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 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


Court Bars Molester From Suing Parents of Her Victim Print

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has refused to follow a convicted child molester “down the rabbit hole” and allow her to sue the parents of the 13-year-old boy she assaulted for failing to protect him from her.

Ann Knopf

The boy and his father sued Ann Knopf, a former Prescott, Wisc., substitute teacher, in October 2008 after she pleaded guilty to assaulting the boy and was sentenced to nine months in jail. During a five-month relationship, she allegedly had sex with Jacob Brekken at her home while other members of her family slept.

The lawsuit alleged sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. Knopf responded in extraordinary fashion — by filing a counterclaim against Jacob's father and a third-party complaint against his mother in which she accused them of contributory negligence.

In one pleading, Knopf's attorney, John P. Runde of Wausau, Wisc., reached the heights of chutzpah, suggesting Jacob's parents helped cause his injuries by trying to “find out for sure” who he was involved with rather than preventing him from having continued contacts with her.

Christopher and Cheryl Brekken, who are divorced, had intercepted their son's e-mail communications from someone calling herself “Mara S” after they began to suspect he was involved in an inappropriate relationship but did not cut off his e-mail access. Cheryl told police she wanted proof her son was involved with Knopf.

“The satisfaction of saying, 'I got you, Mara' and, 'I know it's you and I know it was you' is cold comfort for Jacob, who now has the experiences that are alleged to be causing him continual harm,” Runde said.

But in a Sept. 14 opinion, the Court of Appeals concluded that Knopf had failed to identify a negligent act and, as a matter of public policy, the Brekkens could not be held liable for a negligent failure to protect Jacob.

“Knopf’s assignment of blame to Jacob’s parents represents convoluted reasoning reminiscent of Lewis Carroll,” the court said. “We will not follow down the rabbit hole and open the door for a child molester to sue the victim’s parents for their failure to lock their child away or for their ineffectiveness in trying to stop the child from being sexually abused.”

Knopf was a substitute teacher at Prescott Middle School, where Jacob was a student. Her relationship with him began in January 2007 and his parents became suspicious after, among other things, they found an empty condom wrapper in his belongings.

Jacob's father installed spyware on his computer and, the appeals court noted, intercepted communications between him and an individual calling herself “Mara S” and “Island girl” that “suggested Jacob was surreptitiously meeting with someone for amorous purposes.”

The Brekkens “spoke on a daily basis about their investigations, but lacked complete certainty about who 'Mara S' and 'Island girl' were,” the court said.

Late on the night of May 17, 2007, Cheryl Brekken discovered Jacob was missing from home and called her ex-husband. He found her car near Knopf's home and, after confronting the teacher, called police. Jacob showed up a short time later “with the zipper of his jeans open.”

Knopf's lawyer claimed Jacob's parents were at fault for “allowing admittedly strange and disturbing contacts between their son and a person they suspected was Ann, who they knew to be mentally ill, to continue without efforts to contain or prevent those contacts."

“The circumstances in this case require that parents concerned about a 'weird' and potentially sexual relationship between their 13-year old son and an adult do more than simply try to find out who the person is,” Runde said.

But the appeals court affirmed a Pierce County Circuit Court judge who summarily dismissed her claims. “Although we rarely preclude liability on public policy grounds at the summary judgment stage,” the court ruled,

When a case is so extreme that it would shock the conscience of society to impose liability, the courts may step in and hold as a matter of law that there is no liability. As a matter of public policy, we cannot allow Knopf to defeat the deterrent effect of liability for the sexual assaults by shifting blame to others.

By Matthew Heller


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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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    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.
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    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.
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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