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


No Golden Egg for Rail Worker in Goose Attack Case Print

The case of a West Virginia railroad worker who was attacked by a nesting goose did not fly with a jury, which found that his employer did not negligently fail to warn him of the hazard presented by the goose.

Aaron Richards was the conductor of a CSX Transportation train which had stopped at a railyard near Ravenswood, W. Va., to pick up some cars. He was seeking nearly $24,000 in damages for the injuries he suffered when the goose attacked him as he was inspecting the train's brakes.

A jury in Huntington returned a defense verdict last week after a one-day trial of Richards' lawsuit under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), apparently agreeing with CSX that it neither knew or should have known of the goose –- even though the same bird had startled another worker in the same yard just four days before it attacked Richards.

Rick Dillon, also a CSX conductor, did not suffer any injuries from his encounter with the goose. In what may have been crucial testimony, he said he told his engineer about the incident but did not report it to a supervisor.

“You didn't think the incident was a big deal?” CSX attorney Marc E. Williams (Huddleston Bolen, Huntington) asked him.

“Right,” he replied.

Richards' attorney says Dillon should have been trained to report the prior attack. “That would have allowed the [goose's] nest to be removed or marked” as a hazard, William Kvas (Hunegs LeNeave & Kvas, Minneapolis), told On Point.

FELA requires employers to provide a reasonably safe workplace and, as a federal appeals court has said, “[T]he plaintiff in a FELA case may reach the jury with only circumstantial evidence of very slight employer negligence playing a part in producing the plaintiff's injury.” Dewalt v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 869 F.2d 1489 (1989).

In the seminal case of Gallick v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., 372 U.S. 108 (1963), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a jury award to a railroad crew foreman who lost both of his legs after suffering an insect bite.

Richards testified that he was performing the brake inspection at about 1:15 a.m. on April 23, 2005 when he heard a hissing noise. “As I crouched down, [the goose] came up toward the side of my face,” he said. “It had its wings up. I fell backwards and twisted my ankle on the ties and debris.”

CSX removed the nest from the yard after the attack on Richards. “[I]t was a hazard,” a supervisor testified in a deposition. “We had to get rid of it.” Evidence showed that the nest was not newly constructed.

Dillon's run-in with the goose also occurred at night. If CSX had at least marked the area of the nest with orange cones, Kvas says, “An employee, working in the rain and darkness, would at least be aware of the location of a potential hazard."

But the lack of evidence that management knew of the prior incident may ultimately have doomed Richards' case. “What evidence exists showing there was a hazard?” Williams asked in his closing argument. "None. You have to gauge the case and the railroad's conduct on what information was known beforehand.”

Despite the verdict, Kvas is hoping that the case “will cause CSX to revisit its procedures for warning employees about potential hazards. After all, CSX admitted that there was nothing that Mr. Richards could have done to prevent this accident.”

Other Richards v. CSX Sources

This story linked by:

By Matthew Heller


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

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    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.
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    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.
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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