Expensive bathroom break

July 10, 2009
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A guy gets up to go to the bathroom at the new Yankees Stadium during “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch, is kicked out by the New York Police Department, and makes $10,001 from the incident. His attorneys with the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation made out even better from the incident: they got $12,000 in attorneys fees from the city of New York.

Bradford Campeau-Laurion filed his suit against the Yankees, the city, and NYPD detectives after the April incident, claiming religious and political discrimination. He agreed to the settlement in mid-June. The Yankees argued they don’t have a policy to throw people out if they moved around during “God Bless America.” According to news stories I’ve read, the Yankees allegedly don’t allow people to leave their seats during the playing of the song.

The police officers who threw the fan out said he smelled of alcohol and was disruptive, so that’s why he got the boot.

Let me get this straight: A guy who gets thrown out of a baseball game for going to pee during a song about God and America nets $10,001?

A) He shouldn’t have been thrown out in the first place because people should have the right to go to the bathroom. Unless he was drunk and causing a scene, (which the city and Yankees claimed, but then settled the suit) why should the police get involved? It’s not un-American to get up and move during a song about America. Is it respectful to stand there quietly while it plays? Yes. But based on what I’ve read about this case, his actions don’t justify being kicked out.

B) This issue ends up in litigation and racks up $12,000 in attorneys fees in two months? Wouldn’t it been cheaper for the city to just apologize and give him free tickets? It would have been cheaper if the city just let him be, but hindsight is 20/20.

And finally, C) Why the extra $1 tacked on to the $10,000?
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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