Pro-Bono Barrister: Vital Public ‘L &T’ Forum Set For Brooklyn Bar, March 26

March 23, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Charles F. Otey

When she was president of the Brooklyn Bar Association a few years back, Diana Szochet initiated a series of public forums that proved popular and effective. Barristers appreciated the opportunity to describe principles of applicable law, and concerned members of the public were invited to attend and enjoy the benefit of their candid, professional insights.

The BBA Public Forum is continuing under President Ethan Gerber, and that’s why another, vital public forum, under the aegis of Foundation Chair Fern Finkel, is scheduled for March 26, 6 to 8 p.m., at BBA Headquarters, 123 Remsen St.

The timely topic title is “Landlord-Tenant Law In New York City.” The published agenda indicates that “All members of the public are invited to attend [the] … informational lecture on building violations and rights of rent-stabilized tenants.”

Reserved seats will be available by contacting BBA Executive Director Avery Eli Okin at [email protected] or by calling (718) 624-0675.

Guaranteeing a full house are a panel of experts who will deliver their “various perspectives on housing law, as follows:

• Jaimie Lathrop,  foreclosure director, Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.

• Jeffrey McCready, court attorney, State Court-Building violations and HP Proceedings in the New York City Civil Court.

Rachel Hannaford, Staff Attorney, South Brooklyn Legal Services – Rights of Rent-stabilized tenants in New York City.   

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Kings Inn Panel To Dispel
‘Marriage Equality Act’ Confusion

Lawyers who regard the recently enacted Marriage Equality Act as a bit confusing — and are also members of the Kings County American Inn of Court — may find the Inn’s next session very helpful.

The title just about says it all: “New York’s Marriage Equality Act (DRL 10-a and 10-b). Everything You Need To Know But Were Afraid to Ask!”

The members-only event — followed by dinner at the Queen — gets underway March 26, 6 p.m. at the BBA headquarters, 123 Remsen St. Team leaders for the evening are Justice Ellen Spodek and Steve Finkelstein, a past president.

The Kings Inn is headed by President Ross D’Apice, one of the state’s top trial lawyers, with a slate consisting of President-Elect Marc Dittenhoefer, Counselor Justice Ellen Spodek, Treasurer David Chidekel, and Secretary Justice Arthur Schack.

Founders of the Inn chapter, (almost 12 years ago) were Justice Marsha Steinhardt, retired Justice Abraham Gerges and Justice Gerard Rosenberg — who currently serves as Immediate past president — and former Justice Edward Rappaport, president emeritus.

Inn Administrator Marie Lattanzi and Executive Director Jeff Feldman remind members that a collegial dinner will be held afterward at the Queen on Court Street — reservations are in order.  

Inn law masters this year include Immediate Past President Rosenberg, Hon. Gloria Cohen Aronin, Jon Besunder, Judge Cyrulnik, Lawrence DiGiovanna, Finkelstein, Steven Goolnick, Kings Administrative Justice for Civil Matters Sylvia Hinds-Radix, Kings Administrative Justice for Criminal Matters Barry Kamins, Federal Judge William Kuntz, Justice Carl Landicino, Mark Longo, Judge Joanne Quinones and Paul Weitz.

* * *

Don’t Drive Rush Limbaugh
Out of the Media!

Should the irresponsibly venomous Rush Limbaugh be driven off of television and radio?


 Why not? Well, I agree, sort of, with HBO television performer Bill Maher, who says it would be wrong to erase Rush Limbaugh because of his disgusting, repulsive and slanderous remarks about Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.

There are many lessons to be learned from the Limbaugh saga. Drug abuse isn’t an excuse, but it is a possible explanation. Clearly it’s very hard recovering after years of addiction to Oxycontin. Whether he’s on some maintenance drug we probably won’t learn. But his erratic behavior — which this time bizarrely included a request to see his victim’s sex acts on video! — certainly hints at violent mood swings associated with Oxycontin and its opiate imitators.

Limbaugh’s “apology” was conditional and inadequate and was clearly issued only to appease some advertisers. Flimsy attempts by other right-wing talking heads, such as Michael Medved, to let Limbaugh off the hook by making the distractive demand that President Obama return the $1 million Maher campaign donation because Maher often uses vile and inappropriate language simply aren’t working.

What Limbaugh really did was to ruthlessly and cruelly defame Ms. Fluke.  There is a slander and libel per se element that arises when a guy like Limbaugh calls a well-behaved law student a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Some say she’s a public figure and may not have a viable claim. We say sue first and litigate the “public figure” issue later.

Then again, she may decide for personal reasons, not to bring a claim against Limbaugh.  Based on our recollection — or at least the way Brooklyn Law Professor Solly Klein saw it — labeling a young woman a “slut” and a “prostitute” under these circumstances should open Limbaugh up to considerable liability.  

Limbaugh also performs a vital function that should make thoughtful Democrats grateful: by being such a scary loudmouth that the Republican presidential candidates fear to criticize him under any conditions, they show weaknesses easily exploited in the media during campaigns.

Ms. Fluke’s situation notwithstanding, Limbaugh’s licentious lip is the gift that just keeps giving to Democrats.

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