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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• 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 liarscheatersrus.com. "[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




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Bounce House Fatal Accident Case Takes Legal Leap Print

Doris Crawford

In what may be the first wrongful-death case of its kind, the family of a Texas woman allege she died as a result of a bizarre accident at an indoor playground where she was watching children play in a “bounce house.”

The Wazoo's playground in Argyle, Texas -- “Where Fun is Inflated,” says its logo -- features no fewer than nine inflatable amusement devices. Parents sign a waiver releasing Wazoo's of any liability for injuries to children using the equipment.

According to a lawsuit filed last month, Doris Crawford, 84, went to Wazoo's on May 16, 2008 to watch her niece's children play. While the children were in one of the bounce houses, her daughters allege, she “was suddenly, and without warning, knocked to the ground.”

“Older children inside that particular 'bounce house' flung themselves against the mesh 'wall' and slammed into Ms. Crawford, who was standing on the outside watching her grandniece and grandnephew,” the suit says.

Crawford fractured her hip in the fall, “which ultimately caused her untimely death” the following day. Her niece, Donna Minke, told CBS News 11 in Dallas-Ft. Worth that she died of a heart attack two hours before she was scheduled to have surgery for the hip injury.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3,500 people, mostly young children, were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to inflatable amusement devices including bounce houses in 2006.

Wazoo's waiver wouldn't apply to Crawford's accident. But the wrongful-death case raises an issue of first impression --- whether a playground operator can be held liable for an injury to a bounce house bystander.

Business owners are generally not liable for a potentially dangerous condition which should have been obvious to someone using the premises for recreational purposes. But they do have a duty to protect invitees from an “unreasonable risk of harm.”

Crawford's daughters argue that Wazoo's was negligent in failing to protect her from the risk of injury from children slamming against the walls of a bounce house and from older children playing in a bounce house designated for younger children.

“At the time of the occurrence, there were no Wazoo's Argyle employees, representatives or agents monitoring the children in the bounce house at issue or in that particular section of the recreational area,” the suit says.

Minke says she warned Crawford to stay away from the bounce house as she watched the kids, but two 12-year-old boys jumped so aggressively that the bounce house "knocked my aunt backwards. It projected her across the room."

Safety experts warn against allowing younger children to bounce with older children and  recommend that bouncers should keep away from the netting, columns and walls of the bounce house. Wazoo's rules include “no climbing on inflatable walls.”

But in a somewhat similar case, the Texas Court of Appeals cleared an amusement park of liability for an attack on a woman by a goat in a petting zoo. “Under the facts of the case at bar ' ... nothing short of prophetic ken could have anticipated the happening of the combination of events which resulted in the injury of the person of the plaintiff,'” it said in Lewis v. Great Southwest Corp., 473 S.W.2d 228 (1971).

The most common forms of inflatable-ride injury are collisions between children and falling out of the bouncer. And it would be “nothing short of prophetic ken” to anticipate that Crawford would be knocked over while standing outside a bounce house.

UPDATE

  • The case was dismissed July 12, 2011 after the parties reached a settlement.


  • This story linked by:


    By Matthew Heller
    5/10/09

     

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