Archive for the ‘Torts’ Category

rtrerte5646456 There may be some interesting tort questions raised by a new Internet sensation created by former flight attendant Shawn Kathleen, who has started a movement to shame passengers who act badly on flights. Passenger Shaming has taken off with travelers on Facebook and Instagram.

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screen-shot-2014-09-01-at-8-36-57-am-e14095751988281In a previous posting, I published a warning about another malicious fake news story by National Report which showed a picture identified as an Associated Press photo of Paul Horner, 15, allegedly was given 25 years to life for “swatting” — calling in a face police report on an online gaming opponent. The problem is that the story is entirely untrue. I discussed how this article went further then prior juvenile postings by National Report designed to trick news organizations and blogs into posting false stories. There is nothing funny about the stories. These are just mean-spirited efforts to embarrass media and bloggers. However, on his occasion they used a picture of a real person and tied Associated Press to their story. At the time, I asked why anyone has not sued these editors, particularly Associated Press. I have now spoken with Associated Press about the incident.

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HT_Carmel_Valley_mar_140910_4x3_992This is truly one of the more disturbing and bizarre criminal cases of the year. Kathy Rowe, 53, was shouldering a huge load with a severely disabled daughter and ill husband. She not only worked full time but slept in a chair in her daughter’s room every night. She was such an extraordinary mother that, in 2006, was picked as one of San Diego’s 50 best moms and mother of the year in 2007. She is now looking at jail time for how she decided to get a house that she felt was meant for her family.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

gavel2washington-flag-sealIn an unusual and historically unprecedented outcome, Washington’s Supreme Court held the state in contempt for the legislature failing to provide a clear plan in funding public education by the school year 2017-18 pursuant to the McCleary ruling the court handed down in January of 2012.

According to documents the court in McCleary v. State, 173 Wn.2d 477, 269 P.3d 227 (2012) unanimously affirmed a declaratory judgment of the King County Superior Court finding that the state is not meeting its “paramount duty … to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders” under Article IX Section 1 of the state constitution. The court initially deferred to the legislature’s chosen means of discharging its constitutional duty, but retained jurisdiction over the case to monitor the State’s progress in implementing by 2018 the reforms that the legislature had recently adopted. Pursuant to its retention of jurisdiction, the court has called for periodic reports from the State on its progress. Following the State’s first report in 2012, the court issued an order directing the State to lay out its plan “in sufficient detail to allow progress to be measured according to periodic benchmarks between then and 2014.

The legislature failed to meet the courts demands for production of evidence of progress by the legislature and the court then found the state in contempt. The issue has brought up certainly the notion of separation of powers, but the possibility of sanctions has many in the legislature motivated to now act.

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In a case that has some disturbing comparisons to the Bolger case out of Baltimore, a police chief in Atwater, Minnesota is accused of killing a boy’s pet chicken and then leaving the hen’s decapitated head near the chicken coop. Police Chief Trevor Berger was reportedly responding to a violation of the city ordinance prohibiting fowl and the failure of the Turnbull’s to comply with the order to get rid of three chickens and two ducks. However, like Bolger (who sit a dog’s throat), Berger is accused of taking horrific actions in response to a minor violation. Berger has since apologized by saying that he did not know it was a pet, but that still leaves the question of why an officer would decapitate animals and leave their heads on the ground in response to a municipal violation.

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Officer-Jeffrey-BolgerThere is a pending prosecution in Maryland that continues to shock the animal rights community, and others. Baltimore police officer Jeffrey Bolger has been charged with animal cruelty for maliciously killing a family’s 7-year-old Shar-Pei, Nala. Bolger allegedly threatened to “gut” the dog and then slit its throat.

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The National Report has released another highly disturbing story out of Louisiana where Paul Horner, 15, allegedly was given 25 years to life for “swatting” — calling in a face police report on an online gaming opponent. The problem is that the story is entirely untrue. There is nothing funny of course about the article like an Onion publication. National Report, which we have previously discussed, is a fake new site in which grown adults do nothing but try to trick blogs and news sites into republishing false stories. That is it. Just a juvenile “gotcha” site that is the equivalent to journalistic graffiti. Now, once again, here is my question: why do advertisers support this site and why hasn’t someone sued these people? The latest fake story shows the picture of a person crying in a courtroom surrounding by officers. The editors list the photo as an Associated Press photo and the website appears to have removed its prior disclaimer that the stories are false.

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