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.
Lawsuit of the Day
- 7th Circuit, Art, Benchslaps, Education / Schools, Fashion, Kids, Lawsuit of the Day, Richard Posner
A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about Judge Richard Posner’s opinion in the “Giftes” free speech T-shirt case.
- 7th Circuit, Benchslaps, Education / Schools, Fashion, Free Speech, Kids, Lawsuit of the Day, Richard Posner
A 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
The 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]
Charney 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]
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:
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.
No, 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.
Remember 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?
Back when we worked at McDonald’s, customers would ask us if we sold onion rings. We would tell them, with suppressed exasperation, that no, sorry, we don’t. If you want onion rings, try Burger King.
And if you want your food laced with pot, try Burger King, too. From the AP:
Two police officers sued Burger King Corp., claiming they were served hamburgers that had been sprinkled with marijuana.
The lawsuit says Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon, officers for the Isleta Pueblo tribal police, were in uniform and riding in a marked patrol car when they bought meals at the drive-through lane October 8 of a Burger King restaurant in Los Lunas, New Mexico.
The officers ate about half of their burgers before discovering marijuana on the meat, the lawsuit said. They used a field test kit to confirm the substance was pot, then went to a hospital for medical evaluations.
We’ll give the last word to the officers’ pleasingly glib lawyer, Sam Bregman: “It gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘Whopper.’”
Suit: Burger King served pot burgers to cops [CNN]
A company that shut down its Web site because it was overwhelmed by millions of people looking for YouTube has sued the online video-sharing portal.
Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp. said the cost of hosting its Web site — utube.com — has grown significantly in the last two months. “We’ve had to move our site five times in an effort to stay ahead of the youtube.com visitors,” said Ralph Girkins, Universal Tube’s president.
The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, asks that YouTube Inc. stop using the youtube.com or pay Universal Tube’s cost for creating a new domain. It did not specify damages.
So Universal Tube, seller of used tube-making machines, expects YouTube, about to be acquired by Google for $1.65 billion, to relinquish one of the most well-trafficked web addresses on the internet? We don’t think so. They would much rather pay Universal Tube the $8.99 it would cost to register a new domain name at GoDaddy.com.
We haven’t read the complaint, and we profess no expertise in this area of law. But the lawsuit strikes us as… odd. What’s the cause of action here? It doesn’t seem like a conventional trademark or cybersquatting case, since presumably (1) YouTube has a valid trademark in YouTube, and (2) it properly occupies the domain name YouTube.com. If you’re familiar with this case, please enlighten us, in the comments or by email.
Update: Check out this enlightening comment, which addresses some of our questions.
One more thing. Why doesn’t Universal Tube make lemonade out of these cyber-lemons? Again from the AP:
The confusion took off a couple of months ago, [company president Ralph] Girkins said. The company, with just 17 employees, got 68 million hits on its site in August, making it one of the most popular manufacturing Web sites.
Sixty-eight million hits a month? People would KILL for traffic like that. Why not slap up a few paid third-party advertisements on UTube.com, to monetize some of that monster traffic, and use the ad revenues to beef up your capacity? Or cover UTube.com almost entirely with ads, move the operations of Universal Tube to an entirely separate website, and put up a prominent link on UTube.com referring confused customers to your new site?
Ohio Company Utube.com Sues YouTube [Associated Press via WSJ Law Blog]