Tykes and Trial Lawyers Gather for All Hallow’s Eve

Below is an expanded version of my column in the New York Post on the return of Halloween and joy of little litigators in anticipation of the return of the festival of Samhain.

Here is the column:

With the arrival of Halloween, little children and litigators will again celebrate their favorite holiday. It is no accident that the Irish not only brought Halloween to the United States (as part of  the festival of Samhain) but flooded our state bars with Irish lawyers eager to bring lawsuits over Halloween mishaps. It is a slip-and-fall lawyer’s delight: millions of people dressed clumsily in misfitting costumes and heading out to the wee hours of the night for trick-and-treating. The result is a wicked brew of negligence, product defects, intentional torts, and every other tort and crime known above the netherworld.

So without further ado, here are this year’s spookiest of torts.

Tangle over Trump

In an election year, there is arguably no case that more captures our time than Kelly v. Rando. Kevin Kelly and his girlfriend Regina Jones went to a Halloween party at the Rustic Café in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 2018. They were dressed as Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels. Jesse Rando reportedly assumed that they were critics of Trump and said how it was long overdue to throw the former president in jail. When Kelly revealed that they were actually supporters of Trump, things got ugly fast with an eventual bar fight. Both Kelly and Rando sued for torts ranging from assault to intentional infliction of emotional distress. On June 15, 2023, the court issued the ultimate judgment not only on the torts claims but perhaps the state of our politics. The judge ruled for both the claim of the Plaintiff and the counterclaim of the Defendant and denied any damages to either party.

Sue the clowns

In another June 2023 decision in Munoz v. Six Flags St. Louis, a Missouri court was faced with a claim from Carly Munoz who in 2019 went to Six Flags’ Fright Fest with her cousin. As the name might suggest, it is a night where people are subject to scary scenes and costumed characters. In the three hour period when Munoz was at the park, she was faced with various scary characters, including ten occasions where guests screamed and ran from the jump scares. Then, on her way toward the Mr. Freeze ride, a scary clown jumped out and guests ran. The clown was six feet away from Munoz and was walking toward her when she ran and tripped on a curb and injured herself. She sued for negligence of the park in maintaining a safe environment and the training of staff.  The court ruled against her and found that  the park’s duty was  only to “make conditions as safe as they appear to be” and that Munoz “was aware of the risk she encountered, and expected to be surprised, startled, and scared.”

Monkey business

Another case in the court is a cautionary tale about those creating their own haunted houses . . . particularly those with ravenous monkeys. In October 2021, Danielle Thomas, former exotic dancer known as “Pole Assassin” (and the girlfriend of Texas special teams coach Jeff Banks), found not just herself but her pet monkey and emotional support animal Gia (who once performed with her in her act) in a tort lawsuit.

Thomas converted her home into a house of horrors, including a maze.

She said that the area with Gia was closed off and, as for petting, “no one is allowed to touch her!”

Nevertheless, a lawsuit claims a child, identified as C.C., was taken to the monkey and told Gia was trained to give high fives.

“Instead of giving a high five, Danielle Thomas’s monkey aggressively bit down on C.C.’s hand and refused to let go,” the lawsuit said.

Thomas publicly insists that, “No one was viciously attacked. This a lie, a whole lie! She was not apart of any haunted house, the kid did not have permission to be on the other side of my property!” She blamed the kid as “old enough to . . . follow the rules.”She even posted a walk-through video and insisted that she knows all of the governing legal rules. The video seemed more incriminating than exculpatory.  Facing an array of torts including animal liability, licensee liability, negligence, and attractive nuisance claims, there are rumors of a settlement.

These cases join a long list of litigation horrors from people killed by flying coffins, defamed by tombstones, induced to stab each other, and clearing a haunting house with gun fire. It is truly a holiday that has everything for torts lawyers and even comes with free candy. Indeed, the notions of millions of people handing out food stuffs to sweet-addicted children is proof that God holds personal injury lawyers in “the palm of his hand.”


As for me, my house is ready with over-the-top decorations to befit a tort law professor. The inability to secure a notary on a holiday has ruled out the waivers for the toddlers to sign, but I have avoided any stripper-trained, territorial monkeys. However, the scariest thing about Halloween for some may be the two-year statute of limitations that follows the holiday.

So, on behalf of all those Samhain-observing Irish lawyers, have a great Halloween — and be sure to preserve both the cherished memories and exculpatory evidence.

30 thoughts on “Tykes and Trial Lawyers Gather for All Hallow’s Eve”

  1. Not long ago, The British authorities in America were unsure how to prosecute these protestors and asked the Attorney General in England for advice. He responded that these protests constituted high treason as they undermined the state of Great Britain by contravening a British act of Parliament

    Our Heroes were Traitors

    1. Not long ago, the penalty for high treason in Great Britain was for the convicted perpetrator to be Drawn and Quartered.

      This sentence was most certainly an appropriate forfeiture and a moderately effective deterrent.

    2. Which is precisely why Treason is defined in the us constitution and why for 250 years we have resisted the impulse to politicize criminal prosecutions.

      Absolutely we should prosecute politicians that commit crimes.

      But those crimes should either be the ordinary crimes that ordinary people commit and weighed by the same standards – not manufactured claims that appear to infringe greatly on free speech.

      Or they should be clear abused of the public trust in the execution of government powers.

      Bribery meets that standard. Protesting a rigged election does not.

  2. I will always remember how awkward it was as a little kid when the excitement of Halloween night had passed, transitioning into post-Halloween mode. So here’s a little song-and-dance to help anyone so afflicted make the transition:

  3. O T (Biden Crime Family)
    The Daily Mail is reporting today that in 2018 Joe Biden apparently used his son’s telephone service to make calls overseas a few weeks before Jim Biden received $200,000 from foreign sources. The money was funnelled through a healtcare company which boasted of its access to foreign sources of income.

    1. The Canary Mission watchdog organization has revealed that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) holds “extensive fundraising ties to Hamas supporters.”

      I wish that surprised me.


    “Shani Louk ‘beheaded’ by Hamas after she was kidnapped at music festival and paraded by terrorists: Israel”

    – Isabel Keane

    Ali Khamenei, Ismail Haniyeh et al. must be Drawn and Quartered with extreme prejudice.

    1. Do they use a statue of Adolf donning a military outfit while boldly holding his perfectly straight right arm with a bright red, black and white swastika flag draped around his feminine figure, as their welcoming symbol?

  5. Jonathan: Now the really “scary” part of Halloween this year is the context. How DJT continues to attack our judicial system–the one thing we inherited from our English brethren–the right to a fair trial we incorporated in the 6th Amendment. DJT doesn’t think our judicial system applies to him. He thinks he is still “President” and wants to take back the Crown against those he claims took it away from him in a “stolen” election.

    Mark Reiff, a professor at UC Davis who studies extremism, has an interesting article in The Conversation today. Here is a synopsis of his thoughts about DJT:

    —“What Trump is doing is echoing views that are part of the long tradition of illiberal and out right fascist thought. For fascists have always seen the use of violence as a virtue, not a vice”. [F]ascists are obsessed with purity. They long for a world they can live among their own racial, ethnic, religious and ideological kind on land they view as exclusively theirs”.

    Reiff cites Julius Evola, a far-right intellectual in Italy from 1929-1970, who wrote the book “A Handbook for Right-Wing Youth”. In the book Evola said violence “offers man the opportunity to awaken the hero that sleeps within him”. Evola suggested that a hero’s death is preferable to a life built on liberal compromise.

    Reiff goes on: “Fascists see violence as something to be used for more than just personal retribution and intimidation. It is used to create wider social disruption and destruction. Not only are individuals to be subject to attack, but institutions and norms as well”.

    Reiff believes DJT is the embodiment of fascist ideas. He cites one of DJT’s statements: “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great”.

    DJT’s words and actions are right out of the fascist handbook. Violence is justified to make “American Great Again”–under the leadership of the only person who can destroy the Marxist and Communist menace that threatens the country. Reiff concludes his article with this warning: “…not taking Trump’s violent rhetoric seriously seems dangerous indeed”. Indeed!

    1. “Fascists see violence as something to be used for more than just personal retribution and intimidation. It is used to create wider social disruption and destruction. Not only are individuals to be subject to attack, but institutions and norms as well”.

      Let’s see who qualifies under that criteria:

      BLM and Antifa. Environmental activists who block roads, disrupt events, and deface art. Nihilists who topple statues. Soros prosecutors with a revolving door for criminals. Leftist politicians who sit on their hands as criminals run roughshod.

      And the latest Leftist darlings: Hamas. Along with their supporters in the West, chanting: “From the river to the sea.”

    2. Dennis – Your comment is quite ridiculous. You quote an academic claiming to be an expert on European fascism, which he protrays as wanting to create a cult of violence to serve such ends as: purity of race and religion; a means of awakening “the hero” within modern man; and to “create wider disruption and destruction.” There may be European writers and politicians who fit this description, although I doubt it, but nothing in Trump’s words or deeds suggest any sympathy with any of these goals. He is not in favor of creating purity of race and religion. But. like any sane person, he believes that we must secure our borders against uncontrolled entry and abuse. Democrats used to believe that too. He has never referenced a belief in a “superman” hiding below the surface of modern man. When he had the chance, Trump avoided overseas military involvement, unlike your Democratic “heroes”. He probably does believe that our society is on the precipice of a collapse due to reckless ecomonic and fiscal policies of the Democratic Party. I too believe that. It is also likely that mass rioting of long duration will result from such a collapse. The fact that he is able to foresee such an end does not mean that he desires such an end. He is attempting to warn us, unlike your “experts” who want to distract our attention from the danger we are in.

      1. “[Trump] is attempting to warn us . . .”

        Your analysis of that Trump quote (which the OP cited out of context) is spot on. He made that statement in *2014* — in the context of Obama’s disastrous economic policies.

    3. You mean like Abe Lincoln!

      Fresh Air interviewed several college professors, PhD’s in Black Horror including one who taught Black Queerness, as well.

      Award-winning author, UCLA professor and longtime horror-lover and writer, Tananarive Due, teaches a class at UCLA (and online) on Black horror called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival And The Black Horror Aesthetic,”

      The Chinese outspend and outwork us everyday and night developing AI that exceeds U.S. capabilities as they determine to rule the world in 10 years.

    4. You really do not seem to get it – Free Speech is free speech – Speaking out against those in govenrment is the 2nd most important right we have.
      The right to bear arms – there for the instance when the right to speak out against government fails is the most important.

      You do not seem to grasp that your argument as Self Damning.

      We get it. You think that those on the right speaking out against Government are evil – while those on the left doing so are heros.

      That is the epitomoy of the rule of man not law and is immoral.

      You do not seem to understand that repeating 10,000 time that DJT is some existential threat by speaking against government just makes clear you are an immoral fool.
      And frankly the actual fascist you claim to oppose.

      No Violence is not justified to “make amercan great again” – and we have seen very little – almost no violence from the right. from trump supporters.

      There was more actual violence a few weeks ago when pro paestinian protestors disrupted congress.

      There are 10,000 acts of violence by the left all the time.

      Dennis you do not live in the real world.

      Finally – as our Declaration of independnce notes – Violence against government IS sometimes justified.
      Our founders expected people to try to endure and change bad government – but NOT forever.

      Eventually violence is actually justified.

      Eventually it become self defence.

      Government is FORCE – PERIOD. We have elections and a constitution and all kinds of efforts to hamstring government specifically because government is FORCE and force is dangerous.

      When government abuses its power – and we have MYRIADS of examples of those on the left abusing the power of government – eventually Violence becomes justified.

      The strongest indicator – again from the declaration of independence that violence is justified – is when trust in government is lost.

      You can agree or disagree with many of Trump’s claims – but the FACT is that people do not trust governmemnt, they do not trust elections, they do not trust the president, the congress, the FBI, even the military.

      That lack of trust – justified or not sustained long enough WILL result in violence. Because government is force, and self defence against untrusted people using force against you justifies violence in responce.

      This is NOT my thoughs. my ideology. This is the core to the social contract and is present in every nation in the world.

      Sometimes – as in the fall of he Berlin wall – untrusted government falls under its own weight – without acts of violence.

      But often that is not the case.

      Sometimes bad governments are dispatched and replaced with other bad governments – such as in the french revoltuion.
      Or in Russia.

      Regardless, when government destorys the turst of the people and over time does nothing to get it back – that government is no longer legitimate
      and violence becomes justified to remove a violent and lawless government.

      There is no rule or moral principle that violence is inherently bad. Only that it must be justified.

      I would strongly suggest that the left should back away from its abuse of the force of government.
      That does not end well.

      Whether you like it or not – there is no equivalent in the right today to the threat that the left poses.

  6. Jonathan: The past 2 years the weather was warm so we celebrated Halloween with a cul de sac party–a fire pit, BBQ. Neighbors of ours brought food–hot dogs for the little ones and their parents. Had piped in “scary” music. Not this year. It’s too damn cold! So with all the Halloween decorations out I have time to discuss some really “scary” items in the news.

    Andrew Weissman, former prosecutor in the Mueller investigation, was on MSNBC yesterday. He was discussing Judge Chutkan’s gag order on DJT. He pointed out that in DJT’s appeal brief against the order there was a “chilling” assertion. In Weissman’s words the brief stated “If there is violence, that’s on the people who take up my words and commit violence. It’s not on me, Donald Trump”. Weissman concluded that a responsible person would be telling his supporters not to engage in violence. Instead, DJT is doing just the opposite. He is encouraging violence but doesn’t want to take any responsibility for it.

    We see this playing out in real time in court. Yesterday, one of the Jan. 6 convicted insurrectionists, Vatli GossJankowski, was back in court. His release pending sentencing was revoked after he made threatening statements on line about law enforcement officials. GossJankowski refused to surrender and got into a fight with more than a dozen US Marshalls, FBI agents and court security officers. He was restrained and is going to jail pending sentencing for his multiple felony convictions in connection with his participation in the assault on the Capitol.

    Threats of violence end in violence. Will DJT take responsibility for GossJankowski’s violence on Jan. 6 or yesterday? Nope. He will continue to encourage it!

    1. Dennis – you say: “Weissman concluded that a responsible person would be telling his supporters not to engage in violence.” Trump said: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Trump also offered to provide National Guard contingents to protect the Capitol on 1/06/21. Nancy Pelose and the Capitol Police refused. Who wanted violence?

    2. You citing Weisman the discredited #2 in the Mueller witch hunt.

      You do grasp that not only was the entire Collusion Delusion – based o a Hoax – but that we now know that from the start all those involve KNEW that.

      That makes every single bit of it – From Strzok’s first flight to London through the entire Mueller Special Counsel a Fraud, A hoax, A vioation of the Constitution, and Abuse of Power and a Crime.

      What is your defence of Weisman’s conduct ?

      The Constitution REQUIRES that warrants and subpeona MUST meet a probable cause standard – How exactly can a known HOAX every meet a probable cause standard ?

      The constitution more than 2 centuries of case law require that merely starting an investigation – requires reasonable suspicion – How is it that you explain the fact that Weisman participated in an investigation based on a KNOWN HOAX. – A Known hoax is not “reasonable suspicion”

      I have zero interest in anything Weisman says or has ever said – the man is POND SCUM.
      As is every single person at the FBI or DOJ who participated in the Collusion Delusion investigations KNOWING they were based on a HOAX by Hillary Clinton.

      It is this kind of misconduct by law enforcement that actually Justifies VIOLENCE.

      About a Year ago leftish philosopher and scholar Sam Harris argued that Trump was so vile – that like Hitler he had to be defeated “by any means necescary”
      Never mind that we judge people on Acts not distortions of their poppinions, and Trump has nothing in the way of Bad Acts while Democrats are drowning in Bad acts.

      Regardless, “By Any Means Necescary” includes violence. Harris is not some left wing extremist. He is also not someone who is not careful about his words.

      Harris is a leading scholar on the left – and not even the far left.

      So by Harris’s argument the use of violence against those like Weisman who actually ARE destrictuive of the rule of law would be justified.
      By Harris’s argument – innumerable actors in the Biden administration would be legitimate targets of violence.

      Again this is not MY argument – this is that of Sam Harris – just applied without political bias.

      Harris is wrong, By any means necescary is never justified, and Violence though not ALWAYS wrong, is hard to justify.

      As to Weisman’s argument – No there is no moral duty to tell people NOT to act violently.

      I do not hear any democrat calling on their supporters to NOT act violently – every-time they criticize political opponents.

      Weisman – as is typical of those of you on the left is manufacturing a standard that he will discard in a split second where it to be applied to anyone on the left.

      By Weisman’s own standards his own argument is a call to violence against Trump and republicans.

      You claim to be a retired lawyer – sometime in your education and career you must have had some education in logic, morality and ethics.

      It is disturbing that you continue to cite disreputable people or to cite people whose arguments do not apply to the circumstances you try to apply them to.

  7. An Israeli concept paper proposes moving the current occupants of Gaza, what’s left of them, to Sinai.


    That’s nicer than my initial proposal to simply carpet bomb Gaza and level the wreckage after the unspeakable and unwatchable horrors of the attacks on Israelis of every age and condition. Try to convince me that a people who enjoy baking living babies to death in an oven don’t at least deserve a swift and merciful bomb on their heads.

    Though the Sinai idea has its attractions it is still too close to Israel and, frankly, the Egyptians don’t want these monsters on their real estate either.

    Western China is a better place to send them. Somehow the Chinese have gotten away with harsh treatment of their unpleasant Muslim Uighurs without a peep of outrage from the Muslim world and not much at all from our professional Progressives. I wonder why that is? But, anyhow, send them to China–all of them. In a month they will be begging Israel to let them back. Don’t.

    Happy Halloween. Give lots of candy to the kids, praise their costumes, indulge the innocents and keep the real monsters at a distance.

    1. The monster is in the mirror mook.

      I don’t understand how you idiots consider your mass murder and genocide and theft better than someone else’s.

      You lost that day, you got caught with your pants around your ankles, and now you’re using every excuse in the book to be a raving monster and to get what you unfairly demanded from day one, trying to claim your murderous rampage on everyone is somehow justified.

      20 of you and your friends and family, one dies from your hated terroorists or all 20 die from a bomb then all your homes are stolen.
      Take your pick idiot, and look in the mirror.

      1. Hamas is on the side of genocide where they started when the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem made a pact with Hitler to kill all the Jews. Shakdhi, your knowledge of history is very poor.

        However, despite the history, Hamas terrorists could do the right thing and let Gazan citizens move out of the killing fields and return when the killing is over. Hamas is guilty of any slaughter of civilians. Israel is to be commended for its restraint and efforts to save their lives.

    2. Arab nations have essentially driven all jews in the mideast to Israel. Many supporters of Palestinians note that jews and arabs lived next to each other in peace for 200 years prior to the recreation of the state of Israel.

      Palestinians still live in Israel proper – where they have full rights of citizenship and represenation in the Knessett.

      But that is not true for jews anywhere else in the mideast.

      As muslim nations have driven Jews to Israel – so should muslim nations take Palestinians from Gaza – and even the West Bank.

      Yet there is no nation in the world that wants the palestinians.

      Because they are terrorsts and destroy wherever they go.

  8. “trick-and-treating” (JT)

    Wait. It’s *both*? I thought the trade was: I provide a treat, and thus avoid the trick. Thereby the expression: trick-*or*-treating.

    This sounds like disinformation intended to cause grave emotional distress. I hope your LPL hasn’t expired.

  9. An interesting listing of cases. Just goes to show you that people can truly be insane and those are just the sane ones, so to speak. All the better living in a small city away from the insanity of the bright lights of the big city. Best to live out in the country with several acres of trees and unpaved roads surrounding you. Any trick or treater that reaches our door has worked to get there and is usually very appreciative of any treats. No artificial scares or goblins. Just the beauty of nature, with some coyotes, turkeys, buzzards, hawks , bedded down deer, raccoons , and other denizens of the wild watching the strange beings that occasionally come to our door.

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