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







Pro-Life Students Want Rubber Fetus Ban Overturned Print

The suspensions of seven pro-life students at two Roswell, N.M., high schools for distributing rubber fetuses have given birth to a lawsuit that takes the First Amendment protections for student speech into uncharted territory.

The students, who belong to a religious youth group called Relentless in Roswell, sued school officials last month, alleging their suspensions were unconstitutional. They were disciplined in February after they handed out hundreds of fetus dolls at Goddard and Roswell High Schools before classes.

The complaint describes the dolls as two inches in length and “the actual size and weight of a developing unborn child at 12 weeks’ gestation.” Attached to the dolls was a verse from the Bible: “For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works.”

“With a tangible and compelling communication medium,” the suit says,

Plaintiffs sought to inform the other students of the truth about abortion, to point them to God, the Creator and protector of life in the womb, to encourage them to protect the life of the unborn, and to provide information concerning alternatives to abortion that would result in saving the babies instead of destroying them.

Liberty Counsel, a conservative advocacy group, is representing the plaintiffs, who are seeking injunctive relief and the return of dolls that were confiscated by school officials.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969), officials can only censor student speech that would seriously disrupt classroom or school activities. And pro-life activists in the nation’s schools have a track record of success in cases involving such materials as buttons, t-shirts and flyers.

Earlier this year, a New Jersey judge found a student was improperly suspended for distributing pro-life flyers, noting there was no evidence that other students were upset by the flyers and “this somehow caused a disruption to the learning environment.” C.H. v. Bridgeton Board of Education.

But there appears to be no case that addresses the distribution in schools of a graphic pro-life prop such as a rubber fetus.

The Relentless in Roswell plaintiffs started out handing out more innocuous religious materials, including candy canes and painted “affirmation rocks.” On Jan. 29, they first attempted to distribute the rubber fetuses to which they had attached, in addition to the Bible verse, contact information for a church-affiliated pregnancy counseling center.

Before classes started that day, a Goddard High administrator allegedly told the Relentless students, “It’s time to shut this down ... Some people are getting offended.” He then confiscated containers holding hundreds of the rubber babies.

At the Roswell High campus, the principal sent an e-mail to faculty which said the dolls should be confiscated since “These materials have NOT been approved from our central office for distribution.”

The prior approval issue is likely to be part of the Roswell Independent School District's defense. The district's policy says in part: “Promotional activities must be approved by the school principal.”

But the Relentless students say in their suit that the rubber babies were not "'advertising' or 'promotional' items in any commercial sense; they 'promoted' only [pro-life] ideas."

As far as offensiveness, the rubber fetuses may be more extreme than flyers and t-shirts. But in the recent “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, the Supreme Court rejected the idea that student speech is “proscribable because it is plainly 'offensive.'" Morse v. Frederick, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007).

Even if the dolls upset some students, the Roswell district won't carry the day unless it can show "a disruption to the learning environment."


By Matt Reynolds
7/14/10


 

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