Category: Torts

The Astros’ Orbit Cuts Down Woman With Tee-Shirt “Bazooka”

I am in Houston today and this story caught my eye on the way to Utah (which appears a much safer place in the absence of roaming, battery-causing mascots). Yes, we have another mascot-related sports torts case. Jennifer Harughty alleges the Astros mascot Orbit “shattered” her finger during a July 2018 game in Houston when she was hit by a flying tee-shirt fired from a “bazooka style” cannon. It is an all-too familiar claim as fans find themselves on the wrong end of a mascot projectile. She is suing for $1 million.

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Yabba Dabba Don’t: California Owner Of The “Flintstone House” Charged With Public Nuisance

A San Francisco Bay Area town is suing the owner of the so called “Flintstone House”, alleging that it is a public nuisance after she added dinosaurs in her backyard to go with the iconic structure designed by architect William Nicholson in 1976. Nicholson built the 2700 square foot living space with new materials in a structure promptly declared the Flintstone House by supporters and detractors alike. The action raises troubling questions in the use of a claim of aesthetic nuisance.

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The Intriguing Legal Case Of The Louisiana Llama: Woman Charged With Shooting Her Pet

There is an interesting case out of Opelousas, Louisiana, where Madeline Bourgeois, 67, is charged with shooting her pet llama, Earl. She has claimed self-defense but prosecutors insist that the passage of time between the attack and the shooting negated the defense.

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Amusement Park Sued Over Trauma Caused During Halloween Event

Every year we discuss new tort actions tied to Halloween as part of our “Spooky Torts” tradition. A new case was just filed by Shannon Sacco and her daughter over their visit to the Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania. The park, owned by Cedar Fair, included costumed employees as part of a Halloween attraction. Sacco claims that the costumes were too scary and caused trauma worth more than $150,000.

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Women Go To Barber For Cosmetic Surgery . . . Well You Know The Rest

Barbershop owner Young Hwan Choi, 72, allegedly had a side business of doing cosmetic surgery and the results were as predictable as their were criminal. Various women suffered facial scars from the laser surgery. What is striking is that the police released images of his barbershop, suggesting that the women may have actually gone to the barbershop for the surgery as opposed to some fraudulent surgery center. If true, the bizarre decision of these victims could factor into any tort damages as plaintiff’s conduct questions.

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New York Woman Sues Hospital After Terminating Life Support on A Stranger

There is a bizarre torts case in New York city where Shirell Powell is suing St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx after he mistakingly authorized the termination of life support for a stranger. She had been told that the man was her brother, Frederick Williams. The family later found out that it was a Freddy Clarence Williams, who was no relation.

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Police Search For Rapist After Woman in Vegetative State For Ten Years Gives Birth In Arizona Facility

Regulars on this blog are familiar with the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (or “the thing speaks for itself”). One twisted case near Phoenix, Arizona would certainly seem to fit that definition after a patient in a vegetative state gave birth. AZ Family reported that he victim is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe who nearly drowned 10 years ago. Police or the company may seek DNA samples from all male employees at Hacienda HealthCare. In this case, a positive match would by definition confirm rape given the non-consensual context.

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One Free Bite? Jogger Fights Off Dog With Pepper Spray . . . Dog Owner Bites Jogger

In torts, we learn about animal liability rules governing dogs. While domesticated animals are generally not subject to strict liability, a dog with a vicious character (or one that has previously attacked) does fall under the strict liability standard. However, what about a vicious owner. Police are looking for a woman who attacked a jogger who used pepper spray to fight off her dog. The woman, not the dog, bit the jogger.

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It’s A Wonderful Libel? Trump Suggests Legal Action Against SNL For Latest Skit

I have previously criticized President Donald Trump for his calls for greater liability of the media for its coverage of the controversies surrounding his Administration.   This weekend, Trump was again suggesting the need for legal review as he was excoriated by Saturday Night Live in a skit based on the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Fortunately, the courts have maintained core free speech and free press protections from such assaults, particularly in the realm of comedy and parody.  

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Vermont Man Causes Controversy Over One-Finger Salute To City Officials

Facebook: Ted Pelkey

We previously discussed the sometimes thin line between free speech and a nuisance.  The latest such controversy has arisen in Westford, Vermont where Ted Pelkey decided to make a statement after city officials refused his permit to build an 8,000 square foot garage on his property. His response was a single finger salute to  the Westford Selectboard and Development Review Board.  This is not the first such salute piece to prompt legal questions over its display.  Notably, the Vermont Supreme Court recently ruled that ugly is not a nuisance.

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Will Manafort Sue The Guardian? Former Trump Campaign Chair Declares Assange Story “Totally False and Deliberately Libelous”

UnknownIn my column yesterday, I discussed the major news story out of the Guardian that former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort repeatedly met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Guardian reported that  Manafort visited Assange in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016. That last visit allegedly occurred around the same time as Manafort’s selection as Trump campaign chair. Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency reportedly said that the logs include “Paul Manaford [sic]” and mentioned “Russians.”  Now however Manafort and Wikileaks have completely denied the story and Manafort charged that the story is “totally false and deliberately libelous.”  If so, that could lead to an interesting defamation lawsuit that should be relatively easy to prove either way. Continue reading “Will Manafort Sue The Guardian? Former Trump Campaign Chair Declares Assange Story “Totally False and Deliberately Libelous””