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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• 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 liarscheatersrus.com. "[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




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Guest Can Sue Motel 6 Over Attack by Woman's Pimp Print

A guest who paid for sex with a prostitute at a Motel 6 did not assume the risk of being attacked several hours later by the prostitute's pimp, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled in an unusual premises liability lawsuit against the motel operator.

Motel 6 of Washington, Pa.

The ruling allows Gabriel Bonilla to proceed to trial with his suit alleging that inadequate security at a Motel 6 in Washington, Pa., resulted in him being slashed with a knife from ear to throat. His attackers were two men — Trey Willis and Richard Pruden — who had been offering women for sex in a room at the motel.

Bonilla might seem to be profiting from the crime of having sex with a prostitute, U.S. District Judge David Stewart Cercone said, but he would only be barred from recovering damages from the motel if a jury found that “such activity was a substantial factor in producing his injury.”

Motel 6 Operating argued it could not liable for Bonilla's injuries because paying for sex is an illegal and “obviously dangerous activity.”

But Cercone found no “evidence to support the proposition that plaintiff knowingly assumed the risk of getting slashed or violently assaulted by paying for sex” and cited Bonilla's testimony that prostitution is legal and “normal” in his native Honduras.

“Accepting plaintiff's statements as true, the evidence indicates that plaintiff was not subjectively aware of any risks in his decision to pay Pruden $30.00 to have sex,” Cercone said in denying Motel 6's motion for summary judgment.

Richard Pruden

According to testimony, Willis and Pruden rented Room 227 at the motel on June 13, 2008 to “party” with several young women. Around 9 p.m., the group decided to make an impromptu pornographic movie and, after a crowd of men gathered to watch through the curtains, the women agreed to offer their sexual services for money.

Bonilla, a carpenter, was staying in the neighboring Room 225 while working on a construction project. He testified that Pruden approached him and asked him if he was interested in having sex with one of the women for $30.

After his session with the prostitute, Bonilla said, he went to sleep. Around 1:30 a.m., he said, he stepped outside his room to smoke a cigarette. A fight began, with Pruden calling him a “faggot,” punching him in the face and breaking his nose. Willis joined in, slashing him with a 3-1/2-inch knife blade.

Bonilla filed his suit in June 2009, alleging Motel 6 failed to take reasonable steps to protect its guests from the criminal acts of third parties. Among other things, the motel, which had a long history of criminal activity on its premises, did not employ security guards and its only surveillance camera monitored only the lobby.

Willis said the fight with Pruden broke out after Bonilla tried to have anal sex with the prostitute, persisting even after he was warned not to. And as a matter of law, Motel 6 said, “This Court should recognize that procuring sex through pimps is an illegal and obviously dangerous activity and that innkeepers cannot be held liable when a guest patronizes a prostitute and is injured as a result.”

“[T]he duty to protect customers engaging in illegal activities would be an extraordinary burden on motels,” it argued in the summary judgment motion.

But Pennsylvania law requires a “subjective awareness” of risk and Cercone ruled that “this is not a case where the evidence demonstrates or even suggests that the plaintiff subjectively perceived a danger or risk associated with paying for sex.”

In his deposition, Bonilla said of prostitution, “In my country that's normal. There are zones where they sell women freely and you can get a license for that.” According to the U.S. State Department, adult prostitution is “legal and relatively widespread” in Honduras.

As for whether Bonilla's patronage of a prostitute was a substantial cause of his injury, Cercone noted that, according to the plaintiff's testimony, 3-1/2 hours elapsed between his “business transaction” with Pruden and the subsequent attack.

In addition, the judge said, there was evidence that “Pruden‟s aggressive and confrontational behavior toward the plaintiff was caused by the excessive amounts of liquor and drugs he consumed and this was the stimulus underlying the attack.”

Willis and Pruden are both currently serving sentences of four to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated assault and other charges.

UPDATE

  • The case was dismissed Dec. 29, 2011 after the parties reached a settlement.


  • This story linked by:


    By Matthew Heller
    9/22/11

     

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