California Supreme Court: Ladies’ Nights are Lawyers’ Nights

by David Nieporent on June 7, 2007

Last week, the California Supreme Court handed down yet another victory for abusive “antidiscrimination” litigation, ruling in favor of a California attorney who makes a business out of suing legitimate businesses for violations of California’s absurdly broad Unruh antidiscrimination law. Marc Angelucci and three of his fellow travelers sued the Century Supper Club, a nightclub, for charging women less than men on several occasions in 2002; although two lower courts found reasons to rule against them, the California Supreme Court ruled that their claims had merit. (Court decision: PDF)

Unfortunately, as a matter of law the Court is right. The Unruh law is written ridiculously, and it has no exception for bogus plaintiffs. (What’s the big deal? Just this: Unruh provides for a minimum of $4,000 damages, plus attorney’s fees, for successful plaintiffs, thus providing an incentive for Angelucci to turn an anti-Ladies’ Night crusade into a career. Even the California court recognized that its interpretation of the law improperly rewarded “professional plaintiffs and bounty-hunting attorneys,” but it (correctly) held that rewriting laws is for the legislature, not the courts.

Oh, and one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case? Our old friend, Morse Mehrban. (Most recently covered: Apr. 17, and see links therein.) Mehrban and Angelucci have teamed up on these cases many times before.

{ 5 comments }

1 Mahlon 06.07.07 at 9:29 am

I’m glad the Court enforced the law. Only in this manner, can the people of California be led to understand the poor job their legislators are doing. Now, if we can just get other Courts to follow the example.

2 Deoxy 06.07.07 at 11:22 am

“it (correctly) held that rewriting laws is for the legislature, not the courts.”

That’s BS. I mean, it is absolutely true, but they don’t BELIEVE it – they want a certain outcome, and if that means reqriting legislation, fine… if it means following BAD legislation, they use this as an excuse.

And that’s all it is to them.

3 Ted 06.07.07 at 5:11 pm

See especially Overlawyered August 4, 2003.

4 Marc Angelucci 06.08.07 at 4:34 pm

Hello. I’m Marc Angelucci, the lead plaintiff in this case. I’d like to say a few words.

First, the laughable, reactive post above conveniently omits our men’s rights activism and affiliation with the L.A. chapter of National Coalition Free Men. We fight much bigger battles than just anti-male sex-based pricing. For example, we are currently challenging the constitutional validity of laws that exclude male domestic violence victims from state funding and that exclude inmate dads from parenting programs for inmate parents with children under 6 years old; we transport male domestic violence victims to a far-away battered men’s shelter in emergencies, and provide referrals and moral support for these and other men in crisis; we sue state-funded domestic violence programs that refuse to provide services to male victims; we help paternity fraud victims get relief and change legislation to help them; we fight anti-father bias in family courts and laws; we report biased judges to the commission on judicial performance; we hold rallies and protests; we do media work; we set up tables at events; we are public speakers at colleges, homeless project, the military, veterans groups, and other places; we work with experts to coordinate speaking engagements; we correpondend with men and fathers in jails; we donate to homeless programs, battered men’s programs, men’s health programs and other groups whose activities we support; we challenge false statistics in the media on numerous gender issues such as the “pay gap” and domestic violence figures; we inform educators about these issues and help them balance out their materials on gender; etc. etc. Overall, we raise awareness about and combat sexism against men in all of its forms, including – oh yes, sex-based pricing such as Ladies’ Nights at bars, ladies’ discounts at car washes, exclusion of men from all or parts of hotels and sporting events, discounts only for women at auto garages, etc. To us, this is just another form of sexism against men that feeds into the larger forms such as fathers’ custody, paternity fraud, etc. by spreading sexist stereotypes about men, like that they earn more (which ignores numerous non-discriminatory factors), etc. We believe the Unruh Act should apply equally or not at all. So if it’s illegal, say, for dry cleaners and salons to charge higher prices for women, it should be illegal for night clubs, hotels, etc. to do the same to men or to exclude men from services, which a growing number of them are doing.

Second, the Century Supper Club had been sued before our lawsuit, by non NCFM members. So they knew this was illegal. But they just kept allowing it to happen at their facility. In such a case, multiple visits and plaintiffs are necessary in order to put an end to it, there and industry-wide. Even after our lawsuit came, they still kept allowing it to happen, and the Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing had to send them a warning letter. So I’m very pleased to have sued and that we finally won, and really don’t care much about what the “they’re-greedy-professional-plaintiffs” reactionaries think. We’ll keep going.

Third, I will speak up when inaccurate facts are stated, such as that I make a living off this. What a joke. I do construction law for a law firm and have not sued any of these discriminators for years. Also, when I was suing them years ago, sometimes I found places that had a ladies’ night on one night and a men’s night on another (e.g., Dimples in Burbank). This still violates the Unruh Act. But I chose not to sue, simply because they were providing both. If I were only after money, I’d have sued (I’m *not* saying those who would sue in such a case are only after money, because some men’s rights activists would have and I respect their choice, I’m only saying that if I were only after money, I would have sued). I also was very generous with settlement offers as long as they agreed to stop. That’s why only about 1% of these cases go to trial, because most are eventually willing to stop. But not the Century Club. They just kept going. So we took this all the way to the CA Supreme Court, and WON.

Fourth, this is a victory against judicial activism and against all forms of anti-male sexism, small or large. I’ll celebrate even harder knowing that ignorant reactionaries here at “Overlawyered” are angry about it, and I’ll never, ever stop fighting. In fact I might start suing these places again if I can find the time. As an overlawyered lawyer, that may be hard to do though.

Finally, I cordially invite the “Overlawyered” folks to visit our website at http://www.ncfmla.org

You can email me through the contact page of the website if you want to discuss or debate this issue more. I may not see your post otherwise. Farewell, good folks at Overlawywered.

Marc E. Angelucci

5 MF 06.13.07 at 3:25 pm

1) The fact that some of your organization’s goals are admirable does not mean that all of them are. This one fails to meet the smell test.

2) The Unruh Act is horrible legislation, plain and simple. Some of the intent is worthy, but its actual text is worthy of lining a bird cage.

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