Pulse: Chatter: Naming Rights: The State Vs. Hell

Maybe “I Choose Hell Productions” isn’t the most wholesome name for an indie movie-making business. But it’s the one local filmmaker and former Banyan employee (Banyan of Trading Spaces fame, among other cheerful TLC mega-hits) George Kalman chose for his own fledgling corporation. And it’s the name that Pennsylvania powers-that-be rejected, citing a Commonwealth statute prohibiting a business entity’s registered name from containing “words that constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord’s name.” Now, those four little words are the reason Kalman, represented by Dechert partner Thomas H. Lee II, is suing the state. Lee calls the case a classic “establishment clause” issue — that is to say, violative of that old First Amendment guarantee of separation of church and state. “My first reaction when I read [the law] was that this was from a different era,” says Lee. “I was a little surprised it was from as recent as 1977.”
An antiquated law in Pennsylvania, home of the state store system?
Now, that’s a surprise.