of the writers who stand in judgement of the Gottesmans and think they are getting taken: They are not getting taken. They are taking the steps they believe they must, now. They are living with something you don't, every single day. I know them. I knew their son.

Go to your children's rooms, run your fingers through their hair as they sleep, close your eyes, and silently promise to do one small thing for this family: drop this subject.

7/24/2007 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The level of cruelty of this discussion can hardly be measured. This poor famiy has endured a most horrific, unimmaginable loss/ This second-guessing of their decisions is reprehensible. There are many attorneys who do make huge sums for representing clients who have gone through such agony, not for the money, not for revenge, but to somehow make justice. And the tragic loss of their beautiful boy was not an accident, it was negligence. Leave this poor family alone and grant them some peace outside this nasty and judgemental place where every single issue inevitably turns back to the news press.

7/24/2007 11:51 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I've lost a family member under similar circumstances and understand what this is about more than you would know...I also know that families can make decisions like this that can hardly be measured for not being able to see past the tragedy.

Who can blame them -- I wouldn't want to be in their shoes at all....but this turns back to the News-Press because they cover it and because there is a connection between Cappello, the NP and making a great deal of money on someone else's sorrow.

That is his right but it seems a bit much. This is a small town and the issues are intertwined -- the Gottesmans have every right to hire Capello and pay for frankly a more likely victory...he has a good track record. No one is bemoaning that -- but the amount sounds not necessary for those of us that don't know what it takes to show up like every other lawyer in court when they are supposed to. What is diiferent? I don't know other than perception and in this case a decent track record and a strong win/loss've got to give Cappello that.

7/25/2007 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother died due to a medical mistake. In the end we didn't sue, simply because no amount of money would bring her back to life, and the years spent in the legal system seemed a waste of time to us.

I can't think of anything negative to say about the Gottesmans, however. These tragedies are so deep that I am not comfortable with any judgment of the victims.

But I don't respect attorneys who enrich themselves in these cases. If those attorneys worked for $50/hour, I'd have some respect for them. But when they work on commission from the settlement, I'm disgusted.

7/25/2007 5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a sad commentary on our society that we equate money with retrobution for grief. Any time you leave a child in the care of others, there are risks. You can isolate our child in a protective bubble or accept some of those risks. As a parent, I have thought often about this issue. Humans are exactly that, human. Accidents happen, sometimes tragically but rarely maliciously. That is the risk I accepted when I entrusted my children in the care of others. Would I have sued for money? No. If there was true negligence then it should be a criminal not civil issue. How does suing for millions of dollars rectify the problem that caused the death? To me, the priority would be to make sure it doesn't happen again, so no other family has to go through this. The memory of the child would be better served in providing a trust for that purpose rather than lining the pockets of the attorney and family. I don't care how you look at it, it smacks of greed on both parts. It is disgusting.

As far as this being a News Press issue. Barry Cappello has been retained by the News Press. The News Press did not investigate both sides in this issue. This is not only very biased (take note Wendy in the correct usage of this word) but also highly unethical.

7/25/2007 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...there is a connection between Cappello, the NP and making a great deal of money on someone else's sorrow."

Well, sara, I wasn't too impressed with your reply to the comments I made at 9:45AM, and I'm even less impressed now.

If you are attempting to link Capello to the Gottesman's sorrow and some kind of "sorrow" inflicted on the former NP ee's, you have totally lost contact with reality.

The ee's of NP "sorrow" does not even rate mention in the same conversation, and as several others have pointed out, your patronizing connection is a cruel, perhaps even inhumane attempt to link all things to NP.

I will gladly support most issues anti-NP, but you have stooped to a low of which I am unaccustomed with your moderation of this particular voicepiece.

Perhaps a telling barometer is that of the nine pertinent posts, three of them are yours seeking to justify the original post.

Thank you 11:46PM and 11:51PM for your comments, apparently on deaf ears. If only the original AVID READER should be so fortunate as to have acquaintances such as you.

7/25/2007 12:36 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks for your input 12:36 pm -- again, I have no problem with the Gottesman's seeking damages. never said that. Cappello's involvement however has clearly kept all sides of the story from being told in the News-Press. Not his fault -- but it has. I'm also not linking their sorrow to that of the former NP reporters at all. Didn't say that either.

7/25/2007 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you didn't say it, you certainly wrote it. Capello and NP are connections to both issues, so the "sorrow" part is only on the family's issue, not on the NP issue? Poor sentence structure or just an unenviable corner to be in?

This goes back to an original point- the connection could (should) have been made to Capello and the NP and reporting or lack thereof, without the obvious personal bias of AVID READER and the distasteful opinions concerning the Gottesman situation and the choices they are making.

Your second sentence above should have been able to carry the discussion, if it had merit, without the rest of the garbage.

I have lots of issues with seeking damages in this situation, but it's their situation, not mine, and only they can decide how to get through this.

Sounds like we need to meet over an adult beverage- do I tell my wife I'm meeting a woman or going out with the guys? .... thanks for putting up with my opinions.

7/25/2007 9:27 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thank you for participating -- maybe we can meet at the Sporty sometime :)

7/25/2007 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's impossible to condone Barry Cappello's defense of the indefensible antics of Wendy McCaw and her minnions, the personal attacks on Barry and the legal profession are unwarranted.
I cannot speak to the exact numbers generated by the settlement of the Boeing matter by Cappello's firm. I believe, however, that the firm advanced nearly $10 million to prosecute that case over a period of almost 10 years. This does not include the firm's operating expenses, i.e. the salaries of the attorneys and support staff who worked the case. Had Cappello not had the courage and conviction to take the case in the first place, and to invest the money, time and energy in the cause, the people who suffered from Boeing's caprice would have received nothing. This crucial fact is missing from the commentary here.
Many people who have been wronged, such as those who suffered in the Boeing case, cannot afford to pay an attorney on an hourly basis. Without contingency fee agreements and attorneys willing to take risks, most of these wrongs would never be addressed.
I know Barry Cappello and regard him as both an zealous, aggressive yet ethical attorney and an excellent business person.
Like many others who contribute to this blog, I mourn the loss of the News-Press as a ethical, independent journal. I wish Barry Cappello had not weighed in on the side of Wendy McCaw.
But this notwithstanding, it is wrong and unfair to blame him for this and attack him personally. He is merely doing his job as an advocate.

7/26/2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 7/25/2007 7:22 AM:

Your comments sicken this reader with your self-riteous, judgemental drivel. Your smug and insipid prose paints you as one who has never experienced a loss like the Gottesmans. May you never have such a loss in your life, and if you do, may others respond to you with the kindness and thoughtfullness you lack.

7/28/2007 10:02 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

With that...In think it's time to close this post off from future comment.

7/28/2007 10:56 PM  

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