Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #10-2 (January 2011)

Published January 25, 2011

An Ohio lawyer admits he dropped his pants while mentoring two “at-risk” teenagers but claims it was part of an educational process, not a sexual one.

The two teens, both 19, met with the lawyer to discuss performing court-ordered community service after their arrests for underage drinking. They said the lawyer asked them if he could convince them to think differently, then dropped his pants. He’s been charged with two misdemeanors.

The lawyer said he’s used this technique before. “Radical times call for radical measures,” he said.

Source: Debra Cassens Weiss, “Lawyer Says Dropping His Pants Was Educational Rather than Sexual,” ABA Journal, January 18, 2011

Moose on the Loose

Accidents between moose and vehicles are on the rise, and it’s all the government’s fault, according to a recent class-action lawsuit filed against the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. Government is to blame because it has not “properly controlled” the moose population.

In Newfoundland alone, according to the suit, there are more than 700 moose-vehicle collisions each year. Two Canadians who were severely injured in two separate accidents, and are now paralyzed, have filed the suit, joined by 40 other plaintiffs. These are “no acts of God, but acts of government,” their court papers say. “The government has decided to bury its head in the sand about moose-vehicle collisions, which have us all terrified,” according to their lawyer.

The plaintiffs want financial compensation and an order requiring the government to reduce the moose population by 50 percent in the next five years.

Source: BBC Canada, “Canada lawsuit filed over car collisions with moose,” January 11, 2011 via overlawyered

Pyramid Scheme

The so-called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group advocating animal rights, vegetarianism, and bans on fast food, is suing the federal government for not removing meat and dairy products from the government food pyramid.

In 2005 the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services issued a new food pyramid illustrating government-recommended nutritional levels. It deemphasized carbohydrates and emphasized whole grains and vegetables, meat, and dairy products.

The committee had recommended an alternative food pyramid including only vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. The government pyramid “recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy,” the group says.

Source: “Docs sue Feds over food pyramid,” Baltimore Sun, January 5, 2011, via faces of lawsuit abuse, an project to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

A Tax on His Reputation

When the Australian government announced five years ago it was investigating Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan for tax evasion, he said, “Come and get me, you miserable bastards,” according to the Lowering the Bar Web site. Now that the government has admitted it can’t prove Hogan was hiding income in offshore banks to avoid paying income taxes, Hogan is coming to get the government.

Hogan denies he ever hid income and says he is planning to sue the government for $80 million, alleging the investigation “decimated” his reputation and income potential.

Source: BBC, “Paul Hogan to sue Australia government; Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan has announced plans to sue the Australian government for damaging his reputation,” January 6, 2011; Lowering the bar, “Paul Hogan to sue Australia government,” January 10, 2011

Rude Awakening

A college student vacationing in Las Vegas who hired a stripper to come to his room has filed a $1.8 million lawsuit against the company providing the entertainment, which almost led to what he calls his “tragic” and traumatizing arrest.

The student said the company agreed to provide a stripper to dance for him for an hour, but that she also provided a lap dance for $155 and another “sex act” for $120. He paid the fees but called the company the next morning asking for a refund because the dancer stayed for only half an hour. He claimed he could not have consented to paying the fees because he was drunk at the time.

After the company refused to make the refund, the student called the police, who told him he could be arrested for prostitution. He claims this possibility traumatized him and he now needs treatment for a mental condition.

The company arranges for dancers but denies it engages in prostitution.

Source: Steve Green, “Las Vegas tourist sues for refund after sex act led to ‘tragic’ arrest threat,” Las Vegas Sun, January 20, 2011

Doggie Ado

If residents of the Swiss village of Reconvilier fail to pay their $50 annual pet taxes, authorities will execute their dogs.

The village claims it is owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pet taxes and says a 1904 law allows authorities to kill dogs whose owners don’t pay up. “This isn’t about a mass execution of dogs,” said one village official. “It’s meant to put pressure on people who don’t cooperate.”

Source: Associated Press, “Swiss town warns dog owners to pay tax or pet will die,” January 10, 2011 via lowering the bar

Sharing Is Caring

One victim of a priest who molested boys in the 1980s has won the battle but so far has lost the war.

The victim, now an adult in Portland, Oregon, won a $900,000 settlement from the church, but the lawyers representing him claim $877,000 in fees. That leaves him with $23,000, and he hasn’t yet seen even that paltry sum.

His first lawyer agreed to take a contingent fee of one-third of any settlement. That lawyer secured an offer of $650,000. He continued to negotiate for a higher amount, but his client fired him and hired a replacement. The replacement lawyer won a settlement offer of $900,000, which the victim accepted. That lawyer took a third of the settlement but refused to pay the first lawyer anything.

The first lawyer sued his former client and won a judgment of $300,000 plus $72,000 in interest, legal fees, and other costs, for a total of $527,000.

The victim has now sued his second set of lawyers to recover sums they collected. Meanwhile he’s living on $400 to $500 in monthly Social Security disability payments.

Portland area attorneys are horrified by the fee dispute. “It’s wrong legally, it’s wrong morally, and it’s wrong ethically,” said one attorney, who added the total legal fee should be $300,000 and it’s up to the lawyers to haggle over their shares of this amount.

Source: Aimee Green, “Priest sex abuse victim’s lawyers claim most of his $900,000 settlement,” The Oregonian, January 4, 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