Category: Torts

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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