At the end of August, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in Elane Photography v. Willock that a Christian wedding photographer violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) when it refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. (New Mexico does not currently permit same-sex marriage, though all the parties and the court frequently refer to the ceremony as a wedding.) This week, one of the parties in a similar controversy in Oregon, Sweet Cakes Bakery, announced that it would be closing shop, citing its opposition to baking wedding cakes for same-sex couples.
Elane Photography argued that it did not violate the NMHRA but, if it did, this application of the law violated the photography business’s Free Speech and Free Exercise rights under the First Amendment. The court disagreed, writing that “when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”
Personally, I’d vote for same-sex marriage if I lived in a state considering such laws. Polygamy too, for that matter. If you are listening for a full-throated defense of traditional, heterosexual marriage to the exclusion of state recognition of any other arrangement, you won’t hear it here. I’m inclined to support religious understandings of traditional marriage, but I’m libertarian enough to let everyone — straight, gay, or otherwise — suffer through the headaches of having the government divide your assets when you get divorced.
Still, using anti-discrimination laws to mandate that all businesses operating as public accommodations provide services to same-sex couples’ weddings sounds like an unnecessary imposition on the sincere religious beliefs of others — and a great way to end up with lousy wedding photos….
It’s been quite some time since we last wrote in great detail about wedding litigation; in fact, it’s been almost a year. Could that possibly mean that the bridezillas of the world have been happy with how their magical days have turned out? Maybe everybody is happy now that Elie is marrying people. Eh, doubtful. Besides, they’ve probably still got plenty of time before the applicable statute of limitations runs out.
But when a bridal litigant thinks that someone’s actually ruined their wedding day, you can be damn sure that she’s going to sue, and quickly, especially when the thing at the heart of the potential lawsuit is the wedding gown itself. Pretty much every bride looks at the wedding gown — and how beautiful they look in it — as the thing that people will remember most about their big day (but no matter how fabulous the dress, if the food sucks, you’re probably going to be screwed as to what your guests will take away from the overall experience, sorry about that).
Anyway, the plaintiff-bride in this wedding lawsuit was pissed off, and rightfully so, because thanks to the faulty alterations on the gown, she couldn’t even use the bathroom on the day she got married….
* Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest firm of them all? According to the 2012 Acritas Brand Index survey, the current leader of the Global 100 is the most powerful Biglaw brand for the fifth year in a row. [American Lawyer]
* But that might not last for long, considering the dilemma Baker & McKenzie is facing when it comes to joining the Shanghai Bar Association in China. The firm is one of the first to indicate that it’ll take the plunge. [Wall Street Journal]
* Thanks to the Second Circuit, Rajat Gupta will be a free man on bail pending the appeal of his insider trading conviction. We wonder what Benula Bensam would have to say about this new twist. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Jason Smiekel, the lawyer who pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire plot involving a former client, was sentenced to eight and a half years in federal prison. The things men will do for HHHBs. [Chicago Tribune]
* Student loan payments: coming to a paycheck deduction near you! Congress is considering an overhaul of the country’s student debt collection practices, and Rep. Tom Petri has some interesting ideas. [Bloomberg]
* The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is the latest school to hop aboard the solo practice incubator train, but graduates will have to rent their office space from the school. Nice. /sarcasm [National Law Journal]
* “We didn’t file this complaint lightly.” Sorry, Judge Norman, but as it turns out, you can’t just sentence a teenager to attend church for 10 years as a condition of parole without pissing off the ACLU. [Tulsa World]
* When your alterations cost more than your wedding gown, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll have some problems — ones worth suing over, if you’re a true bridezilla (like moi). [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Apparently the Roberts Court is unusual in that its elite members lacked opportunities to gain “the most critical judicial virtue: practical wisdom.” Yeah, right. Tell that one to the Wise Latina. [Washington Post]
Remember Todd Remis? How couldn’t you? He’s the disgruntled groom with a Biglaw daddy whose ridiculous lawsuit against his wedding photographer made national news when it hit the New York Times. Why so ridiculous? Because he decided to sue six years after the wedding and one year prior to his divorce being finalized (and he continued to prosecute the suit even after the divorce).
At first glance, Remis’s suit seemed like a simple contract dispute. But thanks to Above the Law, he acquired the title of “groomzilla,” due to deposition testimony where he stated:
“I need to have the wedding recreated exactly as it was so that the remaining 15 percent of the wedding that was not shot can be shot.”
Many publications took our “groomzilla” title and ran with it, leaving Remis as the butt of many jokes. But now, more than two months after the story first broke, Remis has emerged from hiding to combat the New York Times version of his lawsuit. Remis wants to tell his side of the story, and he’s got a website to prove it….
Ever since his heavy-handed lawsuit against his wedding photographer made national news, litigious groomzilla Todd J. Remis has been the butt of many jokes. And he’s also been the subject of much speculation, to wit: What the heck was he thinking?
The lawsuit seems inane and insane (especially when you consider that Remis and his wife are no longer married). But there must be an explanation, right? Todd Remis — a graduate of Bowdoin College, and a former research analyst at several Wall Street firms — is clearly an intelligent man. And his father, Shepard M. Remis, is a litigation partner at Goodwin Procter. So it’s not as if the aggrieved groom lacked access to wise counsel.
A college friend of Todd Remis tries to shed some light on the situation….
* Same-sex couples in New Jersey will get the chance to challenge the state’s civil union law. Here’s hoping that my home state gets with the program and allows gay marriage like our New York neighbors. [Star-Ledger]
* “Lawsuit-crazed groomzilla” Todd Remis isn’t happy with the media’s coverage of his wedding woes. We’re “turning this into a circus,” he says. Uh, you did that yourself, buddy. [Huffington Post]
Since we first started covering ridiculous wedding-related lawsuits, we’ve found that the vast majority of the plaintiffs have been women — bridezillas, if you will. But we must warn you, readers, that there is another kind of ‘zilla lurking out there.
This elusive creature is known to hide beneath layers of chiffon and tulle, and will emerge only if angered terribly by wedding vendors. By that time, it is too late to escape, and the unknowing victim will face the wrath of the mythical beast known as the groomzilla.
Today, we have terrifying news of a groomzilla sighting in Manhattan. Why so frightening, you ask? Because this groomzilla is armed with the ultimate weapon: his father is a Biglaw partner.
Which firm is championing this groomzilla’s absurd requests?
Old people are so cute. From the way they don’t understand how to use modern technology, to the way they cringe at the music of our times, it just makes you want to squeeze their wrinkly, little cheeks.
And old people in love? Well, that’s even cuter. So when we heard about a British couple in their mid-70s who had finally decided to tie the knot, it was a total cuteness overload. But all of the cuteness screeched to a halt when we found out that the loving couple’s special day had been ruined by allegedly over-amplified versions of ABBA songs.
This bride had no desire to be a “Dancing Queen,” and it wasn’t because she might’ve had to use a walker….
Your wedding day is supposed to be a special occasion filled with joy and happiness. And for that reason, brides across the country are willing to pay top dollar for the best photographer money can buy, to document the entire experience.
From a bride’s pre-wedding hair and makeup session to her walk down the aisle, someone with a camera will be by her side snapping pictures all the way. And I do mean all the way.
Did you ever think that a picture of you in your skivvies would make its way into your wedding album? This lawyerly bride sure didn’t.
She was blushing alright, but with embarrassment….
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.