NYCLU Reports Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Western NY to provide Spousal Benefits to Married Same Sex Couples

Facing NYCLU Lawsuit, Insurance Company Agrees to Provide Spousal Benefits to Married Same-Sex Couples | NYCLU

From NYCLU Press Release:

Less than three weeks after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York for denying spousal health care benefits to a validly married lesbian couple, the health insurance company has announced it will begin covering married same-sex couples.

“We applaud Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Western New York for following the law and treating all married couples the same,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. “Families who were denied coverage up until this point will now be able to protect themselves with health care coverage.”

The lawsuit, filed on July 9 in Erie County Supreme Court, followed the NYCLU’s landmark legal victory in Martinez v. County of Monroe, in which an appeals court unanimously ruled that New York State must recognize the valid out-of-state marriages of lesbian and gay couples.

Hat Tip to Jurist’s PaperChase

Do You Suffer From ‘Preparing to Live Syndrome’? Career Center – Do You Suffer From ‘Preparing to Live Syndrome’?

James Dolan has written a short, thoughtful piece in the Texas Lawyer:

…”I am sure the reader knows individuals who are caught in this bind, or perhaps the reader knows she is in this bind. It is a common condition, causing great amounts of suffering, depression, anxiety and medication. I call it Preparing to Live Syndrome (PtLS)…The sufferer sees life as an endless chain of meaningless, two-dimensional experiences that lack passion, value or meaning but that he must tolerate, because those experiences lead to some future point when all will come together, and life will again take on sparkle and value. In the meantime, there is nothing the sufferer can do, and the solution always lies out of reach, in the future.”

Read Entire Article here

CA Bar Journal: Embarrassed lawyers fall victim to Internet scams

California Bar Journal

By Diane Curtis
Staff Writer

Internet scammers have found a new and sometimes vulnerable target: American lawyers. And some take the bait. “I didn’t have my radar high enough to see what was going on,” says one chagrined Long Beach lawyer who entered into an agreement with a bogus client and went so far as to send $193,000 from his client trust account to a Hong Kong bank because he believed a cashier’s check he had received from a well-known financial institution was good.


Read entire article here.


This piece makes clear an important point; i.e., when bank employee on the other end of the phone say the funds are “available”, that is not the same as saying the funds are “cleared”.

We’re Back…..

You may not have noticed we were gone; but I did.  Nearly died when I clicked on this morning and found “This blog is inactive”.  My dashboard said I was in violation of the Terms of Service.  Darned if I could figure out what was wrong; but after 4 emails…I checked into the support forum for and posted my fate.

I got a few helpful suggestions and then, mirabile dictu, we were reinstated:


“Hi Leonard,

Sorry about that. You happened to share some links in common with a persistent spammers and were caught by mistake. I have re-enabled your blog and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Kind regards,

eTrack-Webcivil Supreme & Local

eTrack is a free case tracking service offered by the New York State Unified Court  System which enables you to receive email Case Updates and Appearance Reminders for Civil Supreme and Local Civil Court cases. It is part of Webcivil Supreme, which contains information on cases (both Active and Disposed) from all 62 counties in New York State and WebCivil Local, which contains similar information from the New York City Civil Courts.

Other courts may be available at the main eCourts site.

Knol from Google

Knol: a unit of knowledge

knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic.
From Google: “A few months ago we announced that we were testing a new product called Knol. Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Today, we’re making Knol available to everyone.

The web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the web. An enormous amount of information resides in people’s heads: millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge. Knol will encourage these people to contribute their knowledge online and make it accessible to everyone.

The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. It’s their knol, their voice, their opinion. We expect that there will be multiple knols on the same subject, and we think that is good.”

Hat tip to – N.Y. Court Establishes First Statewide Guidelines for Mediators, Neutral Evaluators

Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal
July 24, 2008

New York has established for the first time statewide guidelines for the qualifications and training of mediators and neutral evaluators who are called into cases by judges seeking to encourage out-of-court settlements.

Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau issued the new rules earlier this month with the approval of the Administrative Board of the Courts, which is comprised of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and the presiding justices of the four Appellate Division departments.

The guidelines require that mediators who want to make the rosters from which judges make assignments must have at least 24 hours of training in basic mediation skills and at least 16 hours of additional training in specific mediation techniques in the types of cases referred to them.

The rules also limit those wanting to be assigned as neutral evaluators to those who have practiced law or served as judges for at least five years with “substantial experience” in the kinds of cases referred to them.


Read entire article here.

Criminal Justice Resources: Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

Criminal Justice Resources: Sex Offender Residency Restrictions |

By Ken Strutin, Published on July 20, 2008 at, Law and technology resources for legal professionals (our old friends–law librarians).

There are laws in more than 20 states and hundreds of communities limiting or proscribing where convicted sex offenders may live and work. See Lawsuits Test Crackdown On Sex Criminals,, April 18, 2008; Sex-Offender Residency Laws Get Second Look, USA Today, Feb. 26, 2007. These residency zones or exclusions are frequently imposed in conditions of probation and parole or as a facet of registration laws. They raise constitutional issues in addition to the practical problems created by shutting off access to family members, affordable housing, employment, therapeutic treatment and public services.

This article collects recent court decisions, research papers and reports that have addressed the efficacy of exclusionary zoning laws and the impact of these restrictions on sex offenders reentering their communities. For additional resources on Megan’s Law and the Adam Walsh Act, see generally Ken Strutin, Sex Offender Laws, LLRX, Sept. 28, 2007; and Sex Offender Resources (NACDL).