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.

 May   June 17   Jul

   1  2  3
  4  5  6  7  8  910
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


Should Good Samaritans Think Twice Before Acting? Print

Good Samaritans have suffered a recent run of bad breaks in the courts, with decisions going against them in cases involving two auto accidents and a stillborn baby.

The New York Times said in an editorial of one of the cases that “the California Supreme Court gave its state law a disturbingly narrow interpretation that could discourage future good Samaritans from providing help out of fear of being sued.”

The good Samaritan in that case, Lisa Torti, lifted a co-worker out of a wrecked vehicle, fearing it would catch fire or “blow up.” The co-worker sued Torti for causing permanent damage to her spinal cord that left her a paraplegic.

California has an exception to the general rule that a good Samaritan who tries to help someone must exercise due care. Under Health and Safety Code section 1799.102, any “person who ... renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency ...” is immune from liability.

But on a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court found the case against Torti should go to trial, narrowly construing section 1799.102 “to apply only to the rendering of emergency medical care ... at the scene of a medical emergency.”

"The broad construction urged by Torti — that section 1799.102 immunizes any person who provides any emergency care at the scene of any emergency — would largely gut th[e] well-established [due care] rule,” Justice Carlos R. Moreno wrote for the majority in Van Horn v. Watson.

In a dissent, Justice Marvin Baxter pointed to the absurdity of protecting an “uncompensated lay volunteer from liability for “any incompetent and injurious medical assistance he or she renders to a person in need of medical treatment,” while leaving that same volunteer

fully exposed to civil liability for emergency rescue or transportation efforts intended to prevent injury to an endangered victim in the first instance, or to ensure that a victim in need of immediate medical treatment can receive it.

"[I]n the majority’s view,” Baxter continued, “a passerby who, at the risk of his or her own life, saves someone about to perish in a burning building can be sued for incidental injury caused in the rescue, but would be immune for harming the victim during the administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation out on the sidewalk.”

In the other auto accident case, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a man who stopped his car to help a stranded motorist could not recover from his employer's underinsured motorist policy for injuries he suffered when a third driver smashed into both cars, pinning him between them and a retaining wall.

"While “[o]ne can imagine few more sympathetic litigants than Louis Goudeau,” the court said in U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Goodeau, the underinsured motorist policy only applied if he was “occupying” his vehicle at the time of the accident.

"[A] driver who has exited the car, closed the door, walked around the front, and then has the vehicle smashed into him cannot be said to be 'occupying' the vehicle at the time of the collision, even if afterwards he ends up partly 'upon' it,” Justice Scott A. Brister wrote.

Faring not much better with a good Samaritan defense was a registered nurse sued over the death of one of a pair of infant twins during delivery at the parents' home. Julia Chachere says the midwife invited her to observe the delivery and she is therefore immune from liability under a good Samaritan law which applies to the volunteering of medical aid.

But a Nassau County, N.Y., trial court judge ruled there were triable issues as to whether gross negligence occurred and “whether Ms. Chachere's status at the birth herein would actually fall under the Good Samaritan Law.”

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.
  • Court Extends Doctors' Liability for Prescription Gaffes

    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.
  • Girl's Slaying Tests Cruise Line Liability

    The family of a 15-year-old girl who was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout on a Caribbean island has asked an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit that tests the liability of cruise ship operators for onshore injuries to passengers.
  • Bystander Claims "Swoon and Fall" Injuries at Church

    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.
  • Jurors' Comments Fuel New Trial Bid in Bullying Case

    Jurors may have opened the door to a new trial in a Maryland school bullying case by saying they returned a verdict for the defense because they were afraid of setting a bad precedent for school systems throughout the country.
  • Abuse Victim Can Sue Ex-DA Over 'Sexting' Messages

    A Wisconsin judge has protected a domestic violence victim from a rogue prosecutor, finding that she can sue him for sending her text messages in which he pressured her to have sex with him.
  • Four Loko Maker Says Users Knew of Health Dangers

    The maker of Four Loko has previewed its defense of a slew of product liability lawsuits, arguing that the physical effects of the energy drink's mixture of alcohol and caffeine — far from being an undisclosed risk to consumers — are precisely what made it so popular.

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