By Charles Otey, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the Kings County American Inn of Court – led by indomitable President Marc Dittenhoefer -- packed the 123 Remsen St. Brooklyn Bar headquarters at their regular CLE-accredited session, some of them curious – no doubt – to get a taste of the evening’s provocative topic: "Wine! Whine! Wine!"
While we were out of town (missing only our third meeting in almost 13 years!) we can assure all that no alcohol was present or imbibed. On that, we have the word of the erudite Dave Chidekel, who graciously sent us his well-phrased report praising panel leaders Justice Arthur Schack, former Justice Edward Rappaport and Executive Assistant. Kings D.A. Jon Besunder as "outstanding".
Without further ado we offer the very inside story, courtesy of Inn Counselor Dave Chidekel:
"They (panel leaders) were joined by members Raphael Berman, Angelique Moreno, Jordan Tucker, the charming Betty Lugo and the shy but hard-working Steve Harkavy. Their subject was dear to one and all: `Wine, Whine and Wine.’
"Judge Schack, using all of his old teaching skills, regaled the group with the history of prohibition in the 20th Century and how it was affected by legislation, political realities and the social norms of the day. Among the scintillating nuggets was that saloons were originally owned by the various breweries. Judge Schack also discussed President Franklin Roosevelt’s fondness for scotch and speculated on whether that fondness influenced the president’s opposition to prohibition.
"Furthermore, Judge Schack revealed the history of the phrase the `Real McCoy,’ which originally referred to a Miami booze runner named McCoy who brought real liquor from Cuba to Florida. Judge Rappaport denied any personal knowledge of Prohibition but added valuable insights to the practices of distributing liquor both retail and wholesale.
"Mr. Berman led a spirited discussion of the evolution of modern wine distribution that now includes the internet and informed the Inn of the limited amounts of wine an individual may purchase via the internet.”
“Providing organization and a fine buffet for members that evening was, as usual, Inn Executive Director Jeff Feldman.”
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Barristers Took a Shot At ‘Dram Shop Act’
"Angelique, Jordan, Steve and Betty discussed the Dram Shop laws and its applicability to social settings from an individual to an association, an important issue to the oenophiles of the inn,” said Chidekel.
"The announcement that Justices (Abraham) Krausman and Rappaport were celebrating birthdays received a warm round of applause,"our correspondent concluded.
Pro Bono is grateful to Counselor Chidekel for pitching in for the Inn’s Town Crier on very short notice. Such a task requires a barrister with an insight into the law and lawyers to tastefully distill the essence--- legally and otherwise---of a "Wine! Whine! Wine!" CLE presentation.
Other Inn officers include President Elect Justice Ellen Spodek and Secretary, the Hon. Miriam Cyrulnik.
Like the Ancient English Inns of Court to which the Kings Chapter pays inspirational homage, it is led by a Board of Masters among them: Hon. Gloria Cohen Aronin, Jon Besunder, Appellate Division Justice Cheryl Chambers (who may become an associate justice of the Court of Appeals), Larry DiGiovanna, Steven Finkelstein, Steve Goolnick, Appellate Division Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, Kings Criminal A.J. Justice Barry Kamins, Federal Judge William Kuntz, Justice Carl Landicino, Victoria Lombardi, Mark Longo, Judge Joanne Quinones and Paul Weitz.
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BBA To Explore Challenge of ‘Nursing Home Neglect’
Lawyers in just about all areas of practice could benefit from the March 18 CLE-accredited session titled "Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Home Neglect.”
BBA CL Director Meredith Symonds advises that those who participate will benefit from diverse presentations from experienced and respected speakers such Supreme Court Justice Jack M. Battaglia, Howard Fensterman, Frank Carone and Andrea Bonina.
"Come learn about nursing home cases all under one roof," the CLE director noted in an advisory. "This program will help attorneys handle cases arising in long-term care facilities that house our most vulnerable loved ones. The Panel will present the ‘ins and outs’ of neglect claims from the judicial, plaintiff and defense perspectives."
The program offers attorneys two credits in the area of Professional Practice. Contact Ms. Symonds or BBA Executive Director Avery Okin to secure reservations for this timely offering.
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Turning the Tables On Subway ‘Twitterati’
Many barristers, especially veterans, are quick to express their resentment of what all agree is the growing assault on privacy in this electronic, Facebook- and Twitter-crazed multi-tasking world. This group (you know who you are) might give a thumbs-up to an encounter which recently took place on a subway train.
Here’s what happened, just the other day: a lawyer riding to court on the R train and reviewing a file, looked up from his reading as a young lady -- a neatly dressed high school student -- zipped onto the train at 59th Street and promptly plopped her legs and shoes on an adjacent seat.
Landing even more loudly across from her came another well-presented young woman. Only one of her feet was on her seat. They bantered briefly, then, as if on cue, began to viciously pound their electronic devices with both of their thumbs.
The lawyer was annoyed by their incessant key pounding but even more concerned about their shoes on the subway seats.
Glancing directly and perhaps a little judgmentally at the first to arrive, he hesitated a moment, hoping his fixed gaze might result in her obeying MTA regulations removing her feet from the seat.
She met his eye and ignored him. Irritated, she assumed a semi-yoga position Her companion cooperated by putting her single, errant foot on the train floor. The pounding resumed with a flurry of thumbs. Then, the lawyer said, quietly of course, "You know, Miss, it's really against the law to put your shoes on that seat."
At this she became more irritated and muttered a warning that he should ‘mind your own f---ing business!" People sitting nearby instantly raised their eyes toward her -- and the lawyer. A scene was starting.
Sensing the young high school student wouldn't follow his polite suggestion – and with no police officer visible in the car -- the lawyer pulled out his cell phone, opened and started to point it.
He said, "I'm going to take a photo of you sitting with your feet on the seat! It might go on the web. Your principal may see it. Would you want that?"
"You'll f--ing what?!?" she exclaimed.
The lawyer pretended to set up the phone’s photo feature, and the poor girl’s expression was one of shock and/or indignation.
Within seconds she bolted from her seat (issuing a parting unprintable farewell) and the pair fled into another car. They both got off the train at 36 Street, a few stations later, and ran up the steps each of them thumbing their devices frantically most likely searching for the photo, which was never taken or sent.
"Well done,” said a middle-aged lady seated nearby, as the train doors shut. Smiles all around even from another thumbing teen across the aisle. The lawyer settled into his file, trying to think something profound to describe what had happened. But the best he could come up with was "Those who live by the cell phone just might be ‘captured’ by the cell phone!" At the same time he wondered whether it might be time to learn how to actually take photos with a cell phone.
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Shorefront Democrats Set March 14 Fete at Sirico’s
Kudos to the Shorefront Democratic Club -- led by Dilia R. Schack and Mark Davidovich -- on selecting a number of outstanding citizens for honors at its March 14 celebration at Sirico’s Caterers on 13th Ave. Joining in the invitation is Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.
One of those being cited – George Kabbez, proprietor of Salty Dog Restaurant on Third Avenue – has earned honors hosting quite a few pre-parade brunches at “Salty” on behalf of the famed Bay Ridge Ragamuffin Parade.
Prof. Edward Re is recalled by veteran barristers as a very popular after-dinner speaker, whose graceful gestures framed elegant and witty deliveries. Very few left any legal or political event where he was scheduled to speak. Fortunately, he became a significant and understandable booster of the Ragamuffin Tradition – after all, he and his wife had 123 children!
The Ragamuffin Parade features a traditional colorful march of Dickensian “urchins” along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. Disturbed by "kids losin’ their way" during the tumultuous sixties, and working with an Our Lady of Angels Father George McKenna, together they organized the first Ragamuffin Parade.
‘Ragamuffin’ blossomed quickly and now involves thousands of kids and even more spectators who usually include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Justice Matt D’Emic, retired Justice Gerard Rosenberg and local elected officials.and will take place next on Oct. 1 along Third Ave. in Bay Ridge.
Leader Dilia Schack, a former president of Ragamuffin, now headed by Colleen Golden, wife of R-C. Sen. Marty Golden – is the wife of Justice Arthur Schack.
Also to be honored that night are Lisa Lafontant, assistant principal of P.S. 329; Howard Schoor, UFT Local 2 Borough Representative; and Edwin Cosme, president of the Coney Island Board of Trade.
For ticket information contact Dilia Schack, Mark Davidovich or Tobias Russo at [email protected].
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PRO BONO BARRISTER is a weekly column dedicated to telling about the good that lawyers do. Send your comments or suggestions to this writer care of this newspaper or to [email protected]. Readers seeking legal representation on a Pro Bono Publico basis should not contact this columnist. Rather, they should seek out the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project at 718 -624-3894.