Andrew Kugler just wanted to coach his daughter in a softball league. He never expected it would turn into a legal fight.
Kugler, 42, is a lawyer in the downtown L.A. office of Mayer Brown. Several years back, he enrolled his now-14-year-old daughter, Ellie, in the Encino-Sherman Oaks Softball League. They played on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. The girls played on three softball fields, while a boys’ Little League used nine baseball fields next door.
The girls’ league was so cramped that two or three teams would practice simultaneously. Meanwhile, the boys usually used only half their fields.
“My daughter was especially frustrated,” Kugler said. “She would ask why we couldn’t use those fields that were not being used.”
But girls’ softball fields and boys’ baseball fields are different, with the boys’ fields requiring more grass. And the boys’ league was unwilling to part with any of its fields.
Eventually another parent, attorney Larry Slade, filed suit claiming the arrangement violated equal protection laws. Kugler signed on and became one of the principal attorneys involved – all on a pro bono basis.
After a year of off and on negotiations, a settlement was reached last month in which two of the nine boys’ fields were turned over to the girls.
“Not only did I want to fight for the girls, but I also saw this as a teachable moment for my daughter,” Kugler said. “When something is not fair, there is something you can do about it. She learned she can stand up for herself.”
Giving at Office
This week marks Carl Terzian’s 46th year since starting his public relations business, so he has many anniversaries to look back upon. His most heartwarming? It was the 20th.
That anniversary was modest, as celebrations go. There was cake and some champagne in the back room at 4 p.m. on a Friday. Terzian told a couple of stories of starting his Westwood firm, Carl Terzian Associates. At about 4:15, he thanked everyone and encouraged them to get a start on their weekend. But some young associates asked to hear more about the early years. Terzian, an accomplished raconteur, obliged.
At 4:45, he stopped talking and again encouraged his employees to leave, but they said they wanted to hear more. So he spun a few more tales. It got to be 5 o’clock, then 5:15 and 5:30. Each time Terzian stopped, the associates insisted he continue.
“It finally dawned on me that there was a reason for it,” Terzian, now 79, said. So on he talked. Finally, about 6 p.m., the elevator bell dinged, and the surprise was revealed: then-Mayor Tom Bradley emerged. He congratulated Terzian and shook hands all around.
But the real surprise came later. Terzian learned that Bradley had not been expected; he heard about the celebration and just stopped by. Why did the employees prompt Terzian to keep talking for two hours? Because they sincerely enjoyed hearing his stories.