It is hardly news that the HBO hit show, The Sopranos, will be returning on March 7th. Many of us in Jersey have a special affinity for the show for various reasons. Among them are:: (1) the story is set in New Jersey and makes references to real Jersey towns and other locations. For example, when Uncle Junior says that he lives on Watsessing Avenue in Bloomfield, we can relate; (2) the majority of the location scenes are shot in New Jersey (e.g. the famous opening montage; I recognize just about every snippet), and (3) many of us know (or knew) people who look, talk, and, to one degree or another, act just like the characters in the show. (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as organized crime in New Jersey.)
Over the weekend, we learned that a federal court judge in U.S. District Court in Newark ruled that a Jersey resident, Robert Baer, himself a judge in a Passaic County municipal court, was not entitled to share in the show’s profits.
Baer had sued David Chase, the producer/creator of the show, alleging that he (Baer) had discussions with Chase when the show was in its development stage and that he introduced Chase to people with real underworld contacts. According to Baer, in exchange for these discussions and introductions, Chase promised a share of the proceeds of the finished product.
The court ruled that “the essential terms of the contract cannot be determined, [and] that the alleged agreement is too indefinite to allow the court to ascertain with reasonable certainty what each party agreed to.” That is, of course, a legalistic way of saying that Baer’s case is as about as dead as headless Ralphie Cifaretto.