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




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Actress Blames Fear of Fan Attacks on Web Site Print

 

Eriko Tamura

A Japanese actress is stretching privacy law too far by claiming that the danger of harassment by “aggressive and overzealous fans” makes the Internet Movie Database liable for publishing her real name and date of birth.

Eriko Tamura, who now lives in Los Angeles, sued IMDB this month under the tort of public disclosure of private facts, which is in tension with the First Amendment because it involves the publication of truthful information. The published material must be of a kind that is “highly offensive to a reasonable person” and “not of legitimate concern to the public.”

On its much-trafficked Web site, IMDB has posted an entry for Eriko Sakamoto, Tamura's real name, and also gives her date of birth in the separate entry for Eriko Tamura. Neither of the entries identifies Sakamoto and Tamura as the same person.

But in her complaint, Tamura alleges those facts are private and she has kept them “completely private” because they could be used by “third parties to track down her residence.” Before moving to L.A. to pursue an acting career, she was a teen-idol pop star in Japan who was compared to Britney Spears.

Fans who had access to that information have previously broken into her apartment, the suit says, and IMDB's disclosure

has placed Plaintiff in grave danger of aggressive and overzealous fans that can use the information to locate and harass Plaintiff and her family members.

Tamura, 34, filed the case in Nevada, where IMDB is incorporated and the state Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that a newspaper article which disclosed a man's conviction in a hit-and-run accident 20 years earlier was “of legitimate public concern.”

The balance between the free press and an individual's right to privacy “should be weighted in favor of free speech when the publication involves public facts which have been spread upon a public record,” the court said in Montesano v. Donrey Media Group, 668 P.2d 1081.

There is absolutely nothing in Tamura's complaint that tips the balance toward her privacy rights. While she claims her given name and birth date do “not bear any logical relationship to the newsworthy subject of Plaintiff's professional career and filmography,” IMDB did not cross the line into the “morbid and sensational prying” that is not protected under the First Amendment.

Movie databases and other sources, of course, routinely publish similar biographical facts about other actors. Some Websites even specialize in listing the addresses of celebrities.

As for Tamura's overzealous fans, holding IMDB liable for the potential criminal acts of third parties over which it has no control would set the most chilling of precedents for the media.

UPDATE ... Tamura dismissed her case April 5.

By Matthew Heller
3/20/07

 

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

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

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Document: Complaint

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Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
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