Category: Torts

The Gun Did It? Baldwin Denies Pulling The Trigger in Fatal “Rust” Shooting

Recently, I noted the curious scene of actor Alec Baldwin insisting with reporters that he has been given clear legal instructions not to discuss the shooting of Halyna Hutchins at the set of the movie “Rust” . . . and then making detailed statements about the shooting. Now, with an ongoing criminal investigation and various civil lawsuits expected to be filed, Baldwin has given a detailed statement to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, including a surprising claim that he never pointed the gun or pulled the trigger.  That interview may be one of his most watched scenes, particularly if he is charged criminally or sued civilly. Continue reading “The Gun Did It? Baldwin Denies Pulling The Trigger in Fatal “Rust” Shooting”

“I’m Glad this is on Video, I’m Very Glad:” Texas Shooting Raises Difficult Questions Under Texas Self-Defense Law

Chad Read’s widow files petition to take custody of his children from their mother, releases...

Yale Law Students Sue Over Alleged “Blackballing” For Supporting Law Professor

We have often discussed how dissenting faculty and students are increasingly subjected to retaliation for the exercise of free speech or free association on campuses.  In many cases, such treatment involves shunning or blackballing by school administrators to prevent professors or students from participating in programs. That is the complaint by two law students (identified only as John Doe and Jane Doe) who allege that they were blackballed for supporting Professor Amy Chua, who was previously discussed as embroiled in a controversy at the school after she defended Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  The students make some shocking allegations against the Yale Dean and other administration officials.

Continue reading “Yale Law Students Sue Over Alleged “Blackballing” For Supporting Law Professor”

Too Clever By Half: Why Public Nuisance is Again at the Heart of a Public Health Debate

Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on the ongoing opioid litigation and an important ruling out of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The product has become the latest battleground over the use of public nuisance to curtail products from paint to pills to guns.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Too Clever By Half: Why Public Nuisance is Again at the Heart of a Public Health Debate”

Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements

In the Georgia trial over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Judge Timothy Walmsley delivered a haymaker to the defense on the very eve of closing statements.  The court ruled that Georgia’s prior citizen’s arrest law is only applicable if a person sees a felony committed and acts without delay. The ruling could be “outcome determinative” in the case by stripping away the core defense that these men were chasing a person suspected of a series of crimes over the last year. Travis McMichael, his father, Greg McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan are likely to make this ruling the heart of any appeal if they are convicted. Continue reading “Arbery Trial Judge Delivers Massive Blow to the Defense on the Eve of Closing Statements”

Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict

In the aftermath of the Rittenhouse verdict, figures on both sides of the case threatened new filings and investigations. It seems likely that the case will move into a new stage of litigation, particularly civil litigation. However, advocates on both sides may be overstating the basis for a Rittenhouse 2.0.  These lawsuits can come with risks and considerable costs. That is why Voltaire once lamented “I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.” Continue reading “Rittenhouse 2.0: Threats of New Litigation Fly in the Aftermath of Rittenhouse Verdict”

“No One is Allowed to Touch Her!”: Child Bitten By Pet Monkey in Halloween House of Horrors

We had just finished discussing animal liability in my torts class when a bizarre case from Halloween surfaced involving the girlfriend of Texas special teams coach Jeff Banks.  The account involves a stripper known as Pole Assassin, a monkey used in her act, and a wandering child at the house of horror she created for Halloween . . .  and they say my torts exams are unrealistic. Continue reading ““No One is Allowed to Touch Her!”: Child Bitten By Pet Monkey in Halloween House of Horrors”

Spooky Torts: The 2021 List of Litigation Horrors

Here is my annual list of Halloween torts and crimes. Halloween of course remains a holiday seemingly designed for personal injury lawyers around the world and this year’s additions show why. Halloween has everything for a torts-filled holiday: battery, trespass, defamation, nuisance, product liability and more. This year, we have the usual fun frights caught on camera, nuisance complaints from “triggered” neighbors, and the occasional misdirected murder investigation. However, there are still some notable additions that raise more legal frights.

So, with no further ado, here is this year’s updated list of actual cases related to Halloween. Continue reading “Spooky Torts: The 2021 List of Litigation Horrors”

Multitasking or Malpractice? Maryland Surgeon and State Delegate Reprimanded After Participating in Hearings During Surgeries

This week, we discussed the case of a surgeon who left an operating room to eat a meal and then fell asleep in his car — missing the operation. Now, there is a new case involving a Democratic representative and surgeon from Maryland who participated in legislative meetings while operating. The multitasking of Dr. Terri Hill, a state delegate and board-certified plastic surgeon, led to a relatively light sanction: a reprimand and a $15,000 fine by the state physician’s board. Continue reading “Multitasking or Malpractice? Maryland Surgeon and State Delegate Reprimanded After Participating in Hearings During Surgeries”

Boston Doctor Fined After Leaving Patient in Operating Room and Falling Asleep in His Car

There is a new controversy out of Boston that raises novel legal questions over malpractice. Dr. Tony Tannoury, 54, left an operating room with a patient prepped for ankle surgery at Boston Medical Center to eat in his car. He fell asleep and woke up that evening, long after the operation was completed by a resident. He has been reprimanded by state regulators and fined $5,000. However, some have complained that this is merely a “slap on the wrist” and more serious punishment should have been meted out. It raises an interesting question under torts. Continue reading “Boston Doctor Fined After Leaving Patient in Operating Room and Falling Asleep in His Car”

Texas Man Invokes “Stand Your Ground” Law After Being Charged For Shooting Man In Parked Car

Terry Turner

We have previously discussed “Castle Doctrine” and “Stand Your Ground” laws. The latest such case comes from Martindale, Texas where Terry Duane Turner, 65, is charged with the first-degree murder of Adil Dghoughi, 31. Dghoughi was sitting in his car in the driveway of Turner’s home before the confrontation leading to his death.

Continue reading “Texas Man Invokes “Stand Your Ground” Law After Being Charged For Shooting Man In Parked Car”

Waste Not, Want Not: Airline Dumps Human Waste on Englishman Sunning Himself in his Backyard

As people venture out after the lock down in England, a man in Windsor, England has a cautionary tale. The man decided to take in the sun in his backyard when, according to news reports, he and his entire yard were covered in human waste dumped by a passing plane. That is not the end to this rather obnoxious situation.

Continue reading “Waste Not, Want Not: Airline Dumps Human Waste on Englishman Sunning Himself in his Backyard”

“Corners Were Being Cut”: Baldwin Shooting Already Has The Makings of a Blockbuster Tort Action

The fatal shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch already has the makings of a blockbuster tort action. Within 24 hours of actor Alec Baldwin fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the director, witnesses have raised serious questions of negligent and unsafe practice on the site for the low-budget film, “Rust.” The question is not whether but when the first torts lawsuit will be filed.  There has already been speculation on the civil and criminal liability in the case, so it may be useful to explore what we know and what it might mean for the likely litigation ahead.

Tufts University Student Dies in Hot Dog Eating Contest

A Tufts student, Madelyn “Madie” Nicpon, 20, is the latest fatality in an eating or drinking contest. We have previously discussed (here, here, here, here, and here) such competitions from a liability standpoint. This was a charity contest but raises the question of whether it is reasonable to hold such contests that encourage rapid eating or drinking given the obvious danger of choking or other risks. Conversely, participation is voluntary and these individuals assume the risks of such contests. Continue reading “Tufts University Student Dies in Hot Dog Eating Contest”

Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train [Updated]

The recent rape of a woman on a train in Pennsylvania has shocked and disgusted the nation, particularly after passengers did nothing to help the woman as she was allegedly attacked by Fiston Ngoy, 35. Now police are reportedly considering criminal charges against passengers who filmed the rape and did not call the police.

Continue reading “Police Suggest Possible Charges for Those Who Filmed Rape on Train [Updated]”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks