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


Fan's Suit Over Stray Sausage Throw Can Go to Trial Print

A Missouri judge has refused to toss the Hotdog Toss case, ruling that a jury should decide whether the Kansas City Royals' “Sluggerrr” mascot recklessly hurled a foil-wrapped wiener at a fan, injuring him in the eye.

The Royals struck out with what is usually an effective defense in sports injury lawsuit, On Point has learned, as Jackson County Circuit Court Judge W. Brent Powell said John Coomer can proceed with his negligence claim arising from the fateful frankfurter toss at a game in September 2009. Sluggerrr's errant “behind-the-back” throw allegedly detached Coomer's retina.

“While Plaintiff may have assumed the risk inherent and common to a baseball game, including the Hotdog Toss, Plaintiff did not assume the risk created by these alleged acts of negligence committed by Defendant and its employee,” Powell said in a Feb. 9 opinion denying the Royals' motion for summary judgment.

Courts have routinely found that baseball fans assume the risk of being hit by a foul ball during a game. The Royals argued that the same legal doctrine applies to “customary activities” associated with the game of baseball.

“It is simply undeniable that the Hotdog Toss is an activity so intimately intertwined with Royals baseball that one who attends a Royals game assumes the risks associated with the Hotdog Toss,” the team said in a brief.

But Powell said the Royals could be held liable for “the alleged negligent manner in which Defendant and Sluggerrr conducted the Hotdog Toss.” Specifically, he noted,

Plaintiff alleges in his Petition that ... “[i]nstead of throwing the hotdog at an arch high into the stands, Slug[gerrr] lost control, or was reckless with his throw, and threw the hotdog directly into Plaintiff, who was sitting a few feet away.”

The mascot's throw allegedly traveled from the top of the third base dugout to Coomer's seat six rows back. Coomer is seeking at least $25,000 in damages, alleging, among other things, that the Royals failed to adequately train Sluggerrr “as to the proper method of throwing hotdogs into the stands of Kauffman Stadium.”

“The hotdog that struck Plaintiff's face was thrown with sufficient force to knock Plaintiff's hat off his head and into the row of seats behind him,” Coomer said in a brief.

The case could set a sports injury law precedent because no court has directly addressed whether assumption of risk applies not only to the game of baseball itself but also to an “entertaining sideshow” to a game.

In the summary judgment motion, the Royals noted that Coomer is “a lifetime baseball fan” who knew “he was likely to experience promotional activites where items would be thrown into the stands” and “admits he chose to look away from the hotdog being thrown in his direction. Can Plaintiff really be heard to complain when he was struck by that very same hotdog?”

“Allowing Plaintiff's claim to survive summary judgment,” the team continued,

would ignore the 'peanuts and cracker jacks' of baseball. It would ignore the fact that, today, attending a baseball game at a major league ballpark is about more than the game itself.

Coomer responded that the negligent and/or reckless launching of hot dogs “is not an essential or integral part of the playing of a baseball game,” and

if Defendant owes its invitees no duty of care with regard to “common” promotional activities, then there is nothing to prevent Sluggerrr ... from firing t-shirts or hotdogs from the mechanical cannon — not into the upper decks — but instead directly at someone's 10-year-old daughter sitting in the first row of the stands.

Trial in the case has been set for March 7. Judge Powell did dismiss Coomer's battery claim, finding “no genuine material issue of fact ... that Defendant or its employees intended to harm or offend anyone, let alone Plaintiff.”


  • A jury returned a defense verdict March 9, 2011, finding Sluggerrr did not throw the hot dog in a negligent manner. “I’m hugely disappointed, but I respect the outcome,” Coomer told the Kansas City Star.

  • Coomer didn't really respect the verdict. He filed an appeal June 10, 2011.

  • By Matthew Heller


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

    • Hotel Sued Over Slaying of Escort by 'Craigslist Killer'

      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.
    • Four Loko Maker Says Users Knew of Health Dangers

      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