Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-20

Published October 4, 2010

A California law firm is being sued by one of its former partners, who alleges he was fired for refusing to attend a firm retreat where male partners “would strip naked and pass around a wooden phallus in a circle while describing their sexual experiences.”

The retreat was conducted by the ManKind Project and incorporates a “New Warrior Training Adventure.” The group says the retreat is “a modern male initiation and self-examination” and that handling the wooden phallus is entirely voluntary. The “adventure” is “a small part of reaching your inner man,” according to the firm’s Web site. “Most men find the experience to be very freeing and fun, and get over their initial discomfort quickly.”

The complaint contains even more graphic details. The curious can find a link to it here:

Source: Jonathan Turley, “Lawyer Sues California Law Firm After Refusing to Attend Retreat with Alleged Male Nudity,” September 29, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn

Observers are predicting litigation over the design of a Las Vegas hotel made of curved glass. “Guests have been complaining that the curvature of the building produces a “death ray” that literally melts plastic and causes severe burns in the pool area,” according to Jonathan Turley, a George Washington School of Law professor. The hotel concedes there is an area of high temperatures, but the management would rather call it a “solar convergence phenomenon” than a “death ray.”

Possible litigation could include a suit by the hotel against the architectural firm for faulty design and by hotel guests against the hotel for injuries. One man–a lawyer–complained some of his hair was fried after a dip in the pool.

“One telltale sign of a problem is when the pool staff brings you corn kernels when you order popcorn and just tell you to ‘be patient … it will be ready in a few minutes,'” jokes Turley on his blog. “Then there is the recommendation of a sun lotion with SPF +400.”

“At a minimum,” Turley said a bit more seriously, “a sign should be posted saying ‘Warning: Death Ray Directed at Pool Guests During Certain Hours.'”

Source: Jonathan Turley, “Death Ray: Hotel Design Blamed For Burning Guests in Pool,” September 29, 2010

Surprise Inside

A Pennsylvania judge was charged with disorderly conduct after he hid condoms in acorns and handed them out to “unsuspecting women” at the state capitol. It happened in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. The judge’s attorney declined comment.

Source: Associated Press, “Police: Judge hands out condoms hidden in acorns,” September 29, 2010

Vision Thing

A man confined to a wheelchair is suing a Tampa area strip club, claiming “he was denied full and equal access to, and full and equal enjoyment of club facilities.”

The suit alleges the club lacks wheelchair ramps, that the hostess station is too high, and that the handicapped lack access to the washrooms and the jukebox. The club says it would like to make the changes but can’t get permits from Tampa due to zoning laws.

Source: Angeeneh Adamian, “Handicapped man sues Tampa strip club,” Bay News, August 7, 2010, via

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

A jury awarded $10.8 million in damages to a San Diego woman and her mother for injuries they suffered when a vehicle driven by a Pizza Hut deliveryman crossed the centerline of the road and crashed into their car.

The lawsuit alleged Pizza Hut was liable because it hired the driver, who had been licensed for only three months and had a history of blackouts. She was ultimately diagnosed with epilepsy, but not until after the accident.

Walter Olson, a senior fellow of the Cato Institute who also runs, recalled writing about a case from 1997 in which a truck driver for Ryder Systems, Inc. won a $5.5 million verdict against that company for firing him after he suffered an epileptic seizure. He was later hired by another firm, had a seizure while driving, and crashed his vehicle into a tree, Olson reported.

Source: Greg Moran, “Pizza Hut must pay mother and daughter $10.8 million,” San Diego Union-Tribune, July 28, 2010; Walter Olson, “Pizza Hut told to pay $11 million for epileptic driver’s crash,” September 30, 2010

A Real Dental Case

A North Dakota killer is suing prison authorities for $75,000 for extracting his damaged tooth rather than repairing it.

The man cracked his tooth on a piece of shell in his breaded oyster–yes, you read that right–and asked prison authorities to give him a root canal and crown, but instead they pulled the tooth. The man alleges the decision amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his constitutional rights.

The prisoner was convicted of killing and dismembering a Wisconsin man. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Source: Associated Press, “ND inmate sues over pulled tooth,” September 25, 2010 via facesoflawsuitabuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

Cruel and Unusual Television

A prisoner in Pennsylvania is suing the Kardashian sisters (Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney) for causing him “extreme emotional distress” on their reality television shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami.

The prisoner says the shows’ content features domestic abuse, emotional abuse, and racism. He claims he is permanently scarred and wants $75,000 to compensate for suffering “mental anguish, embarrassment, shame and humiliation.”

Source: Matthew Stabley, “Kardashians Cause Pennsylvania Prisoner ‘Emotional Distress,'” September 20, 2010,

Fright Manifest

American Airlines is being sued by a passenger on a flight from Bellevue, Washington to New York City, which she said traumatized her.

The plane lost electric power to some systems during the flight and switched over to battery power. The lights went out, the public address system failed, and the phone from flight attendants to the cockpit didn’t work. The plane made an emergency landing in Chicago. None of the 190 passengers was injured.

The passenger said she has not been able to fly for two years and has difficulty working. She is on disability from her job at Microsoft. The mere sound of a jet flying over her “freaks me out,” she said.

Source: Susan Gilmore, “Bellevue woman sues, says American Airlines took her on a harrowing flight,” The Seattle Times, September 1, 2010

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