Play Ball! Judge Saves Mother’s Day Tote Bags

By February 5, 2007Briefly Legal, Labor Unions

Back in May 2005, the Los Angeles Angels sponsored a Mother’s Day promotion, “Family Sunday,” in which free red nylon tote bags were given to women 18 and over. Michael Cohn, a local psychologist, filed a sex and age discrimination case, seeking a class action suit on behalf of all the men and children denied their carry-on. (Psychologist, eh? He couldn’t talk out his trauma?)

We took notice of the case after the minor-league baseball team, the Altoona Curve, highlighted it with a satirical “Salute to Frivolous Lawsuit Night.” Men received pink tote bags, women lukewarm coffee (safe to spill!), and kids beach balls with warnings not to ingest them.

Last week Orange County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Cannon dismissed the suit, calling the give-away reasonable under the circumstances. Judge Cannon also slapped Cohn’s attorney, Alfred Rava, with sanctions for falsely claiming he had held no previous legal relationship with Cohn. No surprise, but Rava has filed numerous discrimination suits in the past. (San Diego Union story here. post here.)

Suppose we should look on the bright side, and certainly the judge is to be congratulated. Still, the damage has been done. Cohn’s complaints had already earned him four free tote bags, as the Angels sought to appease him, and the Angels changed their promotion policy last year to make the give-away gender neutral (the first 25,000 fans received the bags). Unnecessary costs were accrued, corporate behavior changed and societal norms abused because of one litigious person and his lawsuit-happy attorney.

On those sanctions, judge? Swing for the stands.

P.S. We spotted the news in an “Impromptus” notebook column by the National Review’s Jay Nordlinger, a smart guy on so many fronts, including political rhetoric:

Here is what Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, had to say about the minimum wage and the Senate: “As they play their political games, low-income workers continue to wait for their first raise in a decade.”

Really, there is a man or woman who hasn’t had a raise in a decade? Really? Is the country so dumb that union and other leaders can get away with rhetoric like that?

That itself is a dumb question!

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