Yolanda Melville Elected National President of NAACP NextGen

ATLANTIC CITY — Yolanda Melville, Esquire, the Legal Redress Officer for the Atlantic City NAACP Branch and National NAACP Legal Committee member, was elected national president of the NAACP’s Next Generation Alumni Leadership Council.

Melville, an attorney at Cooper Levenson in Atlantic City, was selected at the recent NAACP national convention in Detroit this summer. Melville was a member of the inaugural NAACP NextGen Young Professional Leadership Program comprised of 68 leaders ages 21 through 35, from 29 states.

The NextGen Leadership Program is designed to train and develop future leaders to serve the NAACP.

READ: Ashley Bennett, Samantha Whitfield Among 2019 NAACP NextGen Class

“Yolanda is an intelligent, compassionate, and focused leader who uses her legal talents to strive for equality and justice for all people,” Kaleem Shabazz, president of the Atlantic City NAACP and a city council with Atlantic City.

“The Atlantic City Branch has realized what Yolanda’s peers from across the nation have come to learn.  Yolanda is a sure bet for a leader who is energetic and goal-oriented,” he added.

Melville will serve a two-year term as an elected officer.

READ: Yolanda Melville Establishes Roots, Activism in Atlantic City

Participants complete a rigorous training program, including classroom trainings, webinar trainings, case studies, group assignments and special projects on leadership fundamentals, political action, economic empowerment, criminal justice, environmental justice, health advocacy, budgeting, fundraising, technology and direct action.

The NAACP said that NextGen participants are civically engaged young professionals committed to equality and social justice.

Public Accommodations Should Not Be Unaccommodating

In Holmes v. Jersey City Police Department, the Jersey City Police Department arrested Shakeem Malik Holmes, a transgender male, for suspected shoplifting.  While in custody, Holmes claimed that the arresting officers made demeaning, insulting and threatening comments about his transgender status over the course of two hours.  Specifically, Holmes alleged the officers referred to him as an “it”, called his transgendered status “bull[—-]”, stated “so that’s a [expletive] girl?” and one officer threatened to punch a fist down the Holmes’ throat “like a [expletive] man.”   Holmes filed a lawsuit against the Jersey City Police Department asserting claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”).  The trial court dismissed Holmes’ lawsuit in 2015.  However, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision and reinstated Holmes’ claims.
In determining that the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint, the Appellate Division considered Holmes’ special status as an arrestee temporarily incarcerated in the police station as creating a “uniquely vulnerable situation” and noted that “police officers wield tremendous power” and officers were alleged to have physically threated Holmes.  The panel concluded that a reasonable jury could find the police department’s alleged conduct to be severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile environment in violation of the NJLAD and that specifically targeted hostile comments made to an individual in the context of public accommodations, which might not suffice to create a hostile work environment, may nonetheless violate the NJLAD.  Public employers are advised to be aware of this critical distinction, which is particularly relevant to school districts as teachers often act in loco parentis and a power differential and disparity exists between teachers and their students.

If your school district has any questions or concerns contact the Cooper Levenson Education Law Department.

Pokémon GO From Professor Willow to Officer Jenny

Like many of you, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have become inundated with stories about the unintended consequences of Pokémoning on the go. Often times, these stories are followed up with comments like “that’s illegal” or “he/she is going to get arrested.” As a lawyer and a level 12 trainer, I was academically intrigued with the costs of high risk Pokémon behavior. As a disclaimer, nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice or counseling, and above all else, nothing, even catching a legendary Pokémon, is worth the risk of breaking the law or putting others in danger. To this end, the sole purpose of this article is to help the New Jersey Pokémon community identify some situations where trainers should not be trying to catch them all.

The PokéCoin to Fine Exchange Rate

As part of our analysis, the following table provides an exchange rate of real world fines for Pokémon items. For convenience, this chart utilizes the PokéStore’s maximum purchase levels for each item and rounds the $99.99 exchange for 14,500 PokéCoin exchange rate up to $100.00 per 14,500 PokéCoins.

Driving While Pokémoning

Most people understand that driving while under the influence is a misdemeanor (known in New Jersey as a “disorderly person offense”), and in some instances, could lead to felony charges (known in New Jersey as a “crime”). In most instances, the following schedule outlines the legal consequences for these categories:

1. Petty misdemeanor: A maximum fine of $500.00 and maximum jail time of 30 days.

2. Misdemeanor: A maximum fine of $1,000.00 and maximum jail time of 6 months.

3. Felony: Fines ranging from $10,000.00 to $200,000.00 and jail time of over 6 months.

Trespass while Pokémoning

Under New Jersey law, criminal trespass occurs if an individual, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given. Such notice can take the form of actual communication, posting signs or fencing/enclosing property. Trespassing is considered a petty disorderly crime in New Jersey, which, as a reminder, can result in a maximum fine of $500.00 and/or a maximum jail sentence of 30 days.


Along with any violations of law, negligently causing harm while playing Pokémon GO can also cause trainers to face civil liability. Generally, negligence is defined as failing to act as a reasonable person. If the actions of an individual fall below the standard level of care that an ordinary person would have used, this would be considered negligent. In New Jersey, liability for this type of harm is governed by the theory of contributory negligence, that is, the allocation of fault of the individual claiming to be harmed must be less than the fault attributed to the wrongdoers’ negligence in order to collect damages.

Read complete article here.

Alexandra rigden joins cooper levenson.

Atlantic City, N.J. April 29, 2016 – Attorney Alexandra Rigden has joined the Family Law Practice Group at Cooper Levenson. Based in the firm’s Cherry Hill office, Rigden is an associate who will practice all aspects of family law including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, DCPP (DYFS) and other matters.


“Alexandra is both knowledgeable and passionate about family law,” said Kenneth J. Calemmo, chief operating officer of Cooper Levenson.


Prior to joining the firm, she spent more than three years practicing exclusively family law at a South Jersey firm.


Rigden previously clerked for The Honorable M. Patricia Richmond, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County. In addition to her duties as a law clerk, Alexandra mediated landlord/tenant and small claims cases. She also completed a Domestic Violence Training Clinic and formerly volunteered as a pro bono attorney for New Jersey Legal Services. Rigden serves as an Associate Editor of the New Jersey Family Lawyer.


She is active in the community and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She resides in Burlington County, N.J.


Cooper Levenson is a full service law firm since 1957, with 70 attorneys and New Jersey offices in Atlantic City and Cherry Hill. The firm has regional offices in Bear, Del., and Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit www.cooperlevenson.com

New Jersey Outlook: Governor’s AC Proposal has Mulitple Precedents in State’s History

In a time when the 24-hour news cycle and reality television compete for our attention, political discourse often exhibits the performance values that media moguls envy. Beyond the clash of policy and personality, however, lie the most fundamental questions of political governance.

Political power in our society is generally not exercised by fiat. Our political system requires an institutional framework for the assertion of power. This provides stability and, optimally, the substance and appearance of legitimacy and efficiency. These are challenging objectives and the effort to achieve them demands our attention. The recent proposal by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to “take over” the casino district in Atlantic City is such an exercise in power.

The success of Atlantic City, despite the ongoing downturn of nearly four years, is well appreciated by the business and political communities. From the industry’s strategic perspective most recently, there are two central questions: How to emulate the success of Las Vegas’ appeal to overnight clientele and, more recently, how to contend with the emergence of rival (and adjacent) gaming venues?

New Jersey Outlook – Governor’s AC Proposl has Multiple Precedents in State’s History.pdf