Old People

Does anybody really want to see grandma in this?

I have to do something I hate doing. I have to give Gloria Allred some publicity. Sure, I have to mention her only in order to say that I think she’s wrong and using the plight of women to further her own fame. But I still have to mention her, which is what she wants. It’s a great system she’s set up for herself: she wins even when people talk about how ridiculous she is.

But I can’t ignore Allred here because now she is messing with something near and dear to my heart: scantily clad cocktail waitresses in Atlantic City. That’s right, I live on the East Coast. That means I can’t easily get to Las Vegas or New Orleans. That means occasionally I have to go get my gambling fix in A.C. If you’ve never been to Atlantic City, imagine Vegas after the apocalypse: everything is broken and rundown and more desperate-looking. It’s pathetic. And you feel pathetic while you are there (until you start hitting some points and the table gets hot and you find yourself nailing a hard ten and it feels like the whole casino gives you a high five).

One casino was doing something about that depressing ambiance. It was getting rid of all of its old cocktail waitresses. Believe me when I tell you that this is an important move. Imagine sitting in A.C. down a grand at 4 a.m. and starting to think to yourself if there is any Swingers potential and then your watered-down drink comes back only it’s brought to you by a woman old enough to be your grandmother. And so instead of trying to figure out how to have sex with the waitress, you’re sitting there kind of thinking of how your mother would disapprove if she saw you in that moment. It’s enough to make you want to kill yourself.

It’s certainly enough to make you want to stop gambling. And now along comes Gloria Allred, trying to tell people that 50-year-old cocktail waitresses at casinos are still sexy, and can’t be fired….

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Maybe RBG is still very young at heart.

Here’s the question swirling through the blogosphere today: Should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign now — because if she dies under a Republican president, it will be a disaster for every ideal she fights for?

The question was teed up on the WSJ Law Blog this morning after an AP report noted that some liberals were “clamoring” for her resignation (and that of Stephen Breyer, to a lesser extent), just in case Obama loses in 2012.

You can see why liberals are nervous. The Court already has a 5 – 4 conservative majority (if you really think Justice Anthony Kennedy is a “swing” vote, you’re a Republican who likes to pretend to be an independent). Justice Ginsburg has had health problems, and some are not confident that she’ll last until 2016 — and it’s unlikely that either the 78-year-old RBG or the 72-year-old Breyer would make it to 2020, if a two-term Republican president is on the horizon.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Which is why I think my answer is going to surprise people…

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It’s been a while since we have had a good ol’ Flori-duh story. I mean, that Miami kid came up with a ridiculous student bill of rights ages ago. We’re all overdue for some Everglades antics.

We’ll need to do a Florida potpourri here, but together these two stories have everything we’ve come to expect from the Sunshine State. We’ve got randomness, violence, crime, and circumstances that would seem improbable anywhere else.

And the fact that this is happening at arguably the top law school in Florida just makes everything so much better. Pass the Tropicana and strap in, for a look at life down in Gatorville

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On Tuesday, Ropes & Gray was sued in Manhattan federal court by a former partner, Patricia A. Martone. Martone’s lawsuit claims age discrimination, sex discrimination, retaliation, and interference with protected retirement benefits in violation of ERISA (the basis for federal jurisdiction in the S.D.N.Y.).

As you might expect from an ex-Ropes partner, Martone has some high-powered counsel: Anne Vladeck, one of New York’s top labor and employment lawyers, widely regarded as the queen of employment discrimination law. Vladeck famously (and successfully) represented Anucha Browne Sanders in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas and the Knicks.

Patricia Martone is a veteran intellectual-property litigatrix, a specialist in patent litigation, with almost 40 years of practice under her belt. She made partner at Fish & Neave, the well-known patent law firm, in 1983, and then became a Ropes partner in 2005, when Ropes absorbed Fish. She’s now a partner at Morrison & Foerster, which she joined in October 2010.

Why did she leave Ropes? Let’s have a look at Patricia Martone, and her lawsuit….

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Time to put down the gavel and hang up the robe.

We recently covered the Third Circuit’s benchslap of Judge John Fullam, an 89-year-old judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In his opinion in United States v. Higdon, issuing a writ of mandamus and directing that the case mishandled by Judge Fullam be reassigned on remand, Chief Judge Theodore McKee had some harsh words for the aged jurist: “Neither this court, nor any other court, can tolerate a situation where a judge decides to follow his/her own custom and concepts of justice rather than the precedent of the applicable appellate court or the United States Supreme Court. Ours is a nation of laws, not judges.”

At the same time, Chief Judge McKee had some kind words for Judge Fullam, praising him as “a very experienced and hard working jurist [who] has devoted decades of service to the federal bench.” In the comments to our post, some readers interpreted the combination of statements — criticism for Judge Fullam’s mishandling of one case, but compliments for his “decades of service” — as the Third Circuit trying to nudge Judge Fullam into retirement.

Well, it seems to have worked — and it’s apparently the culmination of a long-running effort to get Judge Fullam off the bench….

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Judge Fullam is a very experienced and hard working jurist and he has devoted decades of service to the federal bench. Nothing we have said in this opinion should detract from that. However, neither this court, nor any other court, can tolerate a situation where a judge decides to follow his/her own custom and concepts of justice rather than the precedent of the applicable appellate court or the United States Supreme Court. Ours is a nation of laws, not judges.

– Chief Judge Theodore McKee (3d Cir.), benchslapping the 89-year-old Judge John Fullam (E.D. Pa.) through issuance of a writ of mandamus, in United States v. Higdon.

Ann Althouse

* The town of Sedgwick, Maine, has declared “food sovereignty,” giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,” without regard to state or federal law. Preemption? The Supremacy Clause? Eat it. [Food Renegade]

* Speaking of chaos, Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse wonders: “Who will win and who will lose in the recall madness?” [Althouse]

* Elsewhere in the Midwest, a blogger who didn’t commit defamation is nevertheless held liable under alternative theories that media law professor Jane Kirtley describes as “trash torts.” We no like. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune via Consumerist]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: birthday girl.

* A young couple that has been fined for their noisy kid might take legal action against their homeowners’ association. Do they have a toddler’s leg to stand on? [MyFoxDFW.com]

* Happy Birthday, Justice Ginsburg! You don’t look a day over 78. [Vault]

* We previously mentioned the ATL contest for NCAA picks — click here, join the group “Above the Law Blog” with the password “abovethelaw”, and fill out a bracket — but we also encourage you to join the Dealbreaker contest (which has much nicer prizes). [Dealbreaker]

Ray Carey

You don’t see this everyday. Raymond Carey, a 57-year-old white male partner at Foley & Lardner, is suing the firm, alleging that it paid him less than it would have paid a “female, non-Caucasian, younger partner.”

Sadly, it appears the only evidence Carey has for his claims is that he wasn’t paid as much as he feels he was promised. That’s disappointing. When women, gays, or minorities make discrimination claims, there are usually juicy tidbits about inappropriate jokes and statements made to the alleged victim. But I just read through a 63-page complaint and there wasn’t a single alleged “cracker” joke. Apparently nobody at Foley told Carey he needed to show “more bulge.”

But hey, if the brother’s not getting paid as much as other people in his office, maybe he has a point. And even if you don’t find the complaint particularly salacious, one of Carey’s attached exhibits is the Foley & Lardner partnership agreement….

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Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, is available on Amazon.

My client was sitting at her desk, drafting a complicated, rushed memo. The topic was an obscure derivative. She’d worked all weekend, then come in again early. Her head hurt. It was due at 5 p.m. She could barely focus and was feeling panicked. It was 4 p.m.

The phone rang. Not thinking, she picked up and barked her last name, sharply, like the partner she worked for did.

“Jones.”

It was her ninety-two-year-old grandmother.

“How are you, Sweetheart?”

My client couldn’t stop crying.

“All she did was ask how I was,” she told me. “That’s all it took. I fell apart.”

When you enter the world of Biglaw, you pass through a ritual of initiation – LSAT, law school, bar exam, interviews.

Then you enter the bubble…

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Confucius say: "Sit down and watch my home video of my Carnival cruise or I'll sue you."

Chinese New Year is this week (February 3rd). May the year of the rabbit bring you health and good fortune. Holiday preparations are well underway, and hopefully people will take the time to reconnect with family and friends.

And if you don’t visit your parents, they might sue you. A new proposal from the Chinese Civil Affairs Ministry seeks to mandate parental visits from Chinese children. And if the children don’t regularly visit their parents, the parents can sue.

We shouldn’t look at this as a new law: it’s just a modern update on an ancient law. Old people have long tried to find ways of forcing their kids to pay attention to them. Some societies use laws, others use the magical threat of eternal damnation. Some parents merely trust that their own skills in psychological torture will keep the kiddies hanging around on the off chance that one day mommy or daddy will be “proud” of them.

But as modern medicine artificially extends life, every society is wrestling with the problem of what to do with old people nobody cares about anymore. China has a long history of trying to regulate the most intimate of familial interactions, so when you think about it, this proposal isn’t really shocking…

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