Category: Torts

Roughing the Protester? Activist Tackled by Rams Players Files Police Report and Threatens Lawsuit

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The 24-9 blowout of the Rams by the 49ers captured a number of missed tackles and plays by the Rams. However, one successful tackle occurred on the sideline when a protester wearing a shirt reading “righttorescue.com” and carrying a smoke flare jumped a security fence and ran down the field. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (with the help of fellow linebacker Takkarist McKinley) forced the protester to the ground. Now, the activist with Direct Action Everywhere has filed a police report and is threatening legal action. However, not only is another court likely to find that there was no right to rescue in a case involving the theft of pigs by animal activists, this activist is likely to establish that the players had a right to tackle.

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Trump Sues CNN for $475 Million in Defamation Lawsuit

Former President Donald Trump is suing CNN in a $475 million defamation lawsuit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on Monday. The lawsuit faces significant challenges under the governing precedent for public figures. For counsel, those challenges likely seem steeper in a week when Trump unleashed reckless and offensive attacks on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his wife former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as well as journalist, Maggie Haberman. It is not exactly the context that counsel would want when seeking to hold CNN liable for defamatory comments in a difficult legal action. Continue reading “Trump Sues CNN for $475 Million in Defamation Lawsuit”

Three Martha Vineyard Migrants File Lawsuit Against DeSantis

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The undocumented migrants who were transferred to Martha’s Vineyard have quickly adopted one common American practice: litigation. A firm, Lawyers for Civil Rights, in conjunction with the migrant-led nonprofit Alianza Americas, filed the action on behalf of Yanet Doe, Pablo Doe and Jesus Doe who are using pseudonyms for the action “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.” The filing is a Jackson Pollock of legal claims with twelve claims thrown against Florida from false imprisonment to intentional infliction of emotional distress to misuse of the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund. The splattering of claims face considerable legal barriers based on the consent of the migrants, as shown in a waiver released by Florida.

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Oberlin’s Revenge Mania: College Finally Runs Out of Appeals in Campaign Against Family-Owned Bakery

The long and vengeful campaign of Oberlin College against a small family-owned grocery has come to an end at the cost of a breathtaking $36 million for defamation. The Ohio Supreme Court had rejected what should be Oberlin College’s final appeal of a verdict in favor of Gibson’s Bakery. The bakery has been the target of an unrelenting attack by the school after it had the temerity to fight a false charge of racism in a shoplifting case involving Oberlin students who later pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Oberlin President Carmen Twillie Ambar and the Board burned through millions in litigation costs above the damages rather than admit that the college was wrong in the targeting of this grocery. That money could have been used for scholarships and other worthy purposes. Instead, Amber and the Board will simply ask alumni to foot the bill for a legal effort that seems to become little more than a revenge fetish. Continue reading “Oberlin’s Revenge Mania: College Finally Runs Out of Appeals in Campaign Against Family-Owned Bakery”

Southwest Airlines and the Transportation Workers Union Hit with Over $5 Million Verdict Over the Firing of a Pro-Life Employee

There is a major verdict in a free speech case out of Texas where Charlene Carter, a former Southwest flight attendant won a verdict of more than $5 million for her wrongful termination after a posting on social media criticizing her union on its abortion stand. Both Southwest and the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) (Local 556) are named as defendants. Ironically, the TWU insists that it is “offering working people a voice.” However, it is accused of working with the company to terminate this worker who spoke up against the union.

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Rep. Katie Porter Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Attack on Witness

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts has filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Katie Porter (D., Cal.) after her allegation that a witness lied under oath in opposing gun laws three years ago in a hearing. In a hearing this month, she made the allegation against Heritage Foundation legal fellow and Second Amendment expert Amy Swearer. The exchange between Swearer and Porter went viral on the Internet with many liberals praising Porter for the exchange. A closer examination shows that the attack was unfair and unfounded. It is also an increasingly common part of congressional hearings as members seek to intimidate or abuse expert witnesses who hold opposing views. While these ethical complaints are difficult to maintain under the generous rules of the House, Porter’s conduct warrants condemnation. Continue reading “Rep. Katie Porter Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Attack on Witness”

Depp-Heard Verdict Contains Relatively Rare Defamation-by-Counsel Liability

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The massive verdict in favor of actor Johnny Depp yesterday constitutes a rare victory of a public figure under the difficult New York Times v. Sullivan standard for defamation. The award of $15 million found that Amber Heard not only lied but did so with malice. Depp ran the table on all of his counts. While this case will likely be studied for years, the one verdict in favor of Heard is itself notable because it was based on defamation by counsel — a lesson for lawyers in defending their clients in public.

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Assault or Self Defense? The Arrest of Former Broncos Player Raises Tough Legal Questions

In teaching torts, we often discuss the vague line between self-defense and retaliation in cases of assault and battery. That issue will now be at the heart of a criminal charge against former Broncos cornerback Brendan Langley who was charged with assault after hitting a United Airlines employee. A partial video of the incident shows how murky the line can be in the use of self-defense. Literally a few seconds can make the difference if this charge is any indication.

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Federal Court Dismisses “Kung Flu” Lawsuit Against Trump

Former President Donald Trump achieved mixed results in courts this week. He lost efforts to prevent a $10,000 per day fine for contempt in failing to turn over evidence on his assets in the civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James. He also lost his lawsuit against Twitter over his being banned from the site. However, in a case that we previously discussed, Trump prevailed in Chinese Americans Civil Rights Coalition, Inc. v. TrumpI previously wrote that I considered this case to be meritless, but it took a year to see it dismissed on the grounds discussed earlier.

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“Nothing Less Than Everything”: The Depp Trial and The Litigation of Mutual Destruction

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The defamation trial of actor Johnny Depp against his former wife, Amber Heard, has all of the makings of a Hollywood hit except for the absence of a single redeeming character. The comedian Henny Youngman may have been right that “the secret to a happy marriage remains a secret,” but the Depp trial shows that it is clear how to have a miserable marriage. It includes things like mutually taping each other, throwing objects of varying sizes, and rivaling each other in the competition of conspicuous consumption. Continue reading ““Nothing Less Than Everything”: The Depp Trial and The Litigation of Mutual Destruction”

“Take What You Can, Give Nothing Back”: The Depp Defamation Trial and the Curious Legal Position of Celebrities in Litigation

 “It is pronounced ‘egregious.'” Captain Jack Sparrow’s clarification in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean could prove useful when actor Johnny Depp takes the stand in his defamation case in Fairfax, Virginia against his former wife, Amber Heard. Continue reading ““Take What You Can, Give Nothing Back”: The Depp Defamation Trial and the Curious Legal Position of Celebrities in Litigation”

Petito’s Parents File Lawsuit Against Laundrie’s Parents Over the Murder of their Daughter

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A novel lawsuit in Florida has been filed by the parents of Gabby Petito against the parents of Brian Laundrie, Chris and Roberta Laundrie. The lawsuit accuses the parents of hiding their knowledge that Brian Laundrie killed their daughter. I am very skeptical over the basis of this lawsuit, which rests on the assumption that, if the parents knew, they had a legal obligation to disclose that knowledge to Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt. Continue reading “Petito’s Parents File Lawsuit Against Laundrie’s Parents Over the Murder of their Daughter”

“A Bit Unusual”: Federal Judge Rejects Palin Motion For New Trial

Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has issued a stinging rebuke to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in seeking a new trial. A new trial was unlikely given Rakoff’s ruling that he would dismiss the case regardless of the verdict of the jury. However, in my view, Rakoff made an utter mess of this case and this decision will only magnify the novel issues for appeal.

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Former St. Joseph’s University Professor Sues Over Termination After Twitter Controversy

We previously discussed the case of Greg Manco, a former St. Joseph’s University professor who was effectively terminated by the university after a controversy over his criticism of reparations demands. He has now filed a federal lawsuit alleging defamation, and other claims against the university and a variety of individuals, including five alumni and one current faculty member.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks