Dale Echoes The Boy Scouts of America's decision to lift its ban on gay members does little to affect the policy that 13 years ago brought a New Jersey assistant scoutmaster to the U.S. Supreme Court, where his case was turned out.
Thursday's action prohibits rejecting members based solely on sexual orientation, but the ban still applies to adult Scout leaders.
New York attorney Evan Wolfson, who argued James Dale's appeals, calls it a "half step" forward that still "sends a poisonous message" to Scouts who will ascend the ranks but be foreclosed from leadership.
Dale, a Scout since age 8 and later an assistant scoutmaster, was ousted when the Boy Scouts discovered he had led a gay student group at Rutgers University. He sued in 1992 under the state Law Against Discrimination, which had been amended a year earlier to cover sexual orientation.
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Patrick McGann Jr. dismissed the suit in 1995, calling homosexuality immoral and deeming the Scouts a private entity not covered by the LAD.
A split state appeals panel reversed, and the state Supreme Court in 1999 unanimously held the Scouts a place of public accommodation barred from sexual-orientation bias.
But the U.S. Supreme Court reversed in a 5-4 decision in 2000, holding the ban is protected by free-association rights.
During the case, Wolfson says, he believed it was a small, anti-gay faction driving the exclusion, adding, "I thought it was only a matter of time before Scouting got itself back on track."
Foul Play? A Cherry Hill night spot is facing a copyright infringement suit for playing music without a license.
The federal court complaint in Camden, by BMI Music of New York and corporations that own songs of popular recording artists, reads like a hit parade of modern classics as it recites the play lists for three nights at Top Dog America's Bar & Grille.
On Nov. 12, 2011: "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick, "Inside Out" by Eve 6, "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga and "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe.
On Feb. 18, 2012: "Mister Jones" by Counting Crows, "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors, "Unbelievable" by EMF, "Say It Ain't So" by Rivers Cuomo and "Love The Way You Lie," by Eminem.
On Feb. 19, 2012: "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield and "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence.
The suit seeks statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. 504(c) of up to $30,000 for each violation, as well as restraints against further infringement.
Plaintiffs' lawyer Catherine Clayton of Gibbons in New York declines to discuss the case.
Taylor Mills, the club's president, referred a reporter to his attorney, Haddonfield solo Igor Sturm, who did not return a call.
Prosecutors Near a Deal Three dozen assistant Burlington County prosecutors have reached a tentative contract with the county Board of Chosen Freeholders, the first since they organized as a collective bargaining unit in 2010.
The freeholders announced preliminary resolution of the talks at their meeting Wednesday night. The proposed contract calls for salary increases of 1.75 percent over three years, retroactive to 2011, and for starting salaries of $48,400 to $51,000 for new assistant prosecutors.
Full-time salaries for assistant Burlington County prosecutors are nearly $19,000 less than the state average of $90,915, according to the Burlington County Bar Association, which has been supporting the APs in their quest.
Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Bodnar, the union president, told the Burlington County Times Thursday he believed members would approve the contract and the union looks forward to new negotiations once this tentative contract expires in 2014. During negotiations, the union argued Burlington was losing experienced assistant prosecutors to higher-paying counties.
Prosecutor Robert Bernardi told the Times he was pleased that starting salaries will be more competitive with those statewide, as will salary increases for APs already on the job.
D. Casey Flaherty
Big Law Tech-Challenged D. Casey Flaherty, corporate counsel at Kia Motors America, really does have good intentions as he humiliates Big Law about its dismal technology skills, and he is careful never to embarrass a partner.
Flaherty mesmerized a standing-room-only crowd on the opening day of LegalTech West Coast at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles Wednesday with his electric keynote, "Raising the Bar on Technological Competence the Outside Counsel Tech Audit."
Frustrated by ridiculous bills for routine "commodity" matters, Flaherty decided to strike back and recently launched his technology audit program, where firms bidding for Kia's business must bring a top associate for a live test of their skills using basic, generic business tech tools such as Microsoft Word and Excel, for simple, rudimentary tasks.
So far, the track record is zero. Nine firms have taken the test, and all failed. One firm flunked twice.
"The audit should take one hour," said Flaherty, "but the average pace is five hours." In real life, that adds up to a whole lot of wasted money, he said. Flaherty uses the test to help him decide winners of the beauty contests, and to set rates and set performance goals. "I take 5 percent off every bill until they pass the test."
To date, Flaherty has personally conducted the audits, which he laughingly calls a decidedly "analog" approach. But during his keynote he announced that he has just partnered with a training firm, Capensys, with the goal of automating the audit and then making it available for free to general counsel. ("Free and easy is something that I know appeals to in-house counsel," he said.)
By David Gialanella, Charles Toutant, Michael Booth and Monica Bay (Law Technology News)