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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.