Robert Passero
Robert Passero (Carmen Natale)

The Bonds of Turf—Retired Bergen County Assignment Judge Robert Passero is back in court—as a plaintiff, that is—now that an appeals court has revived his suit against a country club over an unrefunded debenture bond.

Passero resigned his membership with the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne in December 2011 and submitted the $14,900 bond, purchased when he joined in 1991, for redemption. But the club declined to pay right away, instead adding his name to a “first come, first served” list. At the time Passero sued, he was 45th on the list of 56, and some former members had been waiting as long as three years for repayment.

The club cited declining membership and rising upkeep costs as the reasons for deferring bond redemption, but Passero pointed out that after his lawsuit was filed, it borrowed $6.5 million to pay for renovations.

A trial court dismissed on summary judgment, reasoning that “the redemption of the bond is always subject to the rules of the club.”

But the Appellate Division reinstated the suit on June 4, holding that the determination about whether or not the club is doing enough to balance retiring members’ repayment with its own financial issues “must be decided by a jury.”

Messages left for Passero’s lawyer, Kenneth D’Amato of Sunshine, Atkins, Minassian, Tafuri, D’Amato, Beane & Buckner of River Edge, and for the club’s attorney, Mario Batelli of Totowa’s Foster & Mazzie, were not returned.


Confiscated fake NFL merchandise (Photo: Wikimedia)

Counterfeiters by Default—The National Football League, along with Super Bowl teams the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, won judgment last week against merchandise counterfeiters who didn’t bother showing up for court.

The NFL filed a complaint and request for a temporary restraining order against seven defendants after seizing nearly 5,000 counterfeit items from street corners near the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Jan. 27, less than a week before the Feb. 2 Super Bowl XLVII.

The league declined to sue for damages, opting instead to seek court permission to dispose of the counterfeit items on its own terms. In a memorandum accompanying its May 1 motion for a default judgment, it said it plans to donate usable goods to “charitable organizations, to be distributed abroad.” Unusable items, like heat transfers with the teams’ logos, will be destroyed.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark ordered the default judgment on June 2.

The league was represented by Proskauer Rose, including Newark-based attorneys Joseph O’Keefe, Mark Saloman and Robert Schwartz. None responded to a request for comment.


(Photo: Wikimedia)

Relics of Rural Past—Trespassing rams, bulls and stallions will no longer be in danger of apprehension by police, thanks to some legislative housekeeping in the works.

A law banning the animals from roaming the streets of New Jersey is among one of 22 statutes deemed “irrelevant in the current legal, political, and social climate” and marked for repeal.

Many of the laws have to do with animals. One is a ban on detaining homing pigeons. Another lets a mayor decide whether or not to kill an unmuzzled dog at large.

Others concern yielding of a telephone party line in an emergency; sale of spray paint to juveniles without a posted warning about the penalty for graffiti; and prohibition of the feeding of county prisoners.

Not everything is being brushed off the books, though. Certain sections of laws, like allowing volunteer fire company members to perform police duties, are exempted from the repealer, S-1909, sponsored by Senator Peter Barnes III, which the Senate passed on June 2.

This is the second time in a year that the Legislature has tried to repeal anachronistic laws. A 2013 attempt was approved by the Assembly, but failed to make it through the Senate in time.


James Tyrrell Jr.

Back to Morristown—James Tyrrell Jr., a Patton Boggs litigator who was not a part of the firm’s recent merger with Squire Sanders, has joined Edwards Wildman Palmer as a partner in the Morristown and New York City offices.

Tyrrell was regional managing partner of Patton’s New Jersey and New York offices and a member of the firm’s executive committee. A day after the creation of Squire Patton Boggs, Edwards Wildman announced Tyrrell would come on board, focusing on torts, products liability and complex commercial litigation.

Coming along Tyrrell will be former Patton Boggs attorneys Elissa Glasband, Joseph Hopkins, Jason Rockwell, Lisa Ann Ruggiero, Jennifer Schiefelbein and Eric Westenberger.

“We’re satisfied that James is an outstanding lawyer,” said Huhnsik Chung, partner in charge of Edwards Wildman’s New York office, adding that the firm was hopeful Tyrrell’s client base would stay with him.

Tyrrell, 64, was a partner with Latham & Watkins in Newark from 1997 to 2006, after a stint at Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch (now Day Pitney) in Morristown from 1987 to 1997.

Patton Boggs’ Newark office is closing and a smaller group of lawyers led by Squire Patton Boggs partner Mark Sheridan will set up shop in Florham Park, N.J.

—By Jennifer Genova and Christine Simmons