Australian customers should have some legitimate questions about the sanitization of the Hungry Jack restaurant outside of Perth. It appears that a man died of a drug overdose in a toilet but was not found for roughly three days by the Australian franchise of Burger King. In a remarkable statement, the police have said that finding a man dead after three days in a toilet is “not being treated as suspicious.” I certainly understand the lack of a suspicion of a crime but at least we could agree that it is a bit curious.
Yesterday, we discussed how the case against Disney in the death of two-year-old Lane Graves seemed to be getting worse for the company by the day with a new controversy over a poster instructing employees to mislead tourists asking about the risk of alligators. Many of us felt that Disney richly deserved to be sued and that such a lawsuit could produce valuable deterrence for Disney and other companies in the future. However, to the surprise of many, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhart, Nebraska have announced that they will not sue Disney for the death of their son in the lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Florida’s Walt Disney World.
We previously discussed the tragic death of Lane Graves, 2, at a Disney resort after an alligator attack. Things are already pretty bad for the company, but there is yet another twist. A Walt Disney World intern was fired after she posted objected to a sign advising employees to tell guests that they do not know of any alligators in the waters. After an outcry, the company has rehired Shannon Sullivan. The question remains whether such evidence could be introduced to show the company’s alleged continued misrepresentation or concealment of the risks associated with the alligators.
A three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled June 27th that in addition to recognizing tribal fishing rights, pursuant to the Stevens Treaties entered in the middle 1850s between Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest and the Washington Territorial Governor, the government is mandated to protect the viability of sustainable fishing to preserve the allocation to local tribes.
In signing these treaties, the tribes relinquished “swaths of land, watersheds, and offshore waters adjacent to these areas…in what is now the State of Washington. In exchange, the Tribes were guaranteed a right to engage in off-reservation fishing.”
The panel held that in building and maintaining barrier culverts within Washington, the state violated, and continues to violate, its obligation to the Tribes under the treaties.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Ruling on statutory grounds, Skagit County, Washington Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis held that a public hospital offering maternity services to women must also offer abortion services. Referring patients to Planned Parenthood, the court ruled, violates state law regarding abortion services provided to patients. The suit was brought on behalf of a plaintiff patient by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The fundamental conflict in the case litigated was ostensibly due to the defendant hospital district’s position that while agreeing to offer such services, it experienced difficulty in complying due to lack of health professionals willing to perform abortions. State law does allow heath care professionals to decline to perform voluntary abortions for personal reasons.
For other public hospital districts, the ACLU served notice requesting similar compliance with state law.
Disney is facing what would seem to be an overwhelming case for liability in the death of 2-year-old Lane Graves who was killed in a shallow lagoon near his family’s resort rental. The failure to adequately warn tourists and take reasonable steps to address the danger of alligators was clearly negligent in my view. While the last thing that Matt and Melissa Graves will want to think about is liability (and they have at least a year under the statute of limitations), they should sue Disney for the loss of their son.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit handed down a major tort ruling in throwing out the $1.8 million judgment awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Ventura alleged that he was defamed in the late author Chris Kyle’s bestselling book “American Sniper.” The court cited various errors at trial, including a faulty instruction on the actual malice standard for defamation and the misuse of unjust enrichment as a basis for the damages. The trial showed clear and frankly surprising errors by both Ventura’s counsel and the trial judge.