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


Foot-Nibbling Fish Spawn Salon Owner's Rights Suit Print

A first-of-its-kind civil rights lawsuit pits the public health concerns of Arizona regulators against the “economic liberty” of a nail salon owner who wants to provide her customers with the latest fad in foot care -– fish pedicures.

Cindy Vong, owner of LaVie Nails & Spa in Gilbert, Ariz., filed the suit earlier this week, alleging the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology was all wet when it advised her that fish pedicures “constitute a violation of the Board's statutes and rules,” including those requiring sterilization of salon “tools.”

Fish pedicure customers immerse their feet in a tank of warm water filled with toothless, toe-size carp. The sucking action of the fish removes dead skin from the customer's feet, purportedly leaving them smooth and shiny.

Vong charged $30 for 20 minutes of "spa fish therapy" and says it increased her business by 50 percent. But the threat of criminal penalties forced her to stop offering it in September.

“This is a civil rights lawsuit designed to vindicate the rights of Plaintiffs Cindy Vong and LaVie LLC to pursue a legitimate business in the face of Defendants' arbitrary, oppressive, discriminatory, and unlawful actions that prevented her from doing so,” Vong says in her complaint.

The Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think-tank which is representing Vong, is pitching the case as one that “affects the economic liberty of every American. Too many small businesses have been destroyed by overzealous regulation.” The board, it says, acted more to protect cosmetologists from competiton than the public from health risks.

But the outcome of a similar case in Washington state doesn't bode well for Vong. In barring the Peridot Nail Salon in Kent, Wash., from offering fish pedicures, an administrative law judge concluded in a March 25 opinion that the procedure

as it currently exists is inherently and dangerously flawed and creates the potential for undue and serious risk of harm to the public.

The judge cited the report of a physician who told the Washington Department of Licensing: “If you allow this (fish pedicures), having cats lick the feet is the next step! It eliminates the need to clean water tanks!”

Fish pedicures have been popular for some time in countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Turkey. They have spread to salons in the U.S. over the past couple of years, with two species of fish –- the "Garra Rufa" and the larger, cheaper “Chin Chin” -- being used.

Some states, including Florida and Texas, have banned the practice. But Vong began offering it last year in her salon after researching Arizona statutes and regulations and concluding that they did not cover it. “Everything was nicely done and was not unsanitary,” one satisfied customer said on the East Valley Tribune's website.

The cosmetology board's executive director, however, told Vong in an undated letter that fish pedicures violate safety standards in part because “Any tool or piece of equipment used in a pedicure must be stored in a dry storage and disinfected in a very specific way and it is impossible to disinfect the fish coming in contact with your clients' skin in the required manner.”

In her lawsuit, Vong is seeking an injunction forbidding the state from preventing her from offering fish pedicures and an award of costs and attorney's fees. "Despite ... any evidence of harm to the public, Defendants ordered the business closed," she alleges.

Under the rational review standard of judicial scrutiny, the board only has to show that its sinking of Vong's spa fish service was rationally related to the protection of public health. The Peridot decision suggests it may be able to do so.

As a threshold matter, Judge Christy Gerhart Cufley said the licensing department's “classification of fish as a 'tool' is appropriate since it is the fish who are delivering the pedicure service by grooming ('nibbling') on a client's foot.”

“These 'tools' (i.e., the fish),” she continued, “simply cannot be adequately sterilized to the same extent as can inanimate pedicure/manicure instruments. Fish themselves can be carriers of parasites and many other sorts of bacteria and diseases that can be harmful to humans.”

Vong is seeking an injunction forbidding the state from preventing her from offering fish pedicures and an award of costs and attorney's fees. Gustavo E. Schneider, a Goldwater Institute attorney, says he has spoken with Peridot owner Tuyet Bui and

she stated that she believed the decision [in her case] was fueled by a desire to protect politically-connected cosmetologists from competition. She also stated that she felt that she was at a disadvantage by not having hired an attorney to represent her.

Bui did not go to court to challenge the decision. Schneider also notes that it is not binding authority in Arizona.

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By Matthew Heller


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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