Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #7-14

Published August 15, 2008

The Needle and the Damage Done

An Ohio prison inmate is suing prison officials alleging he’s too fat to be executed. The inmate is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 267 pounds, and he says in his lawsuit his veins are too difficult locate in his body fat to allow injection of the legal drugs by executioners. In addition, a seizure medicine he’s taking interferes with one of the lethal drugs, he alleges.

The prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death for raping and murdering two young girls in 1986. He is scheduled to be executed October 14. “All of the experts agree if the first drug doesn’t work, the execution is going to be excruciating,” his public defender told the court. Wouldn’t that be too bad?

Source: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, “Ohio inmate says he’s too fat for execution,” Associated Press, August 4, 2008

Feeling a Little Horse

A certified human masseuse is claiming the state of Maryland is discriminating against her because it says she can’t massage horses.

Under Maryland law, only veterinarians can massage horses, so she’s suing the state licensing agencies. “This isn’t just a career for me, it’s my passion,” she said. “If I was independently wealthy and I didn’t need an income, I would do this for nothing. That’s how much I love it.”

The case reportedly is being carefully watched. A California-based company, Equinology, Inc., says their horse massage courses are very popular. When it started offering courses 15 years ago, only a few hundred people signed up. Now enrollment is almost 900.

Source: Nafeesa Syeed, “Md. woman sues state for right to massage horses,” Associated Press, August 11, 2008, via, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Click and Sue

You’ve probably heard of The same concept is now being applied to a Web site that matches up attorneys and potential clients,

People who think they have a lawsuit will be able to log on starting in September. After answering a few questions about their potential claim, a lawyer will respond. If the claim looks valid, the site will put the client and lawyer in touch with each other. The service is free to consumers, but lawyers will pay $1,000 for being listed on the site and undisclosed additional amounts for more prominent listing.

Some lawyers are critical. “As if there aren’t enough lawyers out there inventing lawsuits, now we’re going to invite the public to do so,” one said. “It encourages, if not creates, lawsuits. Our country’s courts are clogged with unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits which delay, if not obstruct, the access to courts of people that really need to get there, that have serious legal grievances.”

Source: Siobhan Morrissey, “Who Can You Sue? Click Here,” Time, August 6, 2008, via Charlie Sykes, WTMJ AM, Milwaukee

Dental Case

Dental patients have rights–to their extracted teeth. At least that’s the theory a North Carolina man is urging in his malpractice claim against the dentist who pulled four of them. The patient says he wanted to take his teeth home and save them along with a few of his baby teeth, the lens of his father’s eye, and his grandmother’s gall bladder. The dentist doesn’t have his teeth any more, so the patient wants $5,000 for his “loss.”

His case was thrown out but is now on appeal.

The chief of operations of the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners said the question rarely arises. “It’s not a burning question,” he said.

Source: Sarah Ovaska, “Man’s quest: the tooth, and nothing but the tooth,” (Raleigh, North Carolina) News Observer, August 5, 2008

Lost the Game and the Fight

A Boston Red Sox baseball fan who went to a game against the team’s diehard rival, the New York Yankees, in Yankee Stadium, claims he “got beat up because I’m a Red Sox fan.” So he’s suing the Yankees, the security firm at the game, and the two fans who he says beat him up because he was cheering for the Red Sox.

He says he was “viciously attacked and physically assaulted” by the two men, who later pled guilty to misdemeanor assault charges. By the way, the Red Sox lost, 4-3.

Source: “Red Sox fan: Yankee fans beat me up,” The Republican (Springfield, MA), August 6, 2008, via

Money Honey

A federal judge recently ruled a New York lawyer can go ahead with her lawsuit alleging comments from her firm’s managing partner that she wasn’t being “sweet enough” in working with firm staff might amount to “discriminatory animus.”

A jury could find the partner had embraced “stereotypes that women should be ‘sweet’ and non-aggressive,” the judge wrote. The firm said she was fired because she clashed with staff at the firm. But the female associate said she was fired because the firm discriminated against women. They probably don’t think she’s so sweet now.

Source: Debra Cassens Weiss, “Lawyer Who Says She Was Chastised for Not Being Sweet Is Allowed to Sue,” American Bar Association Journal, August 5, 2008

Dangerous Driver

It’s one of those chain-of-events cases–the legal term is “proximate cause.” A New Jersey man was driving in his car when a bad golf shot exited a golf course, ricocheted off a lawn mower mowing the lawn on a nearby home, and struck the man’s windshield. Broken glass hurt the man’s eye. He sued the landscaping firm for not checking the lawn mower and the golf club for not putting up netting. And he’s letting the auto manufacturer get away with not installing golf-ball-proof glass?

Source: “Man injured by golf ball gets $725K,” Associated Press, July 31, 2008, via

Bat Judgment

When a school in Deseret, Utah found their facility was infested with bats, school officials told parents and students about it, warned students for two weeks over the intercom not to touch them, began working with the county health department to eradicate them, and offered free rabies shots. They paid out a total of $6,818.97 for rabies vaccines for seven students.

So of course they’re being sued in a class-action negligence case by the mother of a student who caught a bat and played with it for two hours. “The … problems in this case are not nearly as serious as they could have been, but they were real problems that people had to deal with,” the mother’s lawyer said. And now the taxpayers will have to deal with it.

Source: Sara Israelsen-Hartley, “Lehi mom sues Alpine School District over bats,” Deseret News, July 17, 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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