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.Continue reading “It’s A Wonderful Libel? Trump Suggests Legal Action Against SNL For Latest Skit”
In St Ives, Cambridgeshire, the children at the Christmas grotto with Santa were justifiably traumatized when the normally jolly elf came out, ripped off his beard and screamed at them to “get the f**k out.”Continue reading “Bad Santa: Children Left Traumatized When Santa Screams At Them To “Get The F**K Out””
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.Continue reading “Vermont Man Causes Controversy Over One-Finger Salute To City Officials”
In 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””
Gambling in Vegas is always precarious when playing against the house. It appears the same is true in both the courts and the casinos. Glenn Richardson sued Mandalay Bay resort for personal injuries sustained near the hotel pool. The hotel offered a $2.5 million offer and Richardson surprisingly turned it down and instead opted to go to a verdict. He received just $524,000 from the jury — a $2 million loss. Continue reading “Bad Bet: Plaintiff Turns Down $2.5 Million Offer From Mandalay Bay . . . Jury Then Awards Just $500,000”
In celebration of Thanksgiving, I give you our annual Turkey Torts of civil and criminal cases that add liability to libations on this special day (with past cases at the bottom). Many criminal defense attorneys and torts attorneys give special thanks for a holiday that can involve copious amounts of alcohol, strained family relations, over-the-hill amateur football players, “Black Friday” sale stampedes, and novice cooks. These cases are why Johnny Carson said “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
A hunter in Arkansas, Dale Williams, is under criminal investigation after shooting 72-year-old Jane Rust when he mistook her for a deer. As we discuss in torts, such accidents are relatively common and often do not result in criminal or even civil liability. Continue reading “Hunter Shoots 72-Year-Old Woman Mistaken For Deer”
Conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, a conservative lobbyist and radio host, are outspoken supporters of President Donald Trump and called reporters to come to a Holiday Inn in Washington to hear from a woman who would allegedly accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct. Previously, Mueller referred an allegation to the FBI that women were promised money to accuse him of wrongdoing. With the no show of their accuser, Wohl and Burkman could well be looking at both criminal and civil liability.
Here is our 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’s addition is a real dozzy.
So, with no further ado, here is this year’s updated list of actual cases related to Halloween. Continue reading “Spooky Torts: The 2018 List Of Halloween Litigation Horrors”
Drinking and eating contests were once the rage. While most (though not all) of the drinking contests are gone, eating contests are still prevalent. The risk of choking is obvious in such contests as is tragically evident in Connecticut in a new filing. The family of Caitlin Nelson, 20, is suing Sacred Heart University for her death in a pancake-eating contest. The filing is based on “the preventable dangers associated with amateur eating competitions.”
There is a novel criminal charge in Kentucky where Jeffrey Wisecup, 27, is accused of watching his mother commit suicide and not acting to prevent it. It is a charge based on a theory of an affirmative duty to act to save someone — a premise long rejected in the United States where the “no duty to rescue” rule has been a long-standing part of torts. Continue reading “Kentucky Man Charged With Murder For Failing To Stop His Mother From Committing Suicide”
We just hit another milestone this weekend with over 35,000,000 views. We are also recently closing in on 60,000 followers on Twitter. We like to call the site the “little engine that could” among blogs with our growing collection of people from around the world. Despite a few contributors who insist on personal characterizations and attacks, this site strives to be a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories).
We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world. As always, I want to offer special thanks to Darren Smith who continues help up with periodic technical problems and our many regular commentators and readers. We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible. Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues. Obviously, our open forum allows trolls and others to spew comments that are at times offensive and obnoxious but we continue to believe that civil and balanced comments will prevail. Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments.
So here is our current profile:
A ruling by Division Three of the Washington State Court of Appeals might be worth reviewing for those not only in the state but elsewhere as the opinion demonstrates an interpretation of the federal Truth in Lending Act governing credit card liability of consumers. It could also affect at least in Washington whether to charge a defendant with a financial crime or the possession of stolen property due to a Federal Reserve Board opinion that could affect charging elements resulting from the theft of a CardLock access device.
In Connell Oil, Inc. v. McConnell-Johnson, Appellants “The Marital Community of Erik and Jackie McConnell Johnson” appealed a trial court ruling favorable to plaintiff Washington Corporation “Connell Oil, Inc.” after the oil company demanded damages and attorney fees amounting to $34,649.68 resulting from the fraudulent use of the Johnson’s petroleum CardLock access card after the device was stolen from one of Mr. Johnson’s farm vehicles. Defendants claimed that they were not fully liable for the unauthorized charges under the federal Truth in Lending Act which ordinarily protects consumers from fraudulent credit card charges.
The Court “conclude[d] the trial court did not err when it ruled that the stolen cardlock was not a credit card for purposes of TILA and entered judgment in favor of Connell Oil.” Connell Oil received an award of attorney and legal fees as it was the prevailing party.
We previously discussed the torts case involving the Kansas City Royals mascot Slugerrr, who blew out a fan’s eye with a foil-covered hotdog launched with an air cannon. Now the Phillies’ could be facing a similar lawsuit after Kathy McVay was hit by a duct taped hotdog launched by the Phillies mascot Phanatic.
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).