Patrick Dunican Jr.

Spirit of the Green — Gibbons chairman and managing partner Patrick Dunican Jr. was grand marshal on Friday in Newark’s 78th annual parade for his hallowed eponym.

Dunican’s grandparents came from the Irish counties of Donegal, Mayo, Offaly and Sligo and he grew up in a three-Pat household — his parents’ names are Patrick and Patricia — where "St. Patrick’s was always a big day."

The honor has special meaning for the Newark firm, too, founded in 1926 by Andrew Crummy, of Irish descent, as were other early members, including John Gibbons, former chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Now much more diverse — firm T-shirts say "Founded by Irish, Made Great By Many" — Gibbons still celebrates its heritage at annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities featuring a bagpiper, step dancers, corned beef, and kegs of Guinness and Harp.

Newark business leaders, lawyers and law school deans were part of Dunican’s entourage, trailing behind the bagpipe band from his alma mater, Iona College. A 100-member Gibbons contingent, including family members, also marched, with more watching from a grandstand.

Parade preparations included advertising and fundraising that brought in more than $100,000 for city organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, St. John’s Soup Kitchen and St. Benedict’s Preparatory School.


Esther Salas

Street Fight — Tenafly attorney Scott Lanin is having little luck blocking his town from making the street on which he lives one way during school hours.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last Tuesday let stand U.S. District Judge Esther Salas‘ refusal to issue a preliminary injunction against the town. Both said Lanin and his wife, Lisa, failed to show irreparable harm.

In June 2010, the town made Lower Downey Drive one way eastbound from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for drop-offs and pickups at nearby Smith Elementary School.

Lanin, who runs a firm in Manhattan and is acting pro se, sued the town and school board, alleging civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He says it is now impossible to turn west onto the street to avoid school-bound traffic. Lanin, a diabetic, amended the complaint and sought an injunction after a sidewalk began to be built, alleging the town would neglect it and render it inaccessible for people with disabilities.

But Third Circuit Judges Marjorie Rendell, D. Michael Fisher and Leonard Garth said in Lanin v. Tenafly, "A party seeking a preliminary injunction must ordinarily prove irreparable injury; the Lanins’ case does not warrant an exception."

The attorneys for the town, William McClure of Rochelle Park’s Picinich & McClure, and the school board, Douglas Bohn of Cullen and Dykman in Queens, N.Y., declined to comment.


 

A Fine Refund — Drivers who claim they were wrongly flagged by red-light cameras in 18 New Jersey municipalities have reached a global settlement of suits seeking recoupment of fines.

American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz., which runs the cameras, would have set up a $4.2 million settlement fund.

Last June, the state Department of Transportation suspended use of 63 of the state’s 85 cameras pending review of their compliance with parameters of the five-year pilot program. The fund would reimbursement motorists who paid $85 fines anytime before Aug. 2, shortly after the suspension was lifted.

But refunds would be only partial. Each claimant would be entitled to an equal share of the fund or $8.50, whichever is greater.

Charles Territo, a spokesman, says "ATS and our customers reject any notion of wrongdoing" but the company is "hoping to avoid costly and potentially lengthy litigation." ATS’s lawyer is Benjamin Caldwell of Burns & Levinson in Providence, R.I.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, Stephen DeNittis and Joseph Osefchen of Shabel & DeNittis in Marlton, did not return a call.

The deal, which U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan needs to approve, would resolve 11 class suits in federal court and five state court cases that are in the process of being removed.

ATS operates cameras in Brick, Deptford, East Brunswick, East Windsor, Glassboro, Gloucester, Jersey City, Lawrence, Linden, Monroe, Palisades Park, Piscataway, Pohatcong, Rahway, Roselle Park, Union, Wayne and Woodbridge.


 

Jersey Boys Win — A federal appeals court has upheld a $155,000 attorney fee award to the producers of the musical Jersey Boys in a copyright infringement case over their use of a seven-second clip from The Ed Sullivan Show.

On March 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the fees were warranted because the plaintiff should have known the clip was fair use, based on its experience in another case over a clip of Elvis Presley.

Jersey Boys dramatizes the story behind the band the Four Seasons. The producers used a 1966 clip of Ed Sullivan introducing them to illustrate the band’s U.S. popularity even in light of the so-called British Invasion of bands, including the Beatles.

Sofa Entertainment Inc., which owns the copyrights to the entire run of The Ed Sullivan Show from 1948 until 1971, sued the Dodgers Theatricals Ltd. and Dodger Productions Inc. for using the clip. A district court judge ruled for the producers.

On appeal, Circuit Judges Stephen Trott observed that the clip is mainly factual and is not a qualitatively significant part of the episode in question, that Sullivan’s charisma is not copyrightable and that the clip didn’t affect the market for the show. "This case is a good example of why the ‘fair use’ doctrine exists," he wrote.

— By Mary Pat Gallagher, Michael Booth, David Gialanella and Sheri Qualters (The National Law Journal)