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 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


What Happened in Vegas Lands Man in Jilted Bride Suit Print

For Robert Leighton, what happened in Vegas allegedly didn't stay there. And now his ex-fiancée is suing him for breaching his duty of “implied fidelity” by having sex with a woman he met in Las Vegas, where he had gone for his bachelor party.

Lauren Serafin

Robert Leighton

Leighton's encounter with a woman identified only as “Danielle” allegedly occurred five weeks before he was due to marry Lauren Serafin in Chicago. After he returned home from Vegas, he called off the wedding.

In a complaint filed last week, Serafin is not only suing Leighton under an Illinois law that allows claims for breach of a promise to marry but limits a plaintiff's recovery to wedding expenses. She is also going after him for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), which entitles her to compensatory and punitive damages.

Serafin (Hennessy & Roach, Chicago) and Leighton (Sidley Austin, Chicago) are both lawyers. “[B]ecause of the fact that Plaintiff and Defendant were engaged to be married, Defendant had a fiduciary duty of implied fidelity,” she says.

The lawsuit is the second of its kind to be filed in Chicago in the past three months. Dominique Buttitta — yet another lawyer — sued her ex-fiancé Dec. 10, alleging he broke his promise to marry her and acted outrageously by, among other things, “receiving lap dances and other physical contact” from strippers at his bachelor party.

Both plaintiffs may have a valid claim for wedding costs — Serafin is seeking $62,814.71 while Buttitta has asked for $95,942.11.

But the IIED claims seem to be exactly the sort of thing that Illinois lawmakers wanted to abolish when they enacted the Breach of Promise Act in 1947. “The best interests of the people of the state,” the law says,

will be served by limiting the damages recoverable in [breach-of-promise] actions and by leaving any punishment of wrongdoers guilty of alienation of affections to proceedings under the criminal laws of the state, rather than to the imposition of punitive, exemplary, vindictive, or aggravated damages in actions for alienation of affections.

Serafin says Leighton made his marital promise on July 2, 2009 and she booked a banquet hall at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago hotel for the wedding. Other expenses included her wedding dress, bachelorette party, and airline reservations for the honeymoon in Bora Bora.

On July 16, 2010, Leighton traveled to Las Vegas for his bachelor party with male co-workers, friends and family members, returning home two days later. Serafin saw some suspicious text messages but “seemingly believing that 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,'” Leighton initially “denied that anything happened between himself and Danielle.”

He finally fessed up July 29, the suit says, blaming his infidelity on Serafin and telling her he no longer wanted to marry her.

Even if the Breach of Promise Act does not preclude the emotional distress claim, Serafin will have to show that Leighton's behavior was “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency.”

The suit indicates Leighton went beyond those bounds because, among other things, he knew he had his fiancée's “undivided love, loyalty and trust,” that they had invited 170 people to their wedding, and that by sleeping with another woman he could infect Serafin with a sexually transmitted disease.

But as an Oregon appeals court has noted, infidelity is “unfortunate but not uncommon behavior ... For better or worse, society tolerates extramarital relationships.” Rosenthal v. Erven, 17 P.3d 558 (2001). While Serafin and Leighton had yet to marry, the same argument should apply to his bachelor party indiscretion.

Serafin's fear of STD transmission, moreover, is likely not actionable because she does not allege actual exposure to any disease.


  • At Serafin's request, a judge dismissed the case April 11, 2011 with leave to refile.

  • By Matthew Heller


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

    • Hotel Sued Over Slaying of Escort by 'Craigslist Killer'

      The mother of a prostitute slain by the “Craigslist killer” at a Marriott hotel in Boston has alleged in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the hotel's operator is liable for her daughter's death because it failed to prevent prostitution from occurring on its premises.
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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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      In yet another “swoon and fall” case against a church, an Illinois woman claims she was injured during a church service when a parishioner who was receiving the “spirit” fell backward, knocking several other worshippers into her.
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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