Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #10-10

Published May 16, 2011

Sheriff’s deputies have charged a Florida woman with lewd and lascivious behavior after she made “loud sex noises” from the window of her home to get her neighbor and his 10-year-old son to stop playing basketball in their driveway.

Police said the woman was “making moans and other sounds that simulated sex” in a loud voice after the basketball playing disturbed her and the neighbors refused to stop.

The woman’s lawyer said his client is a prominent atheist who was targeted by the sheriff because she questioned whether the sheriff could donate basketball hoops to area churches.

Law professor Jonathan Turley believes the case presents constitutional issues. “This could lead to an interesting First Amendment claim as to why some noises are allowed while others are criminalized,” Turley wrote. “I personally believe that Captain & Tennille’s Muskrat Love is highly disturbing. While a crime against art and society, it is not a crime. Seriously, the question is where is the line drawn on “sexual noises” under the criminal code?

Source: “Woman’s ‘loud sex noises’ lead to her arrest,” WZVN-HD (ABC), Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte; May 5, 2011; Jonathan Turley, “I’ll Have What She’s Having: Leading Atheist Arrested For Making Sexual Noises,” May 11, 2011,

Ruling the Roosters

Residents who keep chickens in Hopewell Township, New Jersey face legal penalties if they allow roosters to become too “raucous” when conjugal visits with hens have happy endings. Penalties also apply if residents fail to require their backyard chickens to engage only in “safe sex.”

The town recently adopted a law regulating those who keep chickens in their backyards. Among the numerous conditions:


  • “Romantic interludes” among consenting roosters and hens are limited to 10 days per year and no more than five consecutive nights.



  • Males must be proven disease-free before “conjugal visits.”



  • If a rooster is caught crowing raucously for “a prolonged period of time”–which they are evidently inclined to do upon completion of a “conquest”–all roosters are banned from the property for two years.


“Hopewell Township has spent three years and countless legal hours working out an official response to the logistics and decibels involved in animal husbandry. Specifically, it’s drafted an ordinance that lays down the law concerning the lifestyles and propagation of chickens,” noted the editorial board of The Times of Trenton. “They may have done their job too well.”

Source: Lisa Coryell, “Hopewell Township approves the backyard-chicken rule that had jokesters crowing the world around,” The Times of Trenton, April 27, 2011; “Editorial: Hopewell proposal to limit backyard rooster mating to ten days is pure poppycock,” March 21, 2011

You Can’t Fire Me–I’m Crazy!

A federal district court has absolved the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it terminated a probationary police officer as lacking fitness for duty after the police chief said she was “irrational, irate, and uncooperative as well as paranoid.”

But employment law experts believe under new ADA amendments (ADAAA) and regulations made effective in April, she’d still have a job.

The incident took place before the ADA was amended, so the court applied that law. It found the police chief didn’t mean to say she was “paranoid” and “irrational” in a clinical, psychiatric sense, just “that she is irrationally distrustful of her peers and the police department.” These characteristics are not “an impairment that would be significantly limiting to the average person in the population,” so the court ruled she was not disabled in the ADA sense and could be terminated. Under the new ADAAA, though, “any physical or mental impairment” qualifies as a disability that must be accommodated.

Source: Daniel Schwartz, “Regarding Employee as ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Irrational’ Not Enough to Satisfy ADA (at least pre-ADAAA),” Connecticut Employment Law Blog, May 5, 2011

“So, What Are You in For?” “Facebook Posts”

An Oak Park, Illinois teenager has been expelled from high school, arrested for disorderly conduct, sent to juvenile court, and transferred to an alternative high school.

His crime? He made a list of girls at Oak Park-River Forest High School, gave them nicknames, and assessed their physical appearance and sexual availability. Most teenage boys probably do this among themselves after gym class in the locker room, but this one made the mistake of posting the list on Facebook and distributing printed copies of the list at the school.

School officials lectured students, faculty, and families about bullying, cyberbullying, and sexual harassment, and police cracked down on the boy for his “offensive list.” But was his conduct actually criminal? The father of one of the girls listed wanted him charged with even more crimes, but even the disorderly conduct one is a stretch.

Disorderly conduct is defined under Illinois criminal statutes as “any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace.” A breach of the peace is typically a verbal or otherwise noisy disturbance. And then there is the issue of this boy’s right to free speech. It may be offensive speech or hurtful speech. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote recently in the case involving picketing of military funerals, while free speech can “inflict great pain,” the First Amendment provides “we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

Source: Bill Dwyer, “Oak Park police charge boy who allegedly made sex-ranking list,” Pioneer Press, May 12, 2011; Adam Liptak, “Justices Rule for Protesters at Military Funerals,” New York Times, March 2, 2011

Bridge Out

An Illinois prison inmate has filed a federal lawsuit over his lost false teeth.

The inmate alleges he can’t eat solid food because guards in the DuPage County Jail stole his “10-unit” bridge from his jail cell two years ago. He wants $9,000 in damages–the alleged cost of the bridge–plus damages for his pain and suffering. The suit names the county sheriff and nine jail officials.

Jail officials said guards reported seeing the dentures in a cup in the cell, but there is no evidence anyone took them. The inmate is serving a 10-year term on drunken driving and perjury charges.

Source: Art Barnum, “Inmate sues DuPage over missing dentures,” Chicago Tribune, May 11, 2011

Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly

Published by The Heartland Institute (312/377-4000), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1984.
Phone 312/377-4000, fax 312/377-5000
Back issues are available online at
Publisher: Joseph L. Bast
Author: Maureen Martin
Editors: S.T. Karnick, Diane Carol Bast

Information on lawsuit abuse can be found on these Web sites:

The Heartland Institute
19 South La Salle Street #903
Chicago, Illinois 60603