Category: Torts

Fifth Circuit Rules Walmart Is Not Liable For Selling 60 Cans Of Fatal Dust Remover To A Clearly Deranged Addict During a 27-Hour Period

There is an interesting case out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Allen v. Walmart, 2018 WL 4998231 (5th Cir.  Oct 16. 2018. Judge Edith Brown Clement ruled for Walmart in a novel claim that the chain should not have sold Karalee Alaine Williams a dust remover. Williams was found dead in the parking lot after inhaling the product. It reads like a dram shop claim for dust removers.  Notably, Williams kept returning in worse and worse shape, including her final visit naked from the waist down — but was still sold additional dust remover.  Her mother brought an array of claims, including negligence, negligence per se for violating Texas Health & Safety Code Chapter 485, negligent entrustment pursuant to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 390 and  breached a duty to Williams under a theory of premises liability. She also alleged that Wal-Mart owed Williams a duty in the products liability context, invoking Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 82.003(6) (2009).

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Washington Woman Chases Husband With Meat Tenderizer and Then Lays Across Road . . .Only To Be Run Over By Drunk Driver

imagesThere are some cases that seem right out of a tort exam. This is one.  In Kent, Washington, a woman chased her husband outside with a meat tenderizer after an argument.  After he crossed a road, she decided to lay down across the road. She was then run over by a drunk driver, who was later arrested. Continue reading “Washington Woman Chases Husband With Meat Tenderizer and Then Lays Across Road . . .Only To Be Run Over By Drunk Driver”

Reasonable Doubt Or Per Se Defamation? Republicans Throw Chris Garrett Into The Fray [UPDATED]

IMG_0026The unfolding drama over the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford just got even more bizarre as Ed Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Center (EPPC) released the picture of a remarkably similar looking teenager who could have been the culprit in the alleged attempted rape. While Ford insists that she could not be mistaken, the release of the photo adds a new element to the hearing . . .  and could raise some interesting legal issues after suggesting Chris Garrett (right) could be responsible for the attack.  The problem is that there is not a single scintilla of evidence that has been offered to link Garrett to the alleged assault.  He has simply been drop into these boiling cauldron and the only explanation is his similar looks and home in the area (which is hardly surprising for schoolmates who attended the same school).

Update: Whelan has now issued a statement that “I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake Continue reading “Reasonable Doubt Or Per Se Defamation? Republicans Throw Chris Garrett Into The Fray [UPDATED]”

Moore Sues Showtime and Sacha Baron Cohen For Embarrassing Interview

Judge_Roy_MooreFormer Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has long been an perpetual litigation machine. Indeed, Moore and his wife appear to have created a cottage industry out of being themselves — getting people to give them huge amounts of money to fight their enemies.  I have been skeptical of these past lawsuits — as well as Moore’s often bizarre conduct.  Now, after the prior lawsuit amounted to nothing, Moore is launching yet another lawsuit. The latest claim is based on Moore’s sitdown with comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for his Showtime series “Who is America?” Essentially, Moore is complaining that he made of fool of himself because Cohen tricked him.  Moore has demanded $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages.  Despite my long admitted aversion to Moore, the complaint does raise some interesting, and unresolved, legal issues. It also presents some risks for Moore himself. Continue reading “Moore Sues Showtime and Sacha Baron Cohen For Embarrassing Interview”

Musk Repeats “Pedo” Attack On British Explorer Who Helped Rescue Thai Boys In Cave [Updated]

220px-The_ScreamElon Musk appears to be withdrawing his earlier apology and doubling down on his bizarre personal attack on Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue the young soccer players and their coach from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand.   Musk suggested Unsworth was a pedophile after Unsworth criticized Musk’s rescue submarine. Now Musk is asking why Unsworth did not sue him and why reporters never investigated the allegation — a suggestion that “truth is a defense” defamation. Update: Unsworth counsel has now confirmed that a lawsuit is being prepared.

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Descent Into Liability? Man Injured After Falling Into Black Hole Art Exhibit in Portugal

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In what sounds like accidents seen right out of a torts final,  Artist Anish Kapoor created a “Descent Into Limbo” to look like a black circle painted on the ground.  The problem is that the artistic effect would have been lost with barriers, but the lack of barriers led to a man falling into the eight-foot hole at the Serralves Museum in Porto.  It is a classic conflict between art and law with one demanding purity and the other demanding protection. Continue reading “Descent Into Liability? Man Injured After Falling Into Black Hole Art Exhibit in Portugal”

Churchgoers Fall Ill After Using Holy Water At Notre Dame

IMG_0298The well-known Catholic prayer states “By this holy water and by Your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord.”  It appears however that the next question for the faithful at Notre Dame may be “what washes away the holy water?”  A significant number of churchgoers in Paris are complaining about failing ill after using the holy water at Notre Dame.  It is not a unique problem according to some studies.

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Roundup The Academics? Monsanto Verdict Raises New Troubling Questions About Professors Working Under Corporate Sponsorship

Roundup_herbicide_logoFor a growing number of critics, the breakthrough verdict against Monsanto for $289 million over its Roundup weedkiller is an indictment of the company’s corporate culture but also of academics who were used by the company to discredit scientific studies linking the herbicide to cancer.  Former groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, 46, reportedly has only months to live but he just delivered a body blow to one of the largest corporations in the world. It is not that $289 million is a crippling fine for Monsanto, but the verdict of guilt based on a finding of actions taken “with malice or oppression” will likely trigger tens of thousands of such claims.  Not surprisingly, Monsanto is now ditching its name in favor of Bayer after its recent acquisition. Continue reading “Roundup The Academics? Monsanto Verdict Raises New Troubling Questions About Professors Working Under Corporate Sponsorship”

An Affair To Remember: North Carolina Man Awarded Nearly $9 Million For Wife’s Infidelity

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There is an extraordinary case out of North Carolina where Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson awarded Keith King $8.8 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Francisco Huizar III.  Huizar had an affair with King’s wife and was sued for criminal conversation and  the relatively rare claim of “alienation of affection.”  Only six states currently have alienation of affection laws still on the books. We previously discussed an award of $9 million to a woman in North Carolina.

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Florida Gas Station Owner Charged With Attempted Murder In The Shooting Of Shoplifter

1531943331829Florida gas station store owner Mehedeun Hasan, 22, is facing a charge of attempted murder after shooting Rennie Defor, Jr. as he was trying to steal beer worth $36.  It is another example of the common law rule that you cannot protect property with potentially lethal force.

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A Bridge Too Far: Wisconsin Woman Rides Into Gap Of Rising Bridge After Evading Flashing Barriers

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In what may be the clearest example of assumption of risk in torts, a 37-year-old Menasha, Wisconsin woman rode around flashing barriers on a bridge to try to make it across before it was open for river traffic.  She did not make it.

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UCLA Professor Dies During BDSM “Mummification” Game

Doran-George-e1464300730957-280x280Ucla_logoThe death of UCLA Professor Doran George, 48, has shaken the university after he was found dead during a bondage session at the home of a Hollywood executive Skip Chasey.  Chasey is known as Master Skip in the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance and Submission) community.  George, who insisted on being called by the pronoun “their” rather than “he” or “she”, was found wrapped “head to toe in plastic wrap and gaffer’s tape, with small breathing holes at the nose and mouth.”  George died in something called the “mummification” sex play.

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Al Dente: Connecticut Woman Awarded $100,000 After Receiving Head Injury From A Bowl Of Pasta Thrown By Irate Lawyer

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 9.13.20 PMConstance Koulmey has been awarded over $100,000 after she was hit by a bowl of pasta thrown by lawyer James Sweeney.  She alleged that she received a head injury from the bowl that Sweeney threw at another restaurant customer.  That left an al dente on her head that was enough for the Waterbury, Connecticut jury to find in favor of her battery claim.

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