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


Rep. Kucinich's Olive Injury Suit May Not Be Legal Pits Print

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is getting kicked in the teeth over a dental injury lawsuit involving an olive pit but a vodka martini precedent suggests the House cafeteria may be liable for serving him a defective sandwich wrap.

The Ohio Democrat allegedly cracked a tooth in April 2008 when he bit down on a “dangerous substance” — namely, an unpitted olive — in the sandwich. “Said sandwich wrap was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption,” he says in a complaint filed earlier this month in the District of Columbia,

in that it was represented to contain pitted olives, yet unknown to plaintiff contained an unpitted olive or olives which plaintiff did not reasonably expect to be present in the food prepared for him, and could not visually detect prior to consumption.

The defendants include Restaurant Associates, the operator of the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria that served Kucinich the sandwich, and the suppliers of the olive. Kucinich is seeking $150,000 in damages for “serious and permanent” dental injuries and “significant pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Commentators are having a field day pouring vitriol on the suit. “An olive pit is forseeable [sic] ('natural' as we lawyers are wont to say) and not a foreign object like a piece of glass or hunk of metal in a sandwich,” one attorney said on “DK’s best chance is that the olive pit is probably half as large as his head.”

But in 1971, the D.C. Court of Appeals recognized the “implied warranty” claim of a man who, in the course of drinking a vodka martini, bit down on an olive pit, breaking his tooth. Philip Hochberg had extracted the olive from the drink with his fingers, seen a hole in the end of the olive, and put it in his mouth.

The restaurant that served the offending martini argued it was not liable under the “foreign-natural” standard for food injury claims since the olive pit was “naturally a part of or associated with the type of food in which it [was] found.” The appeals court, however, relied on the “reasonable expectation” test in finding that the trial judge should have allowed the case to go to a jury verdict.

“Because a substance is natural to a product in one stage of preparation does not mean necessarily that it will be reasonably anticipated by the consumer in the final product served,” it said in Hochberg v. O'Donnell's Restaurant, 272 A.2d 846.

Hochberg admitted his case would have been more tenuous if he had not seen the hole in the olive. “This narrows the problem to whether on these facts he was reasonably justified in expecting there was no pit in the olive and could chew without care,” the court concluded. “What is to be reasonably expected by the consumer is a jury question in most cases.”

Kucinich is alleging the cafeteria breached its implied warranty that the sandwich was fit for consumption. And he could certainly argue that he was reasonably justified in expecting the olives in his sandwich were pitted and he could eat them without having to check for pits.

The Iowa Supreme Court adopted a similar logic in a case against olive suppliers, finding that

in the case of processed foods, consumers may develop reasonable expectations that certain components of food products in their natural state that serve to impede human consumption will be removed. Specifically, we believe that the purchaser of pimento-stuffed olives may reasonably anticipate that the olive pits have been removed. Kolarik v. Cory Intern. Corp., 721 N.W.2d 159 (2006).


  • Kucinich announced Jan. 28, 2011 that he had settled the case for "an amount all parties believe reflects the actual out-of-pocket expenses related to this incident." The statement says the impact with the olive pit split his tooth in half, requiring extensive repairs, and none of his dental expenses were covered by insurance.

  • This story linked by:

    By Matthew Heller


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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