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


Crack-Dealing Suit Against Mistress Goes up in Smoke Print

The ex-lover of a Northern California man did not injure his wife by providing him with crack cocaine during their two-year affair, a jury has ruled in a case of sex, drugs and a law that makes drug dealers liable for the injuries they cause.

The defense verdict means the wife of Marc Siciliano, 53, of San Rafael will not recover any damages under California's Drug Dealer Liability Act (DDLA). Cynthia Siciliano, 46, alleged Jodie Graham-Potts, 49, of Petaluma was liable for the “willful, reckless, or negligent actions” of her husband related to his cocaine use.

Cynthia Siciliano's attorney asked the jury to award her at least $100,000 in economic and emotional distress damages. “What happened in this marriage is more than just an affair,” Robert Diskint of San Rafael argued. “It is a husband being destroyed by crack cocaine, provided to him by Ms. Graham-Potts.”

Marc Siciliano, a former minor league baseball catcher, has reunited with his wife and testified against Graham-Potts, saying she introduced him to crack and “cooked” it for him because he didn't know how. He described smoking crack as a “full-body orgasm” that caused him to mistreat his wife and nine-year-old daughter.

The plaintiffs' evidence included a homemade sex-and-drugs videotape in which Graham-Potts lights a drug pipe and offers it to Marc Siciliano. “Let's get this party started,” she says.

But during a 10-day trial in Sonoma County Superior Court, Graham-Potts said Marc Siciliano was already using drugs when she met him in 2003 and would show up for their trysts with a briefcase containing drugs. Her attorney argued she was not responsible for any suffering resulting from their shared drug use.

“The Drug Dealer Liability Act was never meant for this sort of action,” Lisa L. Gygax of Forestville tells On Point. “It was clearly a revenge situation wherein the wife and her lawyer father sought to punish her husband and the defendant, who was waiting for the husband to divorce his wife and marry her.”

Graham-Potts says the trial was a "humiliating experience" and she is hoping Cynthia Siciliano does not appeal. "Let the healing begin for all involved," she urged.

California passed the DDLA in 1997 after a lobbying campaign by the late actor Carroll O'Connor, who had blamed a drug dealer for his son's death. “A person who sold, administered, or furnished an illegal controlled substance” to a drug user, the law states, is liable for “injury resulting from” the use of the drug.

At least 13 states now have such laws but they have rarely been used, in part because plaintiffs or their relatives have to admit to using drugs. In 2007, the South Dakota Supreme Court found a pharmacy was not liable under that state's law for the death of a man who overdosed on prescription morphine he had picked up for a disabled friend. Schafer v. Shopko Stores, 741 N.W.2d 758.

A similar lawsuit against a pharmacy -- Whittemore v. Owens Healthcare-Retail Pharmacy –- is pending before a California appeals court.

Graham-Potts and Marc Siciliano began their affair after he hired her as a driver for his limousine service. They broke up after he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and, during a fight, threw a water bottle at her, breaking her nose.

A few months later, Cynthia Siciliano's nephew discovered the videotape in the couple's pool house and she confronted her husband, who admitted the affair. She filed her lawsuit in 2008 after consulting with her father, attorney Lee E. Shroyer of Mill Valley, also naming her daughter as a plaintiff.

While her husband was using drugs supplied by Graham-Potts, she alleged in the complaint, he abandoned her “for days at a time,” had “violent fits of anger,” was unavailable for medical emergencies and caused her to develop stress-related shingles and insomnia. “He became a monster,” she testified.

But under cross-examination, Marc Siciliano described the hedonistic lifestyle he led before meeting Graham-Potts, including using drugs with others at his home while his wife was at work. When Cynthia found stray bags of methamphetamine in the house, he told her they belonged to a friend.

“My client is not proud of what happened,” Gygax said in her opening statement. “But this public flogging ... it's just revenge.” After the verdict was announced, a juror told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa there wasn't clear evidence that Graham-Potts provided drugs to Marc Siciliano.

In passing the DDLA, California lawmakers cited the need to compensate “those who have suffered harm as a result of the marketing and distribution of illegal controlled substances.” But the Siciliano case shows the danger that the law will be misused as a “heart balm” by the scorned spouses of drug users.

Like most states, California does not allow “heart balm” or alienation of affections actions.

This story linked by:

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