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


Hollywood Hopes Cost "Sopranos" Plaintiff Print

The final episode of “The Sopranos” may have ended in ambiguity, but there was nothing uncertain about the verdict of a New Jersey jury that concluded a breach-of-contract case against the creator of the series.

After just one hour and 22 minutes of deliberations, the panel returned a defense verdict Dec. 19, finding that Robert V. Baer, a former New Jersey judge, did not show he reasonably expected to be paid for services he provided to David Chase during the development of “The Sopranos.”

Baer claimed he deserved up to $95,000 for giving Chase an “intensive three-day crash course on crime, criminal syndicates, and, specifically, mafia operations in New Jersey.” His claim was based on a “quantum meruit” theory, which allows “quasi-contractual recovery for services rendered when a party confers a benefit with a reasonable expectation of payment.”

The verdict form shows the jury believed that Baer was a Hollywood hopeful who performed his services “in the hope that he might obtain future opportunities in the entertainment business through David Chase” rather than be compensated monetarily. The jury never reached the issue of how much, if anything, his services were worth.

In what appears to have been crucial testimony, Baer conceded under cross-examination that he turned down three offers from Chase to pay him for his services and never signed a written contract.

“Listen, don't worry about it. If the show hits, you can take care of me. It's a longshot,” he recalled telling Chase. At the time, he was pursuing a career as a screenwriter.

"In show business, there are way too many cases like this," Chase said after the verdict. "I tried to help him out with his writing, but it didn't work."

Baer called the verdict a moral victory because the jury determined he had performed services for Chase. But he also said “we tried this case with our hands tied behind our backs” as a result of a pretrial ruling.

Granting a defense motion in limine, U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano precluded the plaintiff from presenting evidence relating to any creative ideas or suggestions he may have shared with Chase. The trial would be strictly limited to the “quantum meruit” claim, Baer's claim for misappropriation of his ideas having earlier been dismissed on summary judgment.

Defense co-counsel David L. Harris told the jury that Baer was just doing Chase a “favor” when he escorted him around northern New Jersey for three days.

Baer “served as a source of information at the writing stage of a pilot," Harris said. "This case was a lot about favors. Only Mr. Baer comes after the fact. He expects money for favors. ... No one in the TV industry has ever seen compensation for this kind of favor.”

But the jury specifically rejected that argument by answering “Yes” to the question, “Did Plaintiff prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Robert Baer performed services for David Chase with a reasonable expectation of compensation, and not as a favor to David Chase?”


  • Baer filed a notice of appeal of the jury's verdict Jan. 24, 2008.

  • Baer voluntarily dismissed his appeal Feb. 19, 2008.

  • Other Baer v. Chase Sources

    By Matthew Heller


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