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


Child Neglect Case Pits Judge Against Appeals Court Print

Recent appeals court rulings suggest a Georgia judge, J. David Roper, is something of a loose cannon — one who was even willing to defy the authority of a higher court in a high-profile child neglect case.

Judge David Roper

Christine Long and her ex-husband, Jeremy Long, lived with their 11 children in a remote Hephzibah, Ga., shack without electricity or running water. Ten of the children were minors and none of them had ever been to school or seen a dentist or doctor.

After the Longs were charged with cruelty to children, one expert testified that of the estimated one hundred child neglect cases she had reviewed, the Long family was one of the three worst she had ever seen.

Roper, a Superior Court judge who sits in Augusta, was assigned the Longs' divorce case. In an extraordinary order, he declared “void” a March 2010 ruling in which the Georgia Court of Appeals said he overstepped his authority by blocking the return of the four oldest Long children to their mother.

Reversing Roper for a second time in a recent decision, the appeals court reminded him that "[A]ny ruling by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals in a case shall be binding in all subsequent proceedings in that case in the lower court” and “A 'trial court ... cannot decide to disregard the opinions of this court.'”

One Georgia lawyer said he had never heard of a judge simply setting aside an appeals court order.

Roper has previously displayed a propensity for judicial activism. In other recent cases, the Court of Appeals reversed him for ruling that a foster parent could not adopt a child because her out-of-wedlock relationship with a man was “immoral” and the Georgia Supreme Court reversed him for ordering a divorcing couple to pay their taxes.

“[A]s a general matter, our State courts are not authorized to impose income tax liability,” the court noted in Symms v. Symms, 707 S.E.2d 368 (2011).

Police discovered the Long family living in squalor on July 31, 2008 while looking for suspects in the theft of a chainsaw. The minor children, ranging in age from 1 to 17, were removed from their parents' custody and placed in foster homes.

With the child cruelty charges against the Longs still pending, social workers recommended that the four oldest children be returned to their mother. At the request of prosecutors, Roper intervened, enjoining the Burke County Department of Family and Children Services from “placing any of the [Longs'] children to live with [Christine Long] or visit with her unsupervised.”

The order prevented a juvenile court judge from considering the social workers' recommendation at a hearing scheduled for later the same day.

Roper's intervention appears to have been motivated by concern over the children's welfare. And he received plaudits from the community, with the Augusta Chronicle newspaper praising him for “having the courage to get involved and for refusing to close the hearing to the public.”

But in March 2010, the appeals court said Roper was wrong to interfere, finding he had no “good reason” to conclude that he was “in a better position to address the Department's placement decisions than the juvenile court.”

Under normal procedure, Roper was then supposed to enter a judgment confirming the findings of the appeal court. On Aug. 3, 2010, however, he declined to “make the decision of the Court of Appeals the judgment of this court.”

An order in a divorce case in which child custody is an issue cannot be directly appealed, Roper said, citing Todd v. Todd, a case decided by the Georgia Supreme Court on the same day as the appeals court's decision.

“This court is reluctant to declare a decision of the Court of Appeals void; however, based upon the decision in Todd, this court is compelled to do so,” Roper concluded.

By that time, the juvenile court had terminated the parental rights of both Longs, allowing authorities to put their children up for adoption. But the appeals court could not let Roper's defiance go unchecked.

“The trial court disregarded [its] duty and committed grave error by refusing to give full effect to the binding decision of this court,” the court said.

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.
  • 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.
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    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