Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sexual Harassment

Leona was an exceptionally well formed woman who loved to work on trucks. She had little education. She was a devoted wife and mother and was strong. She was the winter soldier of her workplace. She showed up when it was cold, when it was hot and when no one else would.

The rough and crude rancher and oil field workers ganged up on her and did so with the encouragement of her boss. The $10 million company for whom she worked did nothing to protect her and ignored her protests. She was subjected to constant sexual harassment in words, pictures and objects.

When the federal case was done, she had a six figure settlement, they bought her home, fired her boss, and his companions in this foul play, relocated her to a city of her choice, and retrained the remaining staff.


Fintan Dooley is an honorably discharged US Army paratrooper and Syrian Arabic linguist. Dooley helps battle injured veterans and their families. Five of Dooley’s children have served in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Head injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the signature wounds of modern warfare. The military command structure does not want to acknowledge the disabling effects of these wounds. The first point of resistance is the commander who does not want to decimate his ranks. Ironically, the second person to resist documenting the head injury or PTSD is the wounded warrior.

Friends, parents and spouses of wounded warriors ought to intervene especially when they suspect their changed loved one is psychologically injured and no longer competent or confident. Family members should not be shy about going to the top and doing so quickly. The greatest disaster is to delay and begin the record assembly process after your loved one has been discharged and stands at the end of the line with an undocumented series of head injuries. Courageous families may save their loved one’s life and assure that the Veteran’s Administration properly cares for their wounded warriors the rest of their lives.

Since 1972, Dooley has served PTSD victims, workplace amputees, catastrophic burn victims who survived despite loss of entire faces and all fingers in petroleum fires. Dooley works effectively with medical specialists including the full variety of specialists in surgery and neuropsychology.

He understands the personal effects of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder because of his own experiences and more particularly because he was hospitalized at Fort Ord, California for repair of his nose, the after effects of brawls in the barracks. His companion on the facial surgical ward was an Iowa farm boy who lost his left eye socket, cheekbone and cheek to a Russian rocket.

Dooley’s poem about that night on the surgical ward was published by the Journal of War Literature.

An Ode to the Survivors

Tears and Wails: A 1970 Night on the Ft. Ord Surgical Ward.

Tears of my sleepless fellow, I do remember.
Every night hour our nurse salved the hole under his unclosable eye.
Adonis was 20, a farm kid, an Iowa football star, loyal,
in love with his high school queen. I was 25, a lonely philanderer.
Russian rocket passed his face. Vietnam kept his eyelid, cheek and bone.
Surgeons propped his eye with gauze and jammed sticks in my fist-broken nose.

And I do remember who scorned me the brawler, our well formed
Nurse whispered,
Don’t give up.

Wails let down her whispers. I saw her press his hand to her breasts.
Always believe in her love! Didn’t she say,
I promise to wait for you?
Let me tell your cheerleader!
Sure, he said, I do remember. She did promise to wait for me….

In July of 2003 a North Dakota National Guard named John Fettig was killed in a rocket attack on his Hummer in Iraq. His passenger, Brandon Erickson, survived. Brandon is a childhood friend of USAF Maj. Jocelyn McCauley Dooley Smith.

Brandon is alive at Walter Reed Hospital! His right arm is in Iraq.

Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Dooley Law Office has served farmers, ranchers, business owners and ordinary wage earners in the preparation of wills, trusts, and instruments to pass estates from one generation to another. Each situation requires careful study.

Among the problems which trouble or society are special needs of family members troubled by disease, disability, addiction, and divorce.

The client and the attorney must carefully study how to coordinate family resources with insurance, pensions, and governmental entitlements created for provision of medical care to disabled or aged persons.

Divorce and remarriage must be considered especially by families which have considerable wealth and are undertaking transfer of wealth from one generation to another.

For example; by contract for deed a Centennial Farm family arranged to sell buildings, land, and machinery to one of their three children. That favored child proved to be unstable in marital relations and married three times. That favored child passed through the first broken marriages without threatening the interests of his parents. During the third marriage that favored child was stricken by brain cancer.

His will had provided for his only child, a son profoundly injured in war, and his parents. The third wife proved to be more than a match for her cancer stricken husband. On the day he learned of his impending death he changed his well and disinherited his son and his parents.

This disastrous outcome could have been avoided by creating a mutual irrevocable set of wills.

Third-Party Claims for Injured Workers

North Dakota provides Worker’s Compensation benefits which are comprehensive but not generous. The state limits benefits in both amount and duration. Loss of income capacity is minimally compensated.  Pain-and-suffering is not compensated at all.

In many cases, workers are injured by the negligence of a third person not a fellow employee. In those cases, workers may sue in District Court and claim benefits in what is called a third party claim.

By law the state worker’s compensation agency pays half of the costs and is entitled to half of the proceeds up to the full amount of the worker’s compensation claim paid.

The spouse or family member who has suffered the loss of companionship, support, or consortium also has a claim for damages. Likewise, the family member who provides care for the injured worker has a claim.

Surface and Mineral Owner Rights

Dooley’s experience in assisting surface owners is aided by his study of chemistry and his collaboration with three corporate entities which have substantial experience in environmental cleanup and remediation of spill sites. His service of surface owners affected by chemical poisoning and over flowing rivers spans 40 years.

Issues That Affect Surface Owners

  • Pollution of Soil and Water
  • Creation and Location of Oilfield Roads
  • Location of Pipelines
  • Cleanup of Lands Troubled by Previous Oilfield or Mining Activities, including Pits Sometimes Known As Evaporation Ponds, Abandoned Roads, and Unmarked or Forgotten Pipelines
  • Location of New Wells Close to Occupied Buildings
  • Nuisance Law claims based upon noise and smell; especially poisonous gases such as H2S

Mineral Owner Rights

  • Fintan Dooley has invited William Bontrager, a specialist in mineral rights to assist him in serving North Dakota mineral owners.
  • Three areas of Mineral Law Bontrager and Dooley hope to serve mineral owners:
    1. Abandonment of the leasehold;
    2. Challenge of unconstitutional creation of production units; and
    3. Recovery of mineral interests.


Public Trust Doctrine and Confronting Elected and Appointed Officials

What is The Public Trust Doctrine?

The Public Trust Doctrine is the citizen’s sword and shield. It is a judicial remedy for calling public officials to account for their conduct.

In Wisconsin, it applies most frequently to water. In North Dakota it applies to water, renewable resources of the state and, I argue, it also applies historic values.

Where is it from?

The public trust doctrine is a judicially fashioned remedy for abuse of power by elected and appointed officials. Historically, it was the gift of Emperor Justinian to the people of the Christian World. Justinian ruled in Constantinople. He presided over the Empire before it split the East and West sections.

He directed legal scholars of his era to codify decisions of Romans law judges.  The simplicity of the principles state that air, water, access to rivers and roads, and access to historic sites were property rights to be guaranteed even to those who had been conquered by Roman armies. With that came the right to use the fruits the conquered lands. That judicial protection assured the conquered people that their endeavors to provide for themselves and do business were not going to be dishonored by the Roman conquerors. The right to use the fruits of the soil is called “usufructs.”

The word contains two parts “use and fruits.” The advantage to Rome was provision of a predictable and honorable judicial system that probably prevented guerrilla warfare and discouraged rebellion.

As Americans, we live in a legal system which has blended Roman, Anglo and American legal traditions. The Anglo connection is shown a mural in the Wisconsin Supreme Court chamber. It discloses King John of England about to sign the Magna Carta or the Great Charter of Rights. He did so under threat of death. The Magna Carta presents a list of his wrongs and requires him to acknowledge his wrongs or face an overwhelming force of bishops and armed knights.

For our purposes, the most important section of the Magna Carta had to do with the Forest Laws which provided a means of assuring the various classes of English citizens protection of their rights to use the fruits of the land. The King had replanted forests which had been cleared by English peasants. They used those lands as commons to graze their sheep and used the forest to gather fuel to heat their homes. King John’s sin was to invite his French cousins to romp around England hunting and raping.

He had actually replanted forests to enhance habitats for his quarry. The Forest Laws required him to deforest the land and set up a series of courts to protect the rights of use of Englishmen. The same farmer/rancher suspicious of preservationists and wildlife promoters is evident in North Dakota today. Even the Farmers Union opposes funding of conservation measures which might buy up farm and ranch land and set it aside for wildlife and recreational use.

How does it apply?

In North Dakota today, the issue of preeminent concern is water. Water is, by statute and judicial decision, property held in common for the citizens of the state of North Dakota.

In North Dakota millions of gallons of water are used in the Bakken fracking process. The North Dakota Water Conservation Commission issues permits for withdrawing water from ponds, rivers, and wells. The permit holders do not pay for the water they pump.

These permit holders are allowed to charge fees for the water they pump. We will call these loading fees. The water appropriator does not own the water but merely has a right to devote the water to a permitted use either his own as an irrigator or industrial user or for the very unique use of fracking.

How do we distinguish between use of water for irrigation, watering livestock, and use in industrial purposes such as cooling towers at electric utilities from uses in the Bakken which transform the freshwater into brine?

We look at the hydrologic cycle. Irrigation, watering livestock, and water used in industrial purposes such as cooling towers at electric utilities all return the water to the hydrologic cycle as runoff or vapor. This is perhaps the first time in the history of North Dakota that any or at least significant quantities of fresh water are so transformed that return of those waters to the hydrologic cycle is prohibited. The brine switch called fracture return flows are so toxic that they must be disposed of in deep wells. The water must be pumped into the salt zone and separated from the freshwater zones. We call that use “consumptive.”

Water is trust property.  Recently, the North Dakota legislature has refused to impose a per gallon charge upon the oil industry which has by use of freshwater transformed into brine water enabled our state to become either the second or perhaps soon to be the first most productive oil-producing state in America. All this economic activity requires consumptive use of water which is entrusted to the legislators care for the benefit of the citizens of North Dakota. Under North Dakota statutes, rules, and administrative practice there is no commensurate exchange of value for the water utilized by the oil industry. This is the case even though the water is consumed in the fracking process rather than being return to the hydrologic system as is the case in irrigation, watering livestock, and water used in conventional industrial purposes such as cooling towers.

Who may confront an elected or public official?

In Trust Law, a beneficial owner of a property held in trust may confront the trustee for breach of duties. This suggests that any citizen may challenge the elected and appointed officials and present a charge to the court that a breach of trust duties has occurred. Likewise, associations of farmers, ranchers and citizens who are interested in accountability or concerned about the consumptive use of a scarce commodity have the right to sue. The right to sue is called standing.

First Amendment Rights

The heritage of the Anglo-American legal system is Freedom of Assembly, Press, and Speech.

The right of Free Speech began in Parliament where representatives of the people dared to criticize the King. The right to publish without fear of being labeled a criminal arose in Massachusetts when a pamphleteer named Peter Zenger criticized the King’s tax collectors.

The right of Free Assembly evolved because Englishmen often assembled to discuss their political grievances. Although citizen assemblies were tolerated by the government for centuries, the right was not enumerated in the Magna Charta or the English Bill of Rights. The first explicit declaration of the right to assembly without being exposed to the charge of treason appeared in the 1776 Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights.

Throughout his career, Fintan Dooley has served citizens whose disfavored viewpoints are expressed in the public forum and provoke government hostility. Modern censorship is called “speech code” and these are increasingly adopted by schools and universities. These codes infringe upon the First Amendment. With rare exceptions these codes violate the constitutional rights of students.

School officials who sanction students for expressing their religious or political viewpoints are violating the First Amendment.

Parental Rights

As the family unit continues to unravel, divorces increase, and courts issue orders to support abandoned children and single parents.

The parent/child relationship is a constitutionally protected privacy right, a privilege, which has received judicial protection for centuries. One of the critical issues for the family law practitioner is when and how to defend the parent/child relationship. Social activists are aggressively prosecuting parents who use corporal punishment and in so doing have overturned centuries of responsible parenting techniques which have served society. Dooley is experienced in vindicating the right of parents to rear their children according to the parents own faith and culture.

In a recent case, Dooley successfully defended a single mother in western Wisconsin who had spanked her children and caused a bruise. The prosecutor dismissed the case but only after two experts affirmed that her discipline was appropriate and prevented her children from injuring each other.

Two weeks before the spanking, a specialist had prescribed two antibiotic drugs which combined to predispose the child to bruising. The spanking that caused the bruises was so painless that the child forgot it within thirty minutes. She apologized to her mother and slept without difficulty.

Neither child nor mother knew the bruises had appeared. The bruises which the YMCA worker’s disclosed to the police disappeared within days and without scars. Both children were taken from the mother for six months and returned only after she hired attorney Dooley. Dooley did what the County should have done. He investigated. He engaged a home safety expert and a forensic pediatrician. Neither the investigating officer nor the County’s pediatrician conducted any fact investigation whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this factually baseless felony prosecution has already intimated twenty-five other parents whose children were predisposed to bruising. They elected to sign plea agreements. These agreements jeopardize the employment future and credit of those innocent parents.

What’s next? Children will be quizzed at school, “Does your mother or father spank you?”
Dooley understands criminality and brutality. Not every parent who strikes his or her child is innocent of child abuse. But clearly some are and they should have effective council.

Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples

In the United States, the social subgroup which has invested the most blood and flesh in defense of our country is by far Native America.

In the oil wars since Bush I, as in all previous wars, it is the Native American veteran who suffers the most frequent dismemberment or death. Now with helicopters taking the wounded from the battlefield, the group suffering the largest number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases is Native America.

Native Americans have a unique treaty relationship with the United States government and because of that relationship; Native Americans may assert their treaty rights against State and Municipal Governments. Treaties provide opportunities to recover rights to use the fruits of the land, hunt, fish, harvest plants, revisit, and protect Sacred Sites.

Elected and appointed public officials must be called to account for their failure to recognize that the Federal Trusteeship role protects rather than limits Native American rights in ceded lands, national grasslands, and forests.

Dooley has traveled to the remotes of North America, West Africa, Central America, and Central Asia. In each instance, he has sought out the indigenous farmers and fishermen. He gains an understanding of the concerns of those who are not literate and whose first language is not English.

Machinery Accidents

Attorney Fintan Dooley worked in hazardous employments before he went to law school. These included work in the oil fields of Wyoming and Louisiana. He witnessed disasters, brain injuries, and death. The disasters were caused by missing bolts and broken cables.

Dooley has completed a variety of heavy truck, auto, collision, and under ride cases which have crushed children and smashed adults. He effectively worked with traffic control engineers and human factors experts. Recruiting experts who will have a rapport with client, judge and jury is critical for success.

Dooley has completed a complex disaster case involving railroad freight car loading. Those accidents frequently result in amputation or death. The project resulted in a presentation to the Railroad Section of the American Trial Lawyers. The result was innovation of a new remedy for workers. In the freight car loading case, he recruited and coordinated a team of experts and lawyers drawn from five states. The outcome still helps injured railroad car loading workers and their survivors across the globe. Today, workers injured by railroad equipment can sue railroads even though they are not employed by railroads. The claims are based upon legal theories of product liability and joint venture. Owners of railroad equipment may no longer defend asserting that the Railroad Safety Appliance Act immunizes them. They are liable for unsafe or defective freight car appurtenances.