Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #7-08

Published May 1, 2008

Plunder Road

A Philadelphia traffic court judge is charged with bringing his office into “disrepute,” but not because he’s piled up 55 traffic tickets leading to fines of $11,427.50 and a suspension of his driver’s license until 2011.

The real problem is he reportedly appeared at a “Blessing of the Bikes” motorcycle rally during his judicial campaign to solicit contributions, saying: “You’re all going to need me in Traffic Court; am I right about that?” Someone got it on tape ( The judge said later he just meant he would give motorcyclists “a fair trial.” He was hoping to raise $15,000 but managed only $285 in contributions.

The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board brought charges against him, and if he is found guilty he could be reprimanded, suspended, or removed from office.

Sources: Joseph A. Slobodzian, “Traffic court judge may lose his seat,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 2008, via, April 25, 2008

Beating the System

Two Baltimore high school students involved in the brutal beating of a woman on a Maryland Transit Administration bus are suing MTA and their schools for $10 million, alleging they were suspended from school and denied the right to ride the bus without due process.

The two boys, both 15, were among nine students found to be involved in the attack, which left the 26-year-old victim with two broken bones around her left eye. The leader of the attack, a 15-year-old girl, was sentenced to the juvenile equivalent of jail because, the judge said, “the next person who argues with [the girl] may be a homicide victim.” Any survivors will be sued, no doubt.

Source: “Teen ‘Ringleader’ In Bus Beating Sentenced To Juvy Jail; Boys To Sue MTA, Schools,” WBAL Radio, April 24, 2008

Emergency Lunch

A Portland, Oregon police officer will be in court soon, but this time as the defendant instead of a witness for the prosecution. A citizen–who just happens to be an attorney–arrested him for parking in a no-parking zone in front of a restaurant while the cop picked up his lunch. The attorney also cited the cop for illegally operating an emergency vehicle.

“Citizens should be concerned that he used his status as an officer of the law as justification for breaking the law,” the attorney said. A spokeswoman for the police department said the cop would fight the ticket “as he rightfully should,” because he was on duty at the time. “We are emergency responders and need to be ready to take an emergency call,” she said. Tell it to the judge.

Source: “Oregon attorney slaps cop with illegal parking complaint,” Seattle Times, April 22, 2008, via the Volokh Conspiracy, April 23, 2008

Seeking Legal Support

A South Carolina woman is suing Victoria’s Secret, alleging the bra she bought there was defective and injured her when she removed it, which she says caused her to lose a possible modeling career. She’s claiming the bra “malfunctioned” when she took it off, leaving a gash on her breast.

She argues the bra was “negligently and carelessly manufactured” and was “unsafe for its intended use.” She wants damages for lost wages, disability, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. She also wants punitive damages and compensation for loss of her future modeling career. What, at a topless bar?

Source: “Woman’s Lawsuit Claims Bra Injured Her, Victoria’s Secret Denies Claims,” WYFF4 TV, April 3, 2008

So That’s What They Meant!

Women may have the right to vote, but the U.S. Constitution bars women from the presidency, according to a lawsuit filed in Nevada aimed at getting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) off the presidential ballot.

The Reno man is basing his claim on pronouns in the constitution, which refers to the president as “he” but not “her” and mentions “his” duties but not “hers.” The constitution had to be amended in 1919 to give women the right to vote, he notes in the suit, so it should be amended before a woman can become president, he says. “The use of female-gendered pronouns ‘she’ or ‘her’ are not present in the document, making it conclusive that the framers never intended that a woman would be president of the United States,” the suit alleges. Legal scholars called the suit “amusing” but “meritless.”

Source: Anjeanette Damon, “Lawsuit: Woman can’t be president,” Reno Gazette-Journal, April 8, 2008

Brown Bread

Legal disputes over the estate of singer James Brown–“The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” who died in 2006–are beginning to resemble Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, the infamous probate case that dragged on for generations in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.

Suits already have been filed “involving his children and grandchildren, people who claim to be his children, his wives, and women who claim to be his wives,” all seeking to share in Brown’s estate, according to The New York Times. Now the estate’s guardians are suing investment bank Morgan Stanley over money held there, and another suit is pending against the business manager of the funds at Morgan Stanley.

Brown’s latest will was prepared by a South Carolina lawyer now serving a 30-year prison term for the murder of a strip club employee.

Source: Lynnley Browning, “Stewards of James Brown Estate Sue Morgan Stanley,” New York Times, April 24, 2008

Sport Tort

A Chicago man is suing the Chicago Bulls pro basketball team after a high-five from the team mascot.

The man alleges he extended his hand to get a high-five but the mascot grabbed his arm instead, hyperextending it. The man is seeking unspecified damages for medical expenses and lost earnings.

Source: “Errant High-Five Leads to Lawsuit,” Associated Press, April 23, 2008, via, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Cold Turkeys

The British government has agreed to pay £1 million (about $1.98 million) to 200 drug-addicted prisoners who allege they were denied a heroin substitute and had to get off drugs “cold turkey” in violation of their human rights. The prisoners claimed their withdrawal from drugs was “difficult” without methadone.

The government said it feared it would have to pay even more to the prisoners if they had gone to trial. The case was brought under the European Convention on Human Rights under which inhumane or degrading treatment is prohibited. What about inhumane and degrading treatment of taxpayers?

Source: Richard Ford, “Inmates win ‘cold turkey’ payout,” The Times, April 18, 2008, via

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
Editors: Maureen Martin, Diane Carol Bast

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

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