Myles M. Mattenson
5550 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Suite 200
Woodland Hills, California 91367
Telephone (818) 313-9060
Facsimile (818) 313-9260
Rocks To Lawsuits!

      Myles M. Mattenson engages in a general civil and trial practice including litigation and transactional services relating to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, franchising, business, purchase and sale of real estate, easements, landlord-tenant, partnership, corporate, insurance bad faith, personal injury, and probate legal matters.

      In providing services to the coin laundry and dry cleaning industries, Mr. Mattenson has represented equipment distributors, coin laundry and dry cleaning business owners confronted with landlord-tenant issues, lease negotiations, sale documentation including agreements, escrow instructions, and security instruments, as well as fraud or misrepresentation controversies between buyers and sellers of such businesses.

      Mr. Mattenson serves as an Arbitrator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is also past chair of the Law Office Management Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Mattenson received his Bachelor of Science degree (Accounting) in 1964 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1967.

      Bi-monthly articles by Mr. Mattenson on legal matters of interest to the business community appear in alternate months in The Journal, a leading coin laundry industry publication of the Coin Laundry Association, and Fabricare, a leading dry cleaning industry publication of the International Fabricare Institute. During the period of May 1995 through September 2002, Mr. Mattenson contributed similar articles to New Era Magazine, a coin laundry and dry cleaning industry publication which ceased publication with the September 2002 issue.

      This website contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's New Era Magazine articles which can be retrieved through a subject or chronological index. The website also contains copies of Mr. Mattenson's Journal and Fabricare articles, which can be retrieved through a chronological index.

      In addition to Mr. Mattenson's trial practice, he has successfully prosecuted and defended appeals on behalf of his clients in various areas of the law. Some of these appellate decisions are contained within his website.

Rocks To Lawsuits!

In  the  early  days  of the millennium, man (and  an  occasional
woman)  settled disputes with rocks, arrows and  knives.   As  we
approach  the  end  of  this millennium, we  haven't  necessarily
abandoned  the  old ways of dispute resolution, but increasingly,
we resort to litigation as a preferred method of seeking redress.
As  a  consequence of this move to a more peaceful means (if  you
set  aside  the emotional and economic cost), there  has  been  a
veritable  explosion  of  litigation.   The  Los  Angeles  County
Superior  Court reports that the county's population in 1880  was
33,381,  that 633 actions were filed in the superior  court  that
year,  and  only 57 attorneys practiced in Los Angeles.   At  the
present  time,  there are 42,367 attorneys in Los Angeles  County
and for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1999, 66,145 civil, 10,355
probate  and  36,025 domestic relations cases were filed  in  Los
Angeles  County.  Population, however, has also  increased.   The
State  of  California  estimates the current  population  of  Los
Angeles  County as 9,757,500.  As a percentage of the population,
the  civil, probate and domestic relations cases are presently  a
smaller percentage than that which existed in 1880!

In  the early days of the West, a judge would travel from town to
town  and  wherever  he  elected to hold  court,  that  site  was
considered  the  courtroom.   These days,  there  are  courthouse
structures    throughout   the   land   for   trials,    appeals,
administrative  hearings, bankruptcy, tax problems,  immigration,
and a variety of other matters.

Not  everyone has given up the ways of the old West.   In  recent
times,  to  the  dismay  of  most,  courthouses  find  themselves
protected  from  the outside world by armed deputy  sheriffs  and
highly  sensitive  metal detectors as clients and  lawyers  alike
pass through to conduct their business.

In  Los  Angeles,  the  second floor of the  Los  Angeles  County
Courthouse is referred to among lawyers as "divorce alley."   The
phrase  is  a  fragment from the past.  Although at one  time  we
referred to a marital breakup as a divorce, today we say that the
marriage  has  been dissolved.  One wonders if  that  euphemistic
change  in nomenclature eases the pain for those involved.   More
importantly,  however,  when  the terminology  was  changed  from
divorce  to  dissolution of marriage in  the  early  1970's,  the
courts  abandoned  the concept of determining fault  between  the
parties and awarding a greater share of community property to the
offended  party.   Today, in the absence of an agreement  to  the
contrary,  the courts focus on assuring the parties of  an  equal
division of community property.

As  a  result,  if Adam and Eve were to obtain a  dissolution  of
their marriage in 1999, each would be arguing over his or her one-
half interest in the community property apple!  Alternatively, if
the apple had been consumed, each would hire valuation experts to
determine what one party owes the other for having consumed  more
than their share.

Technology as well as terminology has changed over time.  When  I
began  to practice law in 1968, if you wanted more than one  copy
of  a  document, the reproductive method involved  was  something
called  "carbon  paper."   Today many office  printers  reproduce
copies at 18 pages per minute or faster.

It  surely  must be a sign of age if you know that the term  "cc"
followed  by  a name at the bottom of a letter indicates  to  the
reader  that  a "carbon copy" of the letter is being provided  to
that  individual.  When sending e-mail, I note the continued  use
of  "cc"  and wonder how many youthful users of e-mail know  what
the term really means?

At  one  time,  when  an  appellate  court  produced  an  opinion
regarding a case, it was to be found only in a printed case  book
in  a law library.  Today, an entire law library can be purchased
on CD-Rom and carried around in a small briefcase.

In  the  early  days, when an attorney required court  forms,  he
would  have  to  send someone down to the county  courthouse  and
obtain  copies  of forms for a nominal charge.  Today  the  court
forms appear on judicial and governmental Internet sites and  can
be printed and available for use in mere seconds.

Most  nonlawyers  familiar with the exploits of Perry  Mason  are
familiar  with  the fact that courtroom staff  includes  a  court
reporter  transcribing the testimony upon  a  stenotype  machine.
Although  the  stenotype  machine was invented  during  the  late
1800's  and the machine currently in use was developed during  or
about  1912,  the  use of shorthand was the principal  method  of
recording   testimony  until  the  early  1940's.    Some   court
reporters, notwithstanding the development of the new technology,
continued to use shorthand because they were comfortable with its
use  and  found no need to learn the new technology.   One  court
reporter, reportedly in his 70's, Ronald Clifton, continues today
to use shorthand in the taking of deposition testimony.

Although  the  Perry Mason episodes generally  depicted  a  court
reporter making use of a stenotype machine, Anatomy of A  Murder,
produced and directed by Otto Preminger in 1959, depicted a court
reporter  taking notes of trial testimony by hand.   Perhaps  Mr.
Preminger had his deposition taken at one time before Mr. Clifton
as a court reporter.

Lest  we become too critical of the proliferation of lawsuits  in
this country, keep in mind the fact that the dangers of asbestos,
cigarettes  and health care are being addressed in  class  action
lawsuits  never envisioned in the early days of judicial  dispute

Perhaps the challenges which will confront future lawyers can  be
found within the pages of today's science fiction!

[This column is intended to provide general information only  and
is  not intended to provide specific legal advice; if you have  a
specific  question  regarding the  law,  you  should  contact  an
attorney  of your choice.  Suggestions for topics to be discussed
in this column are welcome.]

Reprinted from New Era Magazine
Myles M. Mattenson  1999-2002