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The Loop

Rochester Business Journal
May 9, 2014

Poison porridge
Goldilocks has always been a bit iffy as a fairy tale protagonist. Strict law-and-order folks can’t get past the trespassing and other offenses committed by the fair-haired intruder.

Harter Secrest & Emery turned the fairy tale into a courtroom drama this week in observance of national Law Day. The firm entertained and educated 134 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students with its 13th annual mock trial play at the Memorial Art Gallery.

A cast of the firm’s lawyers and staff performed “Goldy Locks v. Mama and Papa Bear” for students from Rochester Schools 4 and 29. The students also performed as the jury.

In this version of the tale, Goldy Locks becomes violently ill and is hospitalized after tasting Mama Bear’s Grizzly Bear Poisonberry Porridge. The student jury was confronted with key legal questions, such as:

  •  What standards of care should be applied to the adult bears and the 11-year-old girl?
  •  Should the bears have foreseen that a human would taste their poisonous porridge?
  •  Was it reasonable for Goldy to believe the porridge was safe for her to taste?
  •  Should the bears have posted a warning sign near the pot?
  •  Do all harms require someone to pay compensation in the form of money damages?

The student jury ruled the bears were not required to pay compensation.

“Our annual Law Day plays are a fun way to share memorable lessons in law with students,” says Tom Smith, a partner at the firm who has written and directed the annual plays since they began in 2000. “While the children usually reach a fair decision in the end, it’s great to see how animated and opinionated they are when it comes to their open jury deliberations.”

The cast members were: Anant Kishore as Judge Yogi; Brad Salai as Goldy Locks, the plaintiff; Tom Smith as Mr. Gummy, the plaintiff’s attorney; Brian Feldman as Dr. Sal Monella, plaintiff’s physician expert witness; Maura McGuire as Mama Bear, defendant; David Archer as Papa Bear, defendant; Kyra Keller as Ms. Koala, defendants’ attorney; and Carmen Green, as the court bailiff. John Bringewatt and Jessica Myers were jury advisers.

Brew kings
The annual Tap New York event, billed as the state’s largest craft beer festival, was held in late April. The Governor’s Cup, recognizing the best craft beer in the state, went to the Witte, produced by Brewery Ommegang, a Belgian-style brewery in Cooperstown.

Keuka Brewing in Hammondsport won the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup as the best craft beer brewery in New York. Keuka Brewing is owned and operated by Linda and Richard Musso, who opened it in fall 2008.

Send tips, rumors, inside information or strange tales for the Loop to Managing Editor Mike Dickinson at

5/9/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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