John Doe A v. Penn State
First Penn State scandal lawsuit says Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and the abuse was enabled by the school's "negligent oversight."
Bradley v. Lohan
Former Betty Ford Center employee sues Lindsay Lohan for assault, alleging the actress threw a phone at her and yanked her wrist while refusing to be breathalzyed.
N.D. v. New York Post
Hotel maid allegedly raped by French politician sues the New York Post for falsely reporting that she is a prostitute who "routinely traded sex for money" with male guests.
Reinhart v. Mortenson
Two Montana residents allege the author of "Three Cups of Tea" "fabricated material about his activities and work in Pakistan and Afghanistan" to sell the book.

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Julianna Walker Willis Technology



• Maryland appeals court says dog owners can be held strictly liable for pit bull attacks. "Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Tracey v. Solesky

• Woman who has been diagnosed as a sex addict sues a school district for failing to prevent her from having sex with male students on the school bus when she was in 11th grade.
Barksdale v. Egg Harbor Township Bd. of Ed.

• Civil rights activist challenges Georgia's "stand your ground law." "By not defining what actions create a reasonable perception justifying the use of deadly force, the Act[] potentially deprives all Georgia[n]s of the right to life without due process of law." Hutchins v. Deal

• Former patient of a Rhode Island doctor sues him for featuring her in a book about drug addiction. "Plaintiff had expected, as any reasonable patient would, that her private conversations during her treatment sessions with the Defendant would remain private and confidential."
Lisnoff v. Stein

• Class action alleges the YMCA deceives consumers by representing that it practices "Christian" values while allowing its gyms to be used for gay sex trysts. "YMCAs around the country ... are currently being used as brothels for cruising, with the YMCA's knowledge and implicit consent."
Keister v. YMCA

• Social workers are not liable for a sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy by a 16-year-old male placed in an adoptive home. "To rule against the individual defendants in this case would definitely break new ground."
Doe v. Braddy

• Student sues college for refusing to grant her the "reasonable accommodation" of a single room after she complained about her roommate's exhibitionist behavior.
Blankmeyer v. Stonehill College

• School district can be sued over a guidance counselor's sexual relationship with a student who was over the age of consent. "The inherent imbalance of power between a guidance counselor in a public school and a student may render opportunistic sexual predation sufficiently shocking, even with a 'consenting' student over sixteen, to form the basis of a substantive due process claim."
Doe v. Fournier

• Utah judge finds a "credible threat" that Utah County officials will prosecute a polygamist and his wives for bigamy. The officials' acts "suggest that an actual prosecution of Plaintiffs is forthcoming."
Brown v. Herbert

• Louisville, Ky., strip club sues a competitor for displaying an electronic sign outside a convention center that said "Don't go to Godfathers, their girls are ugly and have crabs."
The Godfather v. Trixie's Lounge

• A lawyer cannot sue two women he dated for posting derogatory comments about him on "[W]hen viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion." Coulotte v. Ryncarz

• Oglala Sioux tribe sues beer makers and Whiteclay, Neb., bars for enabling alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The illegal trade in alcohol has "caused devastating injuries to the Lakota people and massive financial damages to the [tribe]."
Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting


Swinger's Suit Against Ex-Boss Tests Harassment Law Print

A salacious lawsuit involving a hot tub company owner who allegedly demanded that an employee invite him to “swinging” sex parties is shaping up as a first-of-its-kind battle over the scope of sexual harassment law.

Robert Dapper

The U.S. Supreme Court established in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, 523 U.S. 75 (1998), that an employer can be sued for same-sex harassment when, under the same standard applied in opposite-sex cases, the harassment was “because of ... sex.”

In a complaint filed last month, Kevin Roessler alleges his workplace became sexually charged after his boss at Royal Spa Corp. of Indianapolis discovered that he and his wife “were involved in an open sexual relationship” and “frequently participated" in swinger parties.

Royal Spa owner Robert Dapper, the suit says, insisted that Roessler invite him to parties, made sexual advances toward Roessler's wife and eventually progressed to having Roessler arrange sexual encounters for him through swinger websites.

“Although these were consensual sexual encounters he felt that he was being used as [a] 'pimp' to acquire sex for Dapper,” Roessler complains.

Harassment is “because of ... sex” when the plaintiff would not have been an object of harassment but for their gender. In a motion to dismiss Roessler's suit, Royal Spa and Dapper argue he cannot show he was discriminated against because he was male.

“His stories of sexual activities involving non-employees, however salacious they may be, are neither sufficient nor relevant to the establishment of an employment discrimination claim recognizable under federal law,” the motion says.

The defendants cite cases in which courts ruled that employers cannot be sued over harassment of an employee's mother or wife.

Roessler began working for Royal Spa as director of business development in June 2008. He says he initially balked at Dapper's requests for invitations to sex parties but eventually relented out of fear for his continued employment at the company.

At the parties, the suit says, Dapper displayed “extremely aggressive behavior” toward Roessler's wife, persisting in his advances even though she rebuffed him. Roessler also alleges Dapper required him to “initiate sex in front of Dapper” at the sexual encounters he arranged and that on one occasion he showed up uninvited at the Roesslers' home.

“Fearing for her husband's job[,] Marcella relented and began to perform oral sex on Dapper,” the suit says.

Roessler claims he was fired in March 2011 in retaliation for “finally taking a stand against Dapper's harassing and unlawful behavior.”

The suit describes plenty of sexually explicit activity — which certainly could have caused Roessler embarrassment and humiliation. While he was initiating sex, he alleges, “Dapper would continually comment about the size of Kevin's penis.”

But the mere fact that harassment has sexual content is generally not sufficient to establish that the harassment amounted to discrimination because of sex. “Sexual activity, as distinguished from sexual identity, is not a discriminatory action covered by the provision of Title VII,” Royal Spa and Dapper say in their motion to dismiss.

The alleged harassment of Marcella Roessler was obviously because she is female. But as a Louisiana judge ruled,

There is no authority or legislative history to support extending the meaning of discrimination “because of sex” to include sexual liaisons with and sexual attractions to third parties not employed by the defendant employer. Cairo v. O.H. Materials Corp., 710 F.Supp. 1069 (1989).

Before Roessler filed his suit, Dapper sued him and his wife for attempted extortion, alleging they threatened to make false claims against Dapper. Marcella Roessler has countersued Dapper for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

By Matthew Heller
On Point



The North Carolina courts continue to be receptive to alienation of affections cases (see link below), with a Pitt County judge awarding $5.9 million to a jilted wife. The award to Dr. Lynn Arcara, a radiologist, came only six months after a Guilford County, N.C., jury awarded a record $9 million to Cynthia Shackelford over the loss of her husband to another woman.

The other woman in Arcara's case was one of her closest friends. Susan Pecoraro allegedly began an affair with Arcara's husband when Arcara was pregnant and she visited the couple in their home to help decorate the nursery.


The legal fuss over defectively manufactured Victoria's Secret undergarments appears to be over, with not a single one of more than a dozen product liability cases (see link below) even reaching the discovery stage.

At least five of the cases were class-action variations on the theme that some "chemical, toxin, or allergen" in Victoria's Secret products was causing women to break out in a rash. All those class actions have been dismissed, three of them in January 2010. Looks like those undies might not have been so unsafe, after all.



Editor's note: On Point's RSS feed has moved to this link.

  • Hotel Sued Over Slaying of Escort by 'Craigslist Killer'

    The mother of a prostitute slain by the “Craigslist killer” at a Marriott hotel in Boston has alleged in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the hotel's operator is liable for her daughter's death because it failed to prevent prostitution from occurring on its premises.
  • Court Extends Doctors' Liability for Prescription Gaffes

    The Utah Supreme Court has given a boost to the battle against prescription drug abuse by ruling that medical professionals can be sued over injuries to a nonpatient that were allegedly caused by  drugs they carelessly prescribed to patients.
  • Girl's Slaying Tests Cruise Line Liability

    The family of a 15-year-old girl who was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout on a Caribbean island has asked an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit that tests the liability of cruise ship operators for onshore injuries to passengers.
  • Bystander Claims "Swoon and Fall" Injuries at Church

    In yet another “swoon and fall” case against a church, an Illinois woman claims she was injured during a church service when a parishioner who was receiving the “spirit” fell backward, knocking several other worshippers into her.
  • Jurors' Comments Fuel New Trial Bid in Bullying Case

    Jurors may have opened the door to a new trial in a Maryland school bullying case by saying they returned a verdict for the defense because they were afraid of setting a bad precedent for school systems throughout the country.
  • Abuse Victim Can Sue Ex-DA Over 'Sexting' Messages

    A Wisconsin judge has protected a domestic violence victim from a rogue prosecutor, finding that she can sue him for sending her text messages in which he pressured her to have sex with him.
  • Four Loko Maker Says Users Knew of Health Dangers

    The maker of Four Loko has previewed its defense of a slew of product liability lawsuits, arguing that the physical effects of the energy drink's mixture of alcohol and caffeine — far from being an undisclosed risk to consumers — are precisely what made it so popular.

U.S. v. Arpaio
Subject: Civil rights
Document: Complaint

Schultz v. Medina Valley
Subject: School prayer
Document: Non-Kumbaya order

Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Verdict

Jackson v. Paula Deen
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Complaint

Marsh v. Air Tran Airways
Subject: Roaches on a plane
Document: Complaint



Peterson/Pryde v. Thyden
Court: Montgomery (Va.) Circuit
Subject: Virginia Tech shootings
Verdict: $8 million

Sheridan v. Cherry
Court: L.A. Superior
Subject: Wrongful termination



Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case