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







Court Backs Teacher's Firing for Online Chat Print

A Connecticut high-school teacher went too far in trying to get on the same level as his students by communicating with them on his MySpace page, a judge has ruled in upholding the school's decision to terminate him.

U.S. District Judge Dominic J. Squatrito singled out an exchange in which one student told the teacher, Jeffrey Spanierman, “Don't be jealous cuase [sic] you can't get any,” and Spanierman replied,

What makes you think I want any? I’m not jealous. I just like to have fun and goof on you guys. If you don’t like it. Kiss my brass!

“[I]t appears that the Plaintiff would communicate with students as if he were their peer, not their teacher,” Squatrito said in dismissing Spanierman's wrongful termination case. “Such conduct could very well disrupt the learning atmosphere of a school, which sufficiently outweighs the value of Plaintiff’s MySpace speech.”

School officials did not renew Spanierman's contract to teach at Emmett O'Brien High School in Ansonia, Conn., after a guidance counselor reviewed his “Mr. Spiderman” profile page on MySpace. She testified that she was disturbed by his conversations with students, which she described as “very peer-to-peer like.”

In another exchange, he joked with a student about keeping him in “detention sooooo long that your great grandchildren will have to finish it out.”

Spanierman alleged in his suit filed in August 2006 that officials retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights. “All of his communications were entirely appropriate and personal,” the complaint said, citing the popularity of MySpace with “people under the age of thirty.”

But Squatrito said “it was not unreasonable for the Defendants to find that the Plaintiff’s conduct on MySpace was disruptive to school activities.”

The online exchanges with students, he continued in his opinion, “show a potentially unprofessional rapport with students, and the court can see how a school’s administration would disapprove of, and find disruptive, a teacher’s discussion with a student about 'getting any' (presumably sex), or a threat made to a student (albeit a facetious one) about detention.”

Spanierman also posted an anti-Iraq war poem on his MySpace page. “The commander and [sic] chief much like a thief/will steal away at the dawn of the day,” it rhymes. “But how many will die, for America’s apple pie.”

“Leaving aside the question of whether one could call this bit of poetastry an 'elegant articulation' of the current conflict in Iraq,” Squatrito said it “could constitute a political statement.” Nevertheless, “[T]here is nothing in the record to indicate that the Defendants intended to retaliate against the Plaintiff because of the political views expressed in his poem.”

Spanierman's case is unusual in that it involves a teacher getting in trouble for using MySpace. In other cases (see table), students have been accused of misusing the social networking website.

A Texas appeals court in August dismissed a case involving high-school students who created a bogus MySpace page in the name of an administrator in which they falsely identified her as a lesbian. Anna Draker had sued both the students and their parents.

This story linked by:


By Matthew Heller
10/21/08

 

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

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RC_OnFile

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

more

RC_OnTrial

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

more


RC_OnTheDocket

Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case

more