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CONCERT HALL DISPUTE MOVED TO SAN MATEO SAN JOSE — A Santa Clara County judge ruled Wednesday that San Jose’s lawsuit challenging the county’s stalled $87 million concert hall project should be heard in San Mateo County. Superior Court Judge Leslie Nichols’ ruling comes a week after the city asked for a venue change, claiming that a neutral location was critical to a fair case. Barring another challenge, a separate case filed by the San Jose Downtown Association will remain in Santa Clara, attorneys involved in the litigation said. “It’s important to get this to a neutral county given the facts and the players,” San Jose City Attorney J. Richard “Rick” Doyle said. “We have a very good relationship with the superior court here, so it has nothing to do with the court. We’re just trying to get a forum that will be neutral and allow us to move on.” San Jose attorneys argued Wednesday that a change was mandatory, while the county countered that Nichols could use her discretion in ordering a change of venue, attorneys who attended the hearing said. “I think they sought to change the venue because they want to delay this as long as possible. But the court thought it was the city’s statutory right,” said Michael Reedy, a partner with San Jose’s McManis Faulkner & Morgan. The county recently hired the powerhouse South Bay firm to help with the case. San Jose claims that under previous court settlements, it should have input into how the county uses the land. The city also doesn’t want a project that could interfere with its plans to revitalize its ailing downtown, which could potentially include a competing hall. — Justin M. Norton 9/11 LAW ON SURVIVOR BENEFITS IS CHALLENGED NEW YORK — The pending appeal of a New York State Workers’ Compensation Board ruling pits the children of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the victims’ fiancees and domestic partners. At issue is �4 of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law, a provision that affords the domestic partners of the Sept. 11 victims the same rights as surviving spouses. The law places domestic partners in direct competition with the victims’ children for Workers’ Compensation benefits, according to the appellant’s brief submitted by Robert Grey to the Appellate Division, Third Department in August. Reply papers from the New York attorney general’s office are due Nov. 8. In passing the law, state legislators believed it would only be relevant for gay partnerships, said Grey, of Grey & Grey in Farmingdale, N.Y. “They had no clue that heterosexual people that had children by one marriage and lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend would qualify under this statute,” he said. Therefore, the law failed to address issues involving remarriage and children, and domestic partners’ benefits came into direct competition with surviving children’s benefits, Grey said. Grey represents the daughter of Paul Innella, a systems analyst who was among the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees killed at the World Trade Center. In addition to his daughter, Victoria, his survivors included his ex-wife, Victoria’s mother; and his fiancee, Lucy Aita. — New York Law Journal

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