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


$185K Award More Than Peanuts for Restaurant Print

peanutsA slip-and-fall case alleging a restaurant created an “extremely dangerous condition” by having customers and employees throw peanut shells on the floor has turned out to be worth a lot more than peanuts as a jury awarded $185,000 to a Texas woman and her husband.

Angela Bishoff appears to be the first plaintiff ever to win a slip-and-fall case involving a restaurant's peanut shell-throwing policy. She broke her kneecap after slipping on “peanuts and peanut debris” at the Temple, Texas, location of the Texas Roadhouse (Nasdaq: TXRH) chain.

The verdict includes $50,000 for Bishoff's pain and mental anguish and $58,000 for past and future medical expenses. The Bell County District Court Jury also awarded her husband $10,000 for loss of consortium.

“Defendants breached their duty to Plaintiff by employing a dangerous practice of throwing, and encouraging others to throw, peanut shells and debris on the floor when they knew or should have known that such activity was likely to cause people to slip and fall,” Bishoff alleged in her complaint.

Texas Roadhouse argued during the trial that the peanut shells were an “open and obvious” condition and a plaintiff's verdict would mean circuses, carnivals and sports stadiums would have to stop selling peanuts.

But under Texas law, a condition is not open and obvious if a plaintiff does not have “knowledge and appreciation thereof.”

“Even though the shells may have been open and obvious, [Bishoff] did not have an appreciation that they could be dangerous,” Bishoff attorney Vic Feazell of Austin, Texas, tells On Point. “Also, the few shells that may still contain a peanut in them are not 'open and obvious' and are more dangerous.”

Bishoff fell in an area of the restaurant with a hardwood floor, which, unlike a concrete floor, would not absorb the oil from peanuts and peanut shells. “If this had happened on the concrete section of the restaurant, I don't think we would have won,” Feazell admits.

The plaintiff did not win a complete victory since the jury found her 50 percent to blame for her injuries, agreeing to some extent with the defense that Bishoff, who was wearing high heels, failed to exercise ordinary care when she walked across the restaurant floor.

The finding of comparative negligence reduces the jury's award to $92,500. In Texas, a plaintiff whose fault is more than 50 percent is not entitled to any damages.

Feazell doubts the verdict will deter peanut sales since he has “never seen a carnival or circus held on a hardwood floor and the seats in Texas Stadium certainly aren't on hardwood.” He does suggest that restaurants with a peanut shell-throwing policy “should post a warning sign or sweep more often or [not] use hardwood floors.”

A similar case against Texas Roadhouse in Texarkana is scheduled for trial in January. “Peanut shells, if any, on the floor ... would be an open, obvious and unconcealed condition, and therefore, Defendant did not owe Plaintiff a duty to warn,” the company argued in a motion for summary judgment.


  • Texas Roadhouse said in a statement that "we strongly disagree with the verdict ... We believe the law in Texas, as it pertains specifically to premises liability causes of action and 'open and obvious" conditions, is clear and supports our position that Texas Roadhouse had no duty to warn the plaintiff of this open and obvious condition. We are currently weighing our options regarding appeal and will make our decision in the very near future."

  • Texas Roadhouse settled the case in Texarkana rather than go to trial.

  • Other Bishoff v. Texas Roadhouse Sources

    By Matthew Heller


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

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      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.
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    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