Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-24

Published November 29, 2010

Law professor Jonathan Turley celebrates Thanksgiving every year with “Turkey Torts,” his collection of lawsuits that give plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers reasons to give thanks.

This year’s collection includes one brought by a family who accidently ate part of grandma for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Grandma had died earlier, and her daughter had purchased heart-shaped lockets for herself and her seven daughters and stepdaughters to wear. They were filled with ashes–cremains, they are usually called.

As the family ate their mashed potatoes, they noticed small flecks in them but kept eating them anyway. They were almost finished when they realized their lockets had been leaking grandma’s ashes.

Source: Jonathan Turley, “Turkey Torts (2010),”, November 25, 2010

Glad We Got that Cleared Up

A Las Vegas man who shed his trousers and exposed his private parts in public was properly found guilty of indecent exposure, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled.

The law prohibits exposure of one’s “person” in an “open and indecent or obscene” manner. The man charged argued it was unconstitutionally vague as to the conduct prohibited. “The common law, as well as the case law concerning [the state indecent exposure statue], leaves no doubt that a person who intentionally exposes his genitals on a public street corner commits indecent exposure,” the court wrote.

Source: Ed Vogel, “High court rules man did indeed indecently expose himself,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 24, 2010 via how appealing.

The Price of Freedom

A British man who won about $87 million (U.S.) in a European lottery will be involuntarily giving his ex-wife about $3.5 million (U.S.) of it even though they were divorced 10 years ago when she left him for another man.

The man agreed to pay this amount after the ex-wife sued him. He reportedly settled the lawsuit rather than risk being ordered by the court to pay her a larger amount. The ex-wife rejected the man’s offer to set up a $3.5 million (U.S.) trust fund for their daughter.

The man and his new wife aren’t hurting, though. They bought a $6 million (U.S.) mansion with a 25-seat home theater and indoor swimming pool.

Source: Luke Salkeld and Claire Ellicott, “£56m lottery winner ordered to pay £2m to ex-wife even though she left him for another man … TEN YEARS ago,” Daily Mail, November 23, 2010

Man Over Board

New Yorker Jimmy McMillan unsuccessfully ran for public office twice in the past four years under the party he founded and named “The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.”

Now he’s blaming the state Board of Elections for his election losses and suing it for $350 million in damages.

McMillan ran for governor in 2006 and for New York City mayor in 2009, but the board edited the “Damn” out of the line disclosing his party affiliation.

State officials say they deleted the word so it fit on the ballot line. State law requires the party wording for all candidates be in the same typeface and size, so they couldn’t reduce the font to a smaller one. McMillan claims the move violated his constitutional rights.

He was not appeased by the board’s action when he ran a second time for governor this November. The board listed his party as “Rent is 2 Damn High Party.”

Source: Mitchel Maddux, “Damn elex board!” New York Post, November 19, 2010, via

No Time to Wallow in the Mire

Outgoing Florida governor Charlie Crist’s favorite song is the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” so as one of his last official acts he’s seriously considering a posthumous pardon for the group’s lead singer, Jim Morrison, who was convicted of unlawful exposure and public profanity charges in Miami in 1969. The charges were on appeal when Morrison died in 1971 at the age of 27.

“There’s some troubling aspects to it as to whether there was a valid conviction,” Crist said. “The more I learn about it, the more I’m convinced a wrong may have been done here. My heart just bleeds for his legacy and his family.”

Morrison’s lawyer said the conviction came after a “fair trial.” “There were credible witnesses and an honorable jury,” the lawyer said. “This wasn’t some kangaroo court that in the old South lynched someone without any evidence.”

Claude Kirk, the state’s governor at the time, strongly disagrees with Crist. “Are you kidding? It’s all bull—-,” Kirk said. “It’s part of why the man wound up a junkie and dead.”

Source: Brendan Farrington, “Fla. Gov. Wants The Doors’ Jim Morrison Pardoned,” Associated Press, November 17, 2010

Dog Bites Man

A soldier from Fort Campbell is suing the Oak Grove, Kentucky police department for $1.1 million after a police dog bit him.

Police were called to a local truck stop following reports of a man beating on tables and windows. The dog bite came in connection with his arrest for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and alcohol-related charges.

Source: “Fort Campbell soldier sues police over dog bite,” Washington Examiner, November 22, 2010 via faces of lawsuit abuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Fruit Suit

A Michigan man is suing Del Monte Corp. and grocer Kroger Co. for injuries allegedly inflicted by a jar of exploding fruit.

The man was using a screwdriver to remove the lid on the jar of Orchard Select Premium Mixed Fruit, when he claims the lid flew off, struck him in the eye, and knocked him unconscious.

His suit alleges the jar was defective and the fruit, a blend of peach, pear, and pineapple, was “injurious.” He rejected an offer of $150,000.

Source: Roneisha Mullen, “Offer in exploding jar suit is rejected, The Detroit News,” November 18, 2010, via

Judge Rescues Superheroes

A Los Angeles judge has ruled individuals who dress up as Batman, Wolverine, Catwoman, and the Dark Knight and solicit tips from tourists on Hollywood Boulevard cannot be arrested by police for loitering and other crimes.

Some of the performers who’ve been arrested or threatened with arrest sued the city for an injunction to stop the police conduct. The judge endorsed their argument citing First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.

Source: Annie Youderian, “Judge Saves the Day for Hollywood Superheroes,” Courthouse News Service, November 22, 2010, via lowering the bar

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