Lawsuit of the Day

Couch.jpg
Maybe that’s why they call it “crashing.” A roommate situation goes bad:

Recently I moved out of an undocumented sublet. … [T]he three subletters, myself included, lived at the apartment. A friend of mine crashed on the couch while he established himself in NYC for about a month. He paid for professional cleaning, picked up toilet paper, paper towels, and generally helped out where he could when he could. Now after I have moved out the other two subletters are seeking damages for him staying there. Damages in the neighborhood of ¼ of the rent for three months, treble damages on top of that to cover lawyers fees, and financial reimbursement for the repainting of the room that I stayed in.
To my knowledge, these guys don’t have a pot to piss in. If they had asked nicely for some cash from the guy I’m sure there wouldn’t have been an issue. However, with a lawyer sending certified mail to my work, to say I’m angry would be an understatement. What (if anything) are these guys able stand on in regards to real estate law?

This is the kind of situation that Professor Bob Ellickson, on whom LEWW had a massive crush in law school, would identify as a “love triangle.” Love triangle cases, Ellickson said, are the ones where the parties spent years and years in court fighting over something seemingly trivial, leading the reader to suspect that there was something else going on underneath the facts–some major grudge or mental instability that didn’t make it into the case book.

moon moons mooning Above the Law legal tabloid blog.jpgWe adore quirky lawsuits brought by high school students against school administrators. There’s something about the high school setting that fosters oddball litigation. E.g., “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”; Gifties v. Tards.
Here’s the latest such tale, from the AP:

A high school senior acknowledges he went too far when he mooned a teacher. But he thinks the decision of school officials to send him to a new school for the rest of the year was too harsh, so his family is suing.

Tyler Tillung, 18, mooned a teacher “suddenly and without thinking about the consequences” in February, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday. The teacher had declined to let him into a Feb. 21 school lip sync show that was full.

Lip sync shows: not just for show queens. Anyway, here’s the school’s response:

“Without knowing the allegations, we’re confident in the administration’s position on this case,” [School Board Attorney Jim] Robinson said. Palm Harbor principal Herman “Doc” Allen described the mooning as “disgusting” and the teacher as “traumatized.”

Traumatized? From seeing a little teenage ass crack? Seems like an overreaction.
(Unless the kid suffered from this problem. Then all bets are off.)
Fla. student who mooned teacher sues [Associated Press]

A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about Judge Richard Posner’s opinion in the “Giftes” free speech T-shirt case.
Thanks to the commenter who brought the two drawings in the opinion exhibits to our attention. We reprint them after the jump. And we look forward to seeing them in the august pages of the Federal Reporter.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “We Hope This Makes It Into F.3d”

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgA detailed excerpt, plus a link to the full opinion, can be accessed here (via How Appealing). Money quote:

[T]he picture and the few words imprinted on the Brandt T-shirt are no more expressive of an idea or opinion that the First Amendment might be thought to protect than a young child’s talentless infantile drawing which Brandt’s design successfully mimics. Otherwise every T-shirt that was not all white with no design or words… would be protected by the First Amendment, and schools could not impose dress codes or require uniforms without violating the free speech of the students, a proposition sensibly rejected in the Blau case.

“[T]alentless infantile drawing”? Judge Posner, that was way harsh.
You had to rule against the plaintiffs based on the caselaw; fine. But did you really have to insult their artistic abilities? Kids are like district judges: their feelings are easily hurt.
(If you’re not familiar with this bizarre but amusing litigation, read our earlier post, available here.)
Rulings of Note from the Seventh Circuit [How Appealing]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Gifties v. Tards

Andre Chreky hair hairstylist hairstyle hairdresser Above the Law.jpgThe other day we were thinking about getting a massage. We consulted our trusty Washingtonian magazine, which has a “Spas We Love” article in its February 2007.
One appealing option was Andre Chreky. Washingtonian picked it as a top choice for the “busy executive” (that’s us). And it’s only a few blocks away from our apartment.
But now we’re wondering whether to take our business elsewhere. From the AP:

Andre Chreky, a prominent Washington hairdresser who used to cut first lady Laura Bush’s locks, is the target of his second sexual harassment lawsuit in a little more than four months.

An ex-employee said Chreky routinely demanded sexual favors, grabbed and touched her and made humiliating comments about her appearance and her husband’s sexual prowess. When she rebuffed him, Chreky retaliated by taking away clients, refusing to accommodate her during her pregnancy and ultimately firing her, the plaintiff, Ronnie Barrett, said in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Huge, huge news. There’s a straight male hairdresser? In DC?
Chreky allegedly has a pattern and practice of engaging in such harassment of his employees:

Lawyers for Chreky and his salon denied Barrett’s allegations. Chreky is fighting similar charges by another former employee, Jennifer Thong, who sued in September.

Civil actions are also expected from Pamela Pasties and Gina G’String, former employees who left the salon late last year.
P.S. As reported by the Washington Post, Chreky was previously ordered by the state of Virginia to pay child support to yet another former employee, after a paternity test found a 99.99 percent probability that he was the father of her son. But he took the matter to court, where he challenged the accuracy of the test and ultimately prevailed.
Hairdresser to the Elite Faces New Lawsuit [Associated Press]

Harley Lewin Harley I Lewin Greenberg Traurig Above the Law.jpgCharney v. Sullivan & Cromwell isn’t the only discrimination lawsuit against a large law firm kicking around New York Supreme Court these days. Earlier this month, a complaint was filed in the case of Yasmin Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Meet Harley I. Lewin (at right), a shareholder (partner) in the New York office of Greenberg Traurig LLP. According to his firm bio, he’s the head of their trademarks and global brand strategies practice.
And according to allegations made by Yasmin Marinaro, a Latina female who previously worked as his administrative assistant, Harley Lewin:

– described her to two male clients, within her earshot, as a “hot tomato”;

– told these two clients that they should “check her out,” then called her into his office, “whereupon Lewin and his male guests ogled her”;

– referred to her by the nickname “Chiquita Banana”;

– ordered her into his office, “whereupon he would instruct her to view sexually explicit and inappropriate emails”;

“encourag[ed] her to gain weight so that she would be more sexually attractive”;

– attempted to intimidate her into not coming forward with her allegations by sending her an email entitled “Be Careful,” in which he urged her to “keep [her] own counsel”; and

– played a role in her allegedly retailatory firing from Greenberg Traurig.

Juicy allegations — and there’s more in the full Complaint.
Alas, we don’t have enough time to do it justice right now. But we’ll surely have more to say next week about the case of Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP. If you’d like to read the Complaint for yourself, we’ve provided a link below.
Yasmin Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP [New York Supreme Court (PDF)]
Harley Lewin bio [Greenberg Traurig]

nerd nerd nerd Above the Law geek dork.jpgHere’s an interesting appeal that was recently argued before the Seventh Circuit. From the Chicago Sun-Times (via Ted Frank):

Four years ago, the “Gifties” of Beaubien School lost in the principal’s office. Then, this class of gifted eighth-grade students lost in U.S. district court.

Undeterred, Thursday the group went before one of the highest courts of the land, arguing their principal violated First Amendment free speech rights when he punished them for wearing T-shirts with the word “Gifties” on them.

“There’s a certain point when you have to stick up for your rights,” said Michael Brandt, one of 24 gifted students who sued their principal and the Chicago Board of Education. His mother, Irene Dymkar, is representing the students in the class action lawsuit.

At oral argument, Judge Richard Posner sounded unsympathetic to their cause:

“Why do people bring lawsuits for such trivialities?” Judge Richard Posner, a notoriously tough jurist, asked Dymkar during a three-judge hearing of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Thursday. “Have they been harmed, these ‘Gifties’?”

“Trivialities”? C’mon, Judge Posner — have a heart! Surely you, a genius among geniuses, should be sensitive to the plight of “gifties.”

Chicago Public Schools lawyers say Kotis was protecting the kids from possible attacks by regular education students. They argue there were tensions between the groups and Kotis had outlawed the word “gifties,” as well as “tards,” used to refer to regular education students….

The gifted students claim there was no safety issue.

We admire the appellants’ chutzpah. It takes guts to label your classmates “tards.”
But we question their assertion that there was no safety issue. They might as well have worn T-shirts reading, “I’m a nerd. Please beat the crap out of me.”
Kids pit principle vs. their principal [Chicago Sun-Times via Overlawyered]
T-shirt battle before Seventh Circuit [Overlawyered]

This case summary, from CourtBriefs, was emailed to us with the following subject line: “Why I saw this and thought of ATL, I have no idea.”
Regardless of your views on abortion — and we’ll just say, for the record, that we are not unsympathetic to the pro-life cause — this lawsuit should strike you as a bit dubious:
Doe v Planned Parenthood 1.jpeg
This is like suing a bear for failure to warn that he might attack. A bear is as a bear does; and so is Planned Parenthood.*
Here’s our favorite part of the Doe v. Planned Parenthood summary:

As a result of the counseling, assertions and representations of the Planned Parenthood personnel and various Defendants, [Doe] underwent an abortion that day. Her unborn infant, Michael Doe, died as a result of the abortion procedure.

That tends to happen when you get AN ABORTION, dear.
(In all seriousness, even pro-lifers — or pro-choicers who, like Bill Clinton, believe abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” — should not support a lawsuit like this. Awarding money damages to women for undergoing abortions seems like unwise public policy.)
Doe v. Planned Parenthood [Court Briefs (subscription)]
* We’re setting aside all the other problems, including jurisdictional ones, with suing a bear.

Marissa Cooper Alex The OC girl girls lesbian kiss.jpgNo, we’re not talking about that time on “The OC” when Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) shared a girl-on-girl kiss with Alex (Olivia Wilde). Rather, we’re referring to a civil rights case currently pending before Judge James Selna, in the Central District of California.
From the L.A. Times (via How Appealing):

Two high schoolers are caught kissing on campus.

Ordinarily, such an incident would garner little attention. But for Charlene Nguon, a smattering of kisses and hugs stolen after school and in between classes led to detention, suspensions, a transfer and a lawsuit.

The reason? That’s what a federal judge in Santa Ana will soon decide.

Nguon says it’s because she was kissing a girl. Ben Wolf, who was then principal of Garden Grove’s Santiago High School, says that’s not the case at all. He insists the problem was that, regardless of whether it was a girl or boy, Nguon continued the kissing despite repeated warnings to knock it off.

And that’s just the tip of this salaciously sapphic iceberg.
Check out the rest, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Lesbians in the OC”

avocados Above the Law.jpgRemember Ralph Paul, the Florida man who almost went to jail over his refusal to pay for a seafood pasta that was light on the seafood?
Now a Los Angeles woman is suing over insufficient avocado in her guacamole. From the Los Angeles Times:

The guacamole sold by Kraft Foods Inc., one of the bestselling avocado dips in the nation, includes modified food starch, hefty amounts of coconut and soybean oils, and a dose of food coloring. The dip contains precious little avocado, but many customers mistake it for wholly guacamole.

On Wednesday, a Los Angeles woman sued the Northfield, Ill.-based food company, alleging that it committed fraud by calling its dip “guacamole.” Her lawyer says suits against other purveyors of “fake guacamole” could be filed soon.

We take guacamole very seriously. We especially love super-fresh guacamole that’s prepared tableside (e.g., at Rosa Mexicano in D.C. and New York, or Mama Mexico in New York).
So we hope that plaintiff Brenda Lifsey prevails in her lawsuit. We once tried the Kraft “guacamole,” and it was absolutely disgusting — green goop with barely a hint of avocado. We threw it out after about three chips’ worth of nastiness.
Lawsuit stirs up guacamole labeling controversy [Los Angeles Times via Drudge Report]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Skimping on the Scampi?

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