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Legal Writing for Legal Reading!

Archive for the month “February, 2017”

Yessource: live in Jersey City 6/17/76

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts.  I started this series here and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

Philadelphia Ambulance Company Named in Age Discrimination Suit (featuring Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire!)

A Philadelphia-based ambulance company discriminated against a former emergency medical technician because of her age and gender, according to a newly filed civil complaint.

Carol Alcaro Willoughby, who resides in Bristol, Pa., is suing Rhawnhurst-Bustleton Ambulance Association, which is located in Northeast Philadelphia, over claims that the defendant regularly discriminated against the 61-year-old female because of her age.

Willoughby was employed by the ambulance company from the fall of 1999 until last spring, when, the suit alleges, she was terminated for unlawful reasons.

The suit says that despite the fact that the plaintiff always performed her job duties in an “exemplary manner,” never received any disciplinary write-ups or infractions, and regularly received positive feedback from her supervisors, Willoughby was nevertheless ultimately dismissed from her job and told to go “work at a nursing home.”

According to the complaint, the defendant subjected Willoughby to numerous instances of discrimination based on gender and age throughout the course of her employment.

At the time of her March 2012 termination, the suit says, Willoughby was the only female employee out of about 20 EMTs who worked on ambulances.

The plaintiff, who became a full-time EMT in 2010, was also among the three oldest company employees.

In one incident highlighted in the suit, a fellow EMT in his mid-20s told the plaintiff that emptying the trash was a “woman’s job,” and that women should not be allowed to work on ambulances.

In another example of discriminatory behavior, the same colleague was witnessed ripping apart and throwing out applications for employment sent in by female applicants.

The defendant also regularly mandated the plaintiff and another female EMT clean the male restrooms, the suit states, although male employees were never made to do the same.

The complaint states that Willoughby eventually complained to a supervisor about the discriminatory treatment, but that no corrective action was ever taken.

The plaintiff claims that after complaining about having her hours reduced, a supervisor became “irrationally irate” with her during a conversation and said that because of her age, Willoughby was too old to perform her job and should “accordingly file for unemployment compensation benefits.”

It was at this point that the supervisor, after being told the plaintiff was actually in her 60s and not her 50s, suggested that Willoughby was too old for her job and should find work at a nursing home, the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit says that the male supervisor screamed in such a loud voice during the telephone conversation with the plaintiff that the woman’s husband was able to hear the discriminatory remarks on the other end of the phone.

Willoughby was terminated subsequent to the phone conversation.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The plaintiff seeks front and back pay, damages for emotional distress, compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ and expert witness fees and interest.

Willoughby is being represented by Philadelphia lawyer Faye Riva Cohen.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03413-LDD.

By Jon Campisi and originally published in the Penn Record on June 19, 2013, and can be found here.

 

Court Says Ark Encounter Cannot Be Excluded From Kentucky Tax Incentives

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Ark Encounter, LLC v. Parkinson, (ED KY, Jan. 26, 2016), a Kentucky federal district court, in a 71-page opinion, held that Kentucky improperly excluded a Noah’s Ark complex from participating in tax incentives provided by the state’s Tourism Development Act. The court summarized the facts and its holding as follows:

Rising on what was once farmland near the community of Williamstown, Kentucky, is what purports to be an exact replica of the ark that figures prominently in the Old Testament story of a great flood that covered the earth. The modern-day Noah that is constructing the replica hopes that its almost $100 million investment will produce a successful tourist attraction.  At first, the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet, with the same hope, approved tax incentives for the project. But then, representatives of the Commonwealth, concerned that the project was going to “advance religion,” reversed course; the reason: providing the tax incentives would be contrary to the First Amendment protection from the state establishment of religion.

So, in essence, the question presented here is this: if a tourist attraction, even one that as described here “advances religion,” meets the neutral criteria for tax incentives offered by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, can the Commonwealth still deny the incentive for Establishment Clause reasons? This opinion is long but the answer to that question is short — no.

At the heart of the court’s lengthy opinion was the following:

The Commonwealth has forced  [Ark Encounter] to choose between expressing its religious views on its own property at the theme park and receiving the tax rebate under the KTDA. Although Defendants are correct that “the mere non-funding of private secular and religious . . . programs does not burden a person’s religion or the free exercise thereof,” …, in this case the Commonwealth is funding the private secular programs while discriminating against the religious one because of its religiosity, which is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

AP reports on the decision. [Thanks to Tom Rutledge for the lead.]

UPDATE: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s office said on Jan. 27 that it will not appeal the court’s decision. (Cincinnati Enquirer).

You can learn more about this issue here.

The United Shapes of America: Deja Vu

Nathan Rudolph, my friend and fellow parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, has started a comic strip which I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated.  With his permission, I will repost them here after he posts them.  I think my readers will appreciate them as much as I do as they are rather insightful with a snarky edge.  Enjoy!

Here are the links to the previously posted strips:

Here is the latest strip:

https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/16806688_1099614293478517_826117360783934504_n.jpg?oh=8962a310d987ecc4ce3c1b564446423c&oe=593737D9

Steps to self-publishing, Part 4: Marketing

Here is the latest post by Angela and Daz Croucher to their blog A.D. Croucher! They are up-and-coming young adult authors. Check them out!

A.D. Croucher

Still feels good, doesn’t it? Checking Amazon or Barnes & Noble to look at your book listing. Realizing all over again that you wrote a book, damn it! You wrote it, and you did the work necessary to get it out there to the world.

You’re all kinds of awesome, you know that?

dean-awesome

But, and there is a but, what you’re going to find is that listing your book on Amazon isn’t nearly enough. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people have books listed on Amazon. You need to stand out from the crowd. You need to get noticed. You need people to care.

There are many ways to shine a light on your work. One way is a good social media presence. Social media is simultaneously one of the best, and worst ways to try to market your work. It’s very, very bad, for example, to keep tweeting about…

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Yessource: live in Jackson 6/5/76

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts.  I started this series here and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

Ministerial Exception Applies To Hospital Chaplain’s Discrimination Lawsuit

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“In Penn v. New York Methodist Hospital, (SD NY, Jan. 20, 2016), a New York federal district court invoked the ministerial exception doctrine to dismiss a discrimination suit brought by an African-American Methodist pastor employed as a part-time chaplain by a Methodist hospital.  Plaintiff claimed that he was not promoted to a vacant full-time position because of his race and religion. The court held that the hospital is a “religious institution” for purposes of the ministerial exception doctrine even though it had severed its formal ties with the United Methodist Church:

Severing a formal affiliation with the Church does not necessarily imply that the Hospital does not maintain any church-based relationship or have any religious characteristics.

It went on to find:

insofar as Plaintiff is a Methodist and was responsible—at least in part—for preaching the Christian faith, the relationship between Plaintiff and NYMH (specifically, the pastoral care department) was that of a religious employee and a religious institution. This case does not present the Court, nor will the Court venture out to decide, whether this holding would apply to a religious institution’s employment of a minister, pastor, or chaplain of a different faith.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

California’s State Religion

Every now and again I come across a fantastic article the warrants posting here; I recently came across one in The Orange County Register which, I thought, was pretty insightful.  Be edified.

____________

In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.

Two pieces of legislation introduced in the Legislature last session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion. One is Senate Bill 1146, which seeks to limit the historically broad exemptions the state and federal governments have provided religious schools to, well, be religious.

Under the rubric of official “tolerance,” the bill would only allow religiously focused schools to deviate from the secular orthodoxy required at nonreligious schools, including support for transgender bathrooms or limitations on expressions of faith by students and even Christian university presidents, in a much narrower range of educational activity than ever before. Many schools believe the bill would needlessly risk their mission and funding to “solve” gender and social equity problems on their campuses that currently don’t exist.

The second piece of legislation, thankfully temporarily tabled, Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have dramatically extended the period of time that state officials could prosecute anyone who dared challenge the climate orthodoxy, including statements made decades ago. It would have sought “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on those risks.”

Although advocates tended to focus on the hated energy companies, the law could conceivably also extend to skeptics who may either reject the prevailing notions of man-made climate change, or might believe that policies concocted to “arrest” the phenomena may be themselves less than cost-effective or even not effective at all. So, fellow Californians, sign onto Gov. Torquemada’s program or face possible prosecution and the fires of hell.

The new intolerance

Although they target widely different issues, these pieces of legislation reflect a highly authoritarian and illiberal brand of progressivism evolving into something of a state religion. On one hand, California cannot tolerate the autonomy of religious institutions if they refuse to embrace the secularist ideology that dominates the state. Even religious clubs on California State University campuses can no longer restrict their leadership to those who actually are believers.

Similarly, the emerging attack on anyone questioning climate change orthodoxy represents another kind of religion, one that gives officially sanctioned science something close to papal infallibility. Despite the fact that there remain widely divergent views on both the severity of climate change and how best to address it, one has to adhere to the accepted “science” – or else.

Perhaps most shocking of all, this new spirit of progressive intolerance is affecting other institutions, notably academia and the media. Long incubators for free thinking, the academy, as liberal legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz note, now routinely violates due process.

The University of California even has promoted the idea of “freedom from intolerance” in order to protect students from any speech that may offend them as discriminatory. In the context of today’s campus, this means that not only the lunacy of Donald Trump but even conventional conservatism must be curtailed as intrinsically discriminatory and evil. Yet, at the same time, proudly violent groups like the Black Panthers are openly celebrated.

This cult of political correctness has reached such ludicrous levels that the University of California considers it a “microagression” to assert “America is a land of opportunity,” or to dare to criticize race-based affirmative action. Perhaps more dangerous, such attitudes are incubated in our law schools, which increasingly embrace the notion that the law should be employed specifically to promote certain ideals – whether environmental, race-related or gender-related – embraced by overwhelmingly progressive institutions, irrespective of constitutional limits.

The media, to their shame, increasingly embrace these notions, for example, by refusing to print letters from climate change skeptics, as has occurred on outlets such as Reddit and the Los Angeles Times. Increasingly, mainstream newspaper accounts do not even bother considering skeptical views, including those held by dissenting scientists or questioning economists. What we used to associate only with Soviet-era papers like Pravda increasingly pervades much of the mainstream media.

In such an environment, it’s not surprising that legislators and elected state officials feel free to target churches, conservative think tanks or energy companies such as Exxon with criminal sanctions and penalties. That such approaches are disguised either as being “scientific” or reflective of “social justice” makes them no less heinous, and fundamentally illiberal, in terms of traditional American values of tolerance and respect for dissenting opinions.

Forgetting Madison, embracing groupthink

For the record, I am neither a Christian, nor do I deny that climate change could pose a potential serious long-term threat to humanity. What worries me most is the idea that one must embrace official orthodoxy about how to combat this phenomenon, or question its priority over so many other pressing concerns, such as alleviating poverty, both here and abroad, protecting the oceans or a host of other issues. Similarly, I have always disagreed with holy rollers like Sen. Ted Cruz, who would seek to limit, for example, abortion or the rights of gay people to marry, or would allow school prayer.

But the new progressive intolerance now represents, in many ways, as great, if not more pervasive, a threat to the republic than that posed by either religious fundamentalists or even the most fervent climate change denier. It violates the Madisonian principle that assumed that religious and moral ideas “must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” To revoke that principle is to reduce the United States to just another authoritarian state, even if the official ideology is couched in scientific research or estimable embrace of racial or gender differences.

It is no surprise, then, that today many Christians – as much as two-thirds, according to one recent survey – feel that they are being persecuted. Indeed, if they dissent from orthodox views, they now can find themselves the subjects of official opprobrium, as seen in the case of Chick-fil-A in New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged his constituents, somewhat unsuccessfully, to boycott the popular restaurant. In some cases, you can lose your job by taking the wrong position, as was the case for Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla. The attempt to impose orthodoxy on religious schools, as in SB1146, seems the logical extension of such thinking.

The jihad against anyone who dissents on climate issues also impacts those who are not religious. Couched in the oft-repeated hysterical language that has come to dominate green politics, anyone who dissents on the orthodoxy – whether a moderate Democrat, an energy company or the stray scientific skeptic – faces the possibility of official persecution.

Already, 16 Democratic state attorneys general are actively seeking such action against companies and individuals, which should offend anyone who believes in the ideals of free speech and diversity of opinion. That our own governor and Legislature embrace such repressive views is anathema to the very idea of California, where the “free speech” movement originated and fostering unorthodoxy has been something of a tradition. Slowly, our very essence – born of debate and dissent and the presence of so many ethnicities and world views – is being stamped out in an attempt to enforce orthodoxy. This process, as in so many areas, has been exacerbated by our transition into a one-party state where, increasingly, only the most orthodox views on all issues can be tolerated.

Ultimately, we as Americans – and Californians – will pay a price for this. History is replete with stories of decline brought on by enforced official orthodoxy, from Byzantium to China’s Qing dynasty, the Spain of the Inquisition, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the current religious autocracies of the contemporary Middle East. As we seek to limit options and ways of thought about everything from marriage and bathrooms to how the planet operates, we don’t just persecute dissenters. We also undermine our ability to innovate, adapt and evolve as a society.

By: Joel Kotkin is a R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism in Houston. His newest book is “The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us.”

You can find the article here.

Yessource: live in Memphis 6/4/76

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts.  I started this series here and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

Women Alleges Insurance Company Wrongfully Denied Disability Payments (featuring Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire!)

PENNSYLVANIA — An employee is suing Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., an insurance firm, citing alleged breach of contract.

 Nanita Barchi filed a complaint on Nov. 17, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co. alleging that the insurance firm denied plaintiff’s claim for disability benefits.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that she became disabled but was denied her disability benefits. The plaintiff holds Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co. responsible because the defendant allegedly failed and refused to provide promised benefits to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff seeks awarding of interest to the plaintiff on the amount of the claim, reinstatement of the promised disability benefits, injunction against the defendant, monetary judgment plus interest, court costs and any further relief this court grants. She is represented by Faye Riva of Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:16-cv-06045-MSG

By Louie Torres and originally published in the Penn Record on November 25, 2016, and can be found here.

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