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







Woman Hit by Car Says Google Maps Was Her 'Advisor' Print

The woman who claims faulty walking directions on Google Maps caused her to be hit by a car is trying to salvage her case with the novel argument that Google is liable for negligent publication because it provided her with “individual advice.”

The highway where Lauren Rosenberg was hit by a car

The First Amendment protections enjoyed by publishers apply only when “the information at issue was published to the public at large,” Lauren Rosenberg says in a brief. Since Google provided her with “customized” walking directions in a “one-on-one communication,” it is no different than surveyors or real estate agents, who “have routinely been held liable for negligent misrepresentation.”

Rosenberg sued Google in May 2010 after a driver allegedly struck her as she was walking across a highway in Park City, Utah. She says she chose her route after consulting Google Maps on her Blackberry.

But Google says the case should be dismissed under the First Amendment, arguing that Rosenberg has “presented no plausible rationale for treating Google like an expert advisor ... rather than a publisher.” It has also made the startling allegation that she “stepped in front of a car in the dark at 6 in the morning, apparently after drinking all night.”

“[I]t is not reasonably foreseeable that someone who obtains a suggested walking route from Google Maps will abandon common sense and walk in front of oncoming traffic while inebriated,” defense lawyer Blaine J. Benard wrote in a brief.

The case appears to be the first to allege that an online publisher is liable for defective content. Rosenberg is seeking at least $100,000 in damages from Google and Patrick Harwood, the alleged driver of the vehicle that hit her on Deer Valley Road, also known as State Route 224.

“As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google's careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken [sic] by a motor vehicle,” she said in her lawsuit.

In a motion to dismiss, Google said the First Amendment protects publishers from being held strictly liable for the accuracy of the information they publish and because “'it is simply impossible to attain perfection in the publishing business,' a contrary rule would mean the risk of unlimited liability for publishers.”

Rosenberg argues that Google did not “publish” the route she followed through Park City. “Google's provision of walking directions through its web site was no different than if Plaintiff had called Google and orally asked a Google employee for walking directions,” she says, and even though Google uses the Internet to deliver information, “that does not change the nature of the communication.”

“Travel agents, stock brokers, surveyors, etc., are all held accountable if the advice they give is negligent and the proximate cause of an injury,” her brief opposing dismissal, written by attorney Tyler S. Young, says.

That argument, though, fails to recognize that providing information from an online database does not amount to providing “individual advice.”

While Rosenberg theorizes that she was the only person whom Google Maps directed from point A to point B in Park City, Google says,

[T]here is no limitation on the number of people who could obtain precisely the same information from Google Maps. That is because Google makes available a large and “comprehensive index of web sites and other online content” — including a vast amount of geographic data in Google Maps — to an unlimited audience of users.


This story linked by:


By Matthew Heller
2/28/11


 

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

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