Not-Stempler on the Leper-con Permit Issue

GA just had an interesting chat with my legal department, Not-Stempler on whether or not the Leper-con event needed a permit.

Surely I will muck up his beautifully articulated response but here goes.  From my notes:

The law has not caught up with the new social media impact on business, government, and many aspects of commercial enterprise.  My advice to the city is to take advantage of the intervening one year to prepare for next year's event, but more so to figure out what they need to do with respect to  social media. Anyone could start event via social media. Not just Leprecon- so how does the city respond to future efforts to create an event that will require use of city resources.

Not-Stempler said he was hard pressed not to be amused that he is having a discussion about port-a-johns.

A  promoter of an event has liability. An event promoter is obligated to provide at a minimum, safety. A person who is coordinating with bars,  selling t-shirts, hosting an advertisement on her site, and is making an effort to promote an event among strangers comes dangerously close to the definition of what a traditional promoter might be.  She most likely did not understand the liabilities, the risks associated with what she was planning to do.

If she is a promoter, she should organize herself as an LLP and obtain insurance so that she will not have adverse personal impacts.

Any enterprising attorney representing a client would have made a claim against her based on the theory of event promoter liability.
Did you get that?  He did say more, but I won't attempt to paraphrase.

Basically, he said the law was undefined with respect to social media's impact on institutions of commerce and government and Hoboken would do well to tackle it now, in terms of how future such events use City resources and subject it to liability in event of property damages, personal injury, etc.

He did suggest the City pursue a permit for the next Leper-con, but that goes with their determination about how the City should handle social media events.

With respect to Lepre-con's organizer, he believes she didn't understand the liability issues of event promotion, and again the law with respect to such social media events needs to 'catch up'.

So there you have it, peeps.

It would be wise for the City Council to take this on ASAP...

I understand my Hebrew brothers and sisters are Facebooking a Hoboken matzo-bake on Washington Street... attendance rumored to be in the millions.   You heard it here.


  1. Considering you pretty much had to buy a T-shirt to be a participant in the pub crawl and the vast majority of people who dressed up in green that day never bought a T-shirt or went to a Lepre-Con bar, I see any attempt to try and require this event to have a permit as futile at best. The bars can just run their own promos, the residents can send out their own Evites and the city really can't do much of anything to stop it. Instead of trying to permit this thing to death, just manage the chaos and enforce the laws on drunken stupidity year round.

    1. Red, I think Not-Stempler raised the issue that the law has not caught up with new media.

      Until it does, we shall all proffer our opinions. Proffer on!

    2. Well when you think you have found a way to get around the 1st amendment on this one, you tell me.

    3. Red, if someone was hurt or their property damaged as a result of this event- strangers recruited online to drink at a 'host' city, the First Amendment would not fly as a defense against the probable action against the event organizer. Not a chance.

      If you are familiar with event promotion liability law then speak up. Sorry, Red. Not a First Amendment matter.

      I'm guessing the organizer would be toast at the hands of a competent attorney in a claim against her.

    4. For starters, in order to sue you need to find someone w/ deep pockets to sue. Good luck w/ that. Then you need to prove they were part of the "event" in question which means proving they bought a shirt, went to those 9 bars and so forth. Nobody promoted any events at the other 50+ bars or the house parties so I just don't see how you can blame anyone for anything related to those house parties & bars that were not part of Lepre-Con. And even most people who went to those 9 official bars were not part of the Lepre-Con bar crawl so again, how do you blame the promoter? Sorry, just not seeing it.

      Face it, this was really a grassroots event that went far beyond Jamie Darra. You will never be able to prevent bars & homeowners from finding a way to get people to wear green & show up on the 1st Saturday in March if they so choose to keep this event alive.

  2. Something has to be done, we could be facing a "con" every few months.

    Bunny-con is next month on April 7th.

    1. Doubtful but be wary if International Pirate Day.

  3. While it's certainly true that the dynamically changing technology we're all so dependent on has outpaced lawmaker's ability to keep up, there are still certain facts that point to this event needing a permit:

    1. Darrah, having become unhappy that the parade cancellation might mean no binge-drinking, organized an event with the help of bar owners who thought they'd lose out on a major pay-day. The intent was to bring massive amounts of drunk people to one place at one time - our streets - even if Sara Sullivan missed her bus.

    2. Whether she used the U.S. mail, social media or smoke signals, the fact still remains she orchestrated and planned an event whose successful outcome was predictable - the takeover of our city by thousands of inebriated twenty-somethings and the destruction that comes hand in hand with that.

    3. This locally reviled, non-permitted event, with no insurance or monies placed in escrow, cost the city tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the lost revenue for those businesses who had to close for the day. Ms. Darrah: Where do we send you the bill for your party that re-defines "white trash"?

    My suspicion is that Darrah, as well as many of the attendees have the sense that parents would literally and figuratively bail them out if necessary, or in this case the City of Hoboken would provide all the protections needed to save them from themselves. Most of us deeply resent picking up the tab for this. Anyone know the total cost yet?

    And if that weren't bad enough, the only association this group makes with Irish heritage and St. Patrick is binge-drinking, public inebriation, clothing not suitable for a ten-dollar whore and the destruction wrought by the group's gang mentality.

    Requiring permits for this event and anything like it in the future by the City of Hoboken would be a very useful tool which has two uses: we can say "NO"

  4. How hard would it be to get together, let's say 50 taxpayers who would agree to share the expense of taking this Darrah person to court? I am sure that it would teach future Darrahs a hard learned lesson.
    Why don't we put up a petition requiring signatures from those willing to sue the organizers of the Leprecon, and see how many are willing to put up a fight to end this garbage?


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