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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Injured Patron Sues Bar Over Perils of Pole-Dancing Print

Even if an Arizona woman who was injured while pole-dancing at a sports bar should have known of the perils of pole-dancing, the owners of the bar may still be liable for failing to install the pole correctly.

ReAnna Hedrick's negligence lawsuit over her accident at a Famous Sam's bar in Mesa, Ariz., appears to be one of first impression since there is no case law that addresses a business owner's liability for a pole-dancing injury to a customer. Cases involving bar patrons who fell while dancing on a counter or while riding a mechanical bull may not be exactly on point.

According to Hedrick's complaint, Famous Sam's constructed two special stages as part of a “Ladies Night” promotion on Sept. 3, 2008. In the middle of one of the stages was a ten-foot-long dancer pole.

After watching “other patrons spin/dance” around the pole, the suit says, Hedrick “took a few turns” herself. But as she was spinning on the pole, “it suddenly, and without warning, came loose, broke, and fell away from the ceiling[,] causing ReAnna to crash to the floor.”

As the pole fell, Hedrick says, she tried to hold onto the jagged top, which sliced off the top of her ring finger. She also suffered “severe injuries to her left side and shoulder” from the impact with the floor.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, alleging Famous Sam's created an unsafe condition and an “unreasonable risk of harm” to patrons by failing to, among other things, properly assemble and erect the pole and install “some form of safety padding or netting in the event of dance pole failure.”

A New York judge recently dismissed the somewhat similar case of Valerie Morris, who slipped and fell, allegedly on something wet, while dancing on top of a bar counter. The doctrine of primary assumption of risk “applies to leisure activities, including dancing,” Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Michael D. Stallman said in Morris v. Red Rock West Saloon.

Famous Sam's could argue that Hedrick voluntarily assumed the risk of injury by dancing on the pole but her case is distinguishable from Morris because she fell from a piece of equipment specially installed by the bar. While Morris testified she knew that “things get spilled” on bar counters, Hedrick says she did not know of the “improper assembly” of the pole.

Mechanical bull cases are similar to Hedrick's in that they also involve equipment rather than standard bar furnishings. But bar patrons commonly sign waivers of liability before they ride mechanical bulls.

Last month, a New York judge found such a waiver enforceable in dismissing a case brought by a man who was thrown off a mechanical bull at the Johnny Utahs bar in Manhattan. The waiver said, “I understand that riding the Mechanical Bull can be dangerous, and that the risk of injury is significant.”

“The entertainment value -- and, indeed, the concept -- of bull riding becomes meaningless without the inherent possibility of falling off,” the Alabama Supreme Court noted in Lilya v. Greater Gulf State Fair, 855 So.2d 1049 (2003).

Hedrick's suit says she “socialized” at Famous Sam's for about two hours before going on the pole but even if she was intoxicated, she could still recover damages for negligent assembly and construction. In addition to her “unsafe condition” theory, she argues that the owners were negligent per se because they failed to obtain a permit to build the stage and pole.

This story linked by:


By Matthew Heller
11/11/09


 

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

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Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case

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