Category: Torts

Oberlin Hit With $11 Million Verdict For Role In Defaming Local Bakery

Two years ago, I wrote a column about a controversy involving Oberlin College and allegations of racism leveled against the family-owned Gibson’s Bakery. The bakery appears unfairly attacked for an incident involving African-American students — an incident that the college proceeded to address without any semblance of objectively or fairness toward the long-standing local bakery. I said that the time that the bakery had ample reason to sue. Well, now an Ohio jury has hit Oberlin College with crushing damages of an $11.2 million. What is most disturbing is the failure of any action taken against the college president and other officials who not only allowed these abuses to occur but then took a remarkably bad case to court at a loss in millions in damages and fees. The cost of poor judgment shown by college officials in this controversy is magnified by bad case law that it creates potentially for free speech. And the jury has not even convened yet to consider punitive damages.

Continue reading “Oberlin Hit With $11 Million Verdict For Role In Defaming Local Bakery”

Biographer: MLK Watched And Laughed During Rape Of Follower

Pulitzer prize winning author and MLK biographer David Garrow has written a disturbing piece in the British magazine Standpoint on his review of secret tapes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There have long been stories about MLK’s affairs and even discussions of reexamining his standing in the MeToo period. However, the details in this article are different and deeply unsettling, if true. If not, Garrow has ruined his own celebrated career and defamed an American icon. Either way, one would think that there would a huge amount of coverage of the allegations in the mainstream media. Instead, there has been very little coverage of the story. While Yahoo and MSN ran foreign-based stories, most of the coverage has come from newspapers outside of the United States.

Continue reading “Biographer: MLK Watched And Laughed During Rape Of Follower”

“Psychoooooooo”: Texas Bartender Arrested For Serving Murderer Before Killing Spree

I teach “dram shop” cases in my torts class — cases where bars and bartenders are sued for “over serving” customers who later cause injuries to third parties. This week there is Texas case that involves a criminal charge against a bartender, Lindsey Glass, 27, who was arrested after allegedly violating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. The man that she allegedly over-served was Spencer Hight, who killed eight people after leaving the Local Public House in Plano. The bar has also been sued by the families of the victims.

Continue reading ““Psychoooooooo”: Texas Bartender Arrested For Serving Murderer Before Killing Spree”

The Sliming Of Pete Buttigieg

Fox News reported on a disturbing allegation of an alleged effort by conservative activists to push a false claim that Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg sexually assaulted another man. The man denies the published account and says that he was coerced into signing a statement as part of an effort by lobbyist Jack Burkman and blogger Jacob Wohl. The story appears entirely false and represents a new low for this town even after such disgraceful stories as the Pizzagate.

Continue reading “The Sliming Of Pete Buttigieg”

Brothers Sue Lawyers for Jussie Smollett For Defamation

Abel and Ola Osundairo: Instagram

Abel and Ola Osundairo, the two brothers implicated in the hoax attack on Jussie Smollett, are heading back to court. This time however they will be appearing as plaintiffs in a defamation case against Smollett’s attorneys,  Tina Glandian and Mark Geragos. It is a relatively rare case against counsel and could test the limits of legal privilege in defamation.

Continue reading “Brothers Sue Lawyers for Jussie Smollett For Defamation”

Dershowitz Sued For Defamation Over Jeffrey Epstein Case

We have been following the scandal involving the case of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein (left). Epstein was accused of being a sex trafficker for powerful men ranging from former President Bill Clinton to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has called his accuser a perjurer and recently declared that he wanted to be sued for defamation. He has now gotten his wish. Dershowitz will now face a trial on the merits of the allegation after Boies Schiller filed the requested defamation action against him.

Tensions recently came to a head in a New York courtroom with allegations against Dershowitz made by former federal judge Paul Cassell.

Continue reading “Dershowitz Sued For Defamation Over Jeffrey Epstein Case”

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “The Intriguing Legal Case Of The Louisiana Llama: Woman Charged With Shooting Her Pet”

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.

Continue reading “Amusement Park Sued Over Trauma Caused During Halloween Event”

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.

Continue reading “Women Go To Barber For Cosmetic Surgery . . . Well You Know The Rest”

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.

Continue reading “New York Woman Sues Hospital After Terminating Life Support on A Stranger”

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.

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