Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-12

Published June 7, 2010

A Queens woman is suing Citibank, claiming the bank fired her because she looked too sexy at work.

The woman was a business banking officer at a Citibank branch in Manhattan. The branch manager and his assistant told her “she must refrain from wearing certain items of clothing, in particular, turtleneck tops, pencil skirts, [or] fitted business suits,” the suit alleges. She told them other women workers wore such clothing, the suit says. “In blatantly discriminatory fashion, plaintiff was advised that as a result of the shape of her figure, such clothes were purportedly ‘too distracting’ for her male colleagues and supervisors to bear.”

She also alleges she was told “as a result of her tall stature, coupled with her curvaceous figure, she should not wear classic high-heeled business shoes, as this purportedly drew attention to her body in a manner that was upsetting to her easily distracted male managers.”

The claim was originally filed in court but dismissed because she had previously agreed any employment disputes would be settled in private arbitration, where her case is now pending.

Source: Dareh Gregorian, “Woman says she was fired from Citibank for being too hot,” New York Post, June 3, 2010 via faces of lawsuit abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Stop, Look, and Listen

A woman who was hit by a car while walking on a Utah road marked on a route provided by Google Maps is suing Google because it failed to warn her there were no sidewalks on the road.

According to her complaint, Google was “careless, reckless and negligent” in providing the directions, leading her “onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer severe permanent physical, emotional and mental injuries.”

Source: Nick Klopsis, “Lauren Rosenberg sues Google, blames faulty Google Maps directions after being hit by car in Utah,” New York Daily News, May 31, 2010 via lowering the bar

Bottle Battle

A bartender on the upper West Side in New York is alleged to have poured Bacardi 151 rum on the top of the bar and ignited it, causing a customer to be severely burned. So the customer is suing Bacardi, of course, claiming the rum is a defective product because it’s too flammable and the rum bottle is improperly designed.

The bottle has a flame arrester on its top, but the customer alleges it was poorly designed because it can be easily removed by bartenders and was removed in this instance.

The customer is seeking medical expenses and punitive damages. Bacardi argued it had “nothing to do” with the staging of “a fire show” at the bar. The company also pointed to numerous warning labels on the bottle.

The judge rejected the company’s argument and ruled the case can go forward.

Source: Noeleen G. Walder, “Burn Victim’s Suit Goes Forward Against Bacardi Over Bartender’s Pyrotechnics,” New York Law Journal, June 1, 2010 via overlawyered

Live Free or Die!

For a Florida lawyer, the foreclosure crisis has a silver lining–in fact, a gold one.

The number of foreclosure actions is skyrocketing and they’re taking longer to resolve due to legal challenges, moratoria on foreclosure, government pressures for modifications, and lack of manpower at lenders. In two Florida counties, 34,000 foreclosure cases are now pending, compared to 4,000 a decade ago. In January 2008 the average borrower nationwide was delinquent for 251 days before eviction; now the borrower has been delinquent for 438 days before eviction. In Florida that number is 518 days.

The lawyer is writing to Florida residents who are in foreclosure. Even if the residents have “no defenses,” the letter says, “you may be able to keep living in your home for weeks, months or even years without paying your mortgage.” “The longer I’m in foreclosure, the better,” said one of his clients.

He has 350 clients so far, with 10 new ones signing up every week. Each pays $1,500 per year for six hours of legal work. “I just do as much as needs to be done to force the bank to prove its case,” he said.

Source: David Streitfeld, “Owners Stop Paying Mortgages, and Stop Fretting,” New York Times, May 31, 2010

Nanny State

The owner of a Connecticut pizzeria, accused of violating state child labor laws by having his kids work in the restaurant, is suing the state on grounds the laws violate his constitutional rights.

The restaurant has been open and in the same family since 1955, and three generations of family children have learned the business. “It’s our culture; it’s our tradition; it’s our civil right,” the owner said, claiming parents have a right to educate their children in how to run a family business.

The family’s lawyer said the children, ages 8, 11, and 13, are there only after school on Fridays and on Saturdays. They do not work with dangerous equipment, are not paid, and work under supervision by their parents or sometimes their grandparents.

“It’s an interesting case, from a lawyer’s perspective,” the lawyer said. “They just want to be left alone.”

Stan Fisher, “It’s tradition vs. labor law at Clinton pizzeria,” The New Haven Register, May 28, 2010

Sleeping Duty

United Airlines is being sued by a Michigan woman who fell asleep during a flight from Washington, DC to Philadelphia and was left sleeping on the plane for four hours after it landed, until a cleaning crew found her.

“I fell asleep on the plane and next thing you know I wake up, it’s 4:00 in the morning. Nobody’s on the plane. Nothing,” she said.

She’s filed a suit for false imprisonment, emotional distress, and negligence.

Source: Janelle Long, “Ferndale woman suing after she fell asleep on plane,” WXYZ-TV (Detroit), May 27, 2010

Conceived in Liberty

An Australian woman in jail for welfare fraud is suing the government for refusing to allow her in vitro fertilization treatment so she can have another child.

The woman, 45, represented by 12 lawyers mostly at taxpayer expense, claims the refusal violates her civil rights. She has two other children but wants a third before IVF treatments are cut off when she turns 46. She is paying for the treatment herself, but she would have to travel with prison guards at taxpayer expense at least 18 times during the treatment.

She claims her right to a family and right to privacy have been violated. She also claims unequal treatment because other female prisoners are allowed conjugal visits and the right to conceive.

Source: Norrie Ross, “Jailed mum’s rights ‘denied,'” Herald Sun, June 2, 2010, via overlawyered

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