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




Alltop_125x125.jpg







Judge Gets Joke of “Hot Chicks with Douchebags” Print

The “satirical humor” of “Hot Chicks with Douchebags” protects its publisher from being sued by three New Jersey women who are depicted with alleged douchebags in the book, a judge has ruled.

Yvette Gorzelany, Joanna Obiedzinski and Paulina Pakos were all photographed with men at a Clifton, N.J., nightclub in June 2007. After those photographs showed up in “Hot Chicks with Douchebags,” they filed a guilt-by-douchebag-association case against Simon & Schuster –- even though they were not identified anywhere in the book.

“[T]he authors depict these Plaintiffs as females who date dubious men,” the complaint, which alleged infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and defamation, said.

Unlike the thin-skinned plaintiffs, Bergen County (N.J.) Superior Court Judge Menelaos W. Toskos got the joke and summarily dismissed the case, finding author Jay Louis did not make any statements about the women that were “reasonably susceptible to a defamatory meaning.”

“An examination of the entire publication compels the Court to conclude that a reasonable person would determine that the book Hot Chicks With Douchebags is intended to be satirical humor,” Toskos said in a Feb. 6 opinion. “While it may in some eyes be vulgar and tasteless, it definitely is not an assertion of fact that anyone would take seriously.”

In a similar case, an appeals court said a teacher could not sue the publisher of a school yearbook for using a photo of her seated next to another teacher who has a hand raised to his forehead. The caption for the photo read, “Not tonight Ms. Salek. I have a headache.” Salek v. Passaic Collegiate School, 255 N.J. Super. 355 (1992).

“There is no libel where, as here, the material is susceptible of only non-defamatory meaning and is clearly understood as being parody, satire, humor, or fantasy,” the court said.

Toskos found that case “instructive” and went on to cite several examples of the “obvious attempts at satirical humor” in “Hot Chicks with Douchebags:”

For example, how can a person reasonably believe that in 1981 archaeologist Renee Emile Bellaqua uncovered in a cave in Gali Israel a highly controversial Third Century religious scroll suggesting that the “douchey/hotty” coupling was a troublesome facet in early social religious structures? Or would a reasonable person believe that Jean-Paul Sartre stated “man is condemned to be douchey because once thrown into the world he is responsible for every douchey thing that he does”? Or that John Hopkins has a Department of Scrotology or that there was a Theban King Seqenenra Tag, in ancient Egypt known as “gito of the southern city”?

The decision does not augur well for a similar case filed in Las Vegas by a man who is described as a douchebag in the book. Louis wrote of Michael Minelli that his “popped-collar, spikey-haired presence was so far beyond regular douche, so far beyond uberdouche, he could spontaneously create a new element on the periodic tables -- Douche Nine.”

UPDATE

  • No doubt recognizing he had no chance of prevailing, Minelli voluntarily dismissed his case March 18, 2009.


  • By Matthew Heller
    2/12/09


     

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

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