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February 2024
Welcome to readers of Making the Connection!  
In this issue, you will find: 
  • In Focus: Subject Matter Expertise in Duplicate Bridge Arbitration
  • Question of the Month, answering a question posed by potential clients
  • Case on Point, discussing the latest page in the Hailey Paige legal saga
  • At the Podium, listing my speaking engagements and public appearances
  • Client Corner, spotlighting client events and announcements
In Focus
Subject Matter Expertise in Duplicate Bridge Arbitration
Over the years, the American Contract Bridge League and other organizations sponsoring duplicate bridge events have implemented measures to deter, detect and punish cheating by participants.  When most bridge events were in person, these measures included:
  • computer-generated hands rather than manually shuffled and dealt hands to assure randomness;
  • having players use bidding cards to convey their bids silently, eliminating the opportunity to convey unauthorized information through tone of voice or other vocal signals; and,
  • in higher level tournaments, the use of physical screens between players to prevent the illegal use of hand or body language signals.
The ACBL also incorporated an arbitration clause in its membership agreement to ensure that disputes could be resolved expeditiously and confidentially under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association.
The covid pandemic sparked the widespread adoption of online duplicate bridge.  Even now, many bridge players play only or primarily online.  Online bridge presented enhanced opportunities for bridge partners to cheat by disclosing unauthorized information about their hands or strategy through simultaneous cell phone or other communications.  The opponents of players who are cheating may have suspicions based on the making of unusual but advantageous bids or plays. They can report these suspicions to the tournament director or to the ACBL directly. 
However, since such prohibited communications take place out of the sight and hearing of opponents, cheating is more difficult to detect.  Two innovations have improved the ACBL's ability to accurately adjudicating cheating allegations:
  • the use of sophisticated software to analyze the accused parties' bidding and play; and
  • the establishment of the Institute for Bridge Arbitration to adjudicate such cases.
The IBA recruits and trains experienced bridge players to serve as volunteer arbitrators. Because of their extensive knowledge of bidding and playing conventions and strategies, they are better able to evaluate whether the evidence presented shows that cheating took place. 
Question of the Month
This month's Question of the Month is frequently asked prospective clients.
Q:Can I sue my boss or co-worker for their rude, unfair, or otherwise toxic behavior?

A: Generally speaking, it is not illegal to be a bad manager or uncooperative colleague. There are no laws prohibiting bad-mouthing or gossiping that does not rise to the level of defamation. Discrimination or harassment is not illegal unless it is based on gender, race, religion or another prohibited basis, such as whistleblower or domestic violence victim status, or rises to the level of criminal activity such as stalking or threats. While it is possible to improve the culture at a workplace through mediation, training, coaching or other intervention, the prospects for success depends on leadership's buy-in and support. It is usually easier to change one's place of employment than to change the culture at the current workplace.
Case On Point
JLM Couture, Inc. v. Gutman
(2d Cir. Ct. of App. 2023)

Hailey Paige Gutman, known professionally as Hailey Paige, is a talented designer of wedding gowns  that were featured on Say Yes to the Dress.  In this latest page from the saga of her litigation with JLM Courture, Inc., her former employer, the Court of Appeals considered Gutman's appeal from the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction in the employer's favor.   

While employed by JLM. Gutman created social media accounts on her own initiative, using her own name, email address and cell phone number .  She did use the accounts to publicize the designs she created by JLM. The Court of Appeals found that the district court erred in concluding that the employer had superior rights in the social media accounts without determining first who owned them.  Based on traditional property law rules, Gutman owned them. The Court remanded this issue to the district court to determine whether the employment agreement effected a transfer of ownership to JLM.

The Court of Appeals also determined that the district court erred in ruling that JLM was likely to prevail on its claim for breach of the restrictive covenant, without first determining whether the covenant was enforceable under New York law.
On remand, the district court should consider:
  •  whether Paragraph 10(e)’s five-year term is reasonable in duration;
  •  whether JLM has made a sufficient showing that it has a legitimate interest warranting enforcement of a restrictive covenant; and
  • whether its interpretation of the prohibition in Paragraph 10(e) is reasonable in scope and not overly burdensome on Gutman.

At the Podium
This is a listing of speaking engagements, workshops, events and other public appearances.  To book me as a speaker or facilitator at your next company, client or association function, contact me at    
  • At the February 8, 2024 Midday with Moxxie luncheon at Limani Tavern in Woodbury, I will speak on Cross-Cultural Communications. Click here for registration. 
  • On April 1, 2024, I will be a visiting lecturer at class on Business Law at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Client Corner
Client Corner features client announcements and events of potential interest to readers.

  • Theresa Jacobellis will be teaching Strategic Writing for Public Relations in the graduate program at Hofstra University this spring. She will also be a judge in the Fair Media Council’s annual Folio Awards program.

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© 2024, Lisa Renee Pomerantz. All rights reserved.

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