Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-4

Published February 15, 2010

British law bans advertisements calling for health care workers who are “very reliable and hard-working,” a UK businesswoman who tried to post one was told by government officials.

The woman, whose business recruits temporary workers for the National Health Service, was told the ad discriminates against employees who are not reliable.

At first she thought it was a joke, but it turned out to be no laughing matter. “We are taking people off the dole and finding them jobs so not displaying the advert just seems absolutely ridiculous to me,” she said. “It’s very important for the patients that we have reliable workers.”

Source: “Advert for ‘reliable workers’ banned as discrimination by Jobcentre Plus; The boss of a recruitment firm said she was told she could not place an advert for ‘reliable workers’ because it discriminated against unreliable people,” (UK) Telegraph, January 26, 2010 via

Bridal Veil

A Sharia religious court in Dubai voided the marriage contract signed by an Arab ambassador after he claimed his bride-to-be’s face veil concealed the fact she was cross-eyed and had a beard.

The man told the court he didn’t see his bride before he signed a contract to marry her. He claimed he was deceived by the mother of the would-be wife, who showed him photos of a sister. He unveiled her after the marriage contract was signed so he could give her a kiss, and discovered her eye problems and facial hair. He alleges he suffered emotional and moral damage.

He asked for the return of the Dh500,000 (U.S. $136,147) he spent on jewelry, clothes, and other gifts for the woman. The court agreed to void the contract but allowed the woman to keep the jewelry and gifts.

Source: Bassam Za’za’, “Man claims fiancee hid beard under niqab; An Arab ambassador said he decided to call off his wedding immediately after he discovered that his wife-to-be, who wears a niqab, was bearded and cross-eyed,”, February 10, 2010 via

Attention, Please

A lawyer-wannabe is suing the Law School Admissions Council because it refuses to grant him twice the usual time allotted to take the Law School Admissions Test. The young man says he has a disability impairing his abilities to read and concentrate “to the point that his competence level is below that expected in comparison to most people.”

He alleges LSAC is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and seeks an injunction, damages, and attorney fees. LSAC asserts he doesn’t meet the act’s requirement of showing he was “substantially limit[ed] in a major life activity.” The decision effectively bars him from attending law school.

Source: Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, “Man Sues for Extra Time on LSAT, Claiming ADHD,” Texas Lawyer, February 4, 2010 via, a project of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

School Booked

A 12-year-old Queens junior high school student was arrested, handcuffed, hauled out of school, and detained by police for doodling on her desk with an erasable marking pen.

“I love my friends Abby and Faith,” she wrote on the desk with a lime-green marker. “Lex [her nickname] was here. 2/1/10.” She added a smiley face.

The girl thought she might get a detention and be required to clean the desk. “To put handcuffs on me is unnecessary,” she said. “The whole situation has been a nightmare,” her mother said.

Police conceded officials overreacted, but her arrest was one of several, and the student is still under suspension from school. In family court in early February, she was ordered to perform eight hours of community service and write a book report and an essay. “I definitely learned not to ever draw on a desk,” she said.

Source: Rachel Monahan, “Queens girl Alexa Gonzalez hauled out of school in handcuffs after getting caught doodling on desk,” New York Daily News, February 4, 2010

Hung-Up Juries

The U.S. Judicial Conference is recommending federal juries be instructed not to talk, text, or tweet to do legal research while deliberating on their verdicts.

In response to this increasing problem, the judges wrote in part, “You, as jurors, must decide this case based solely on the evidence presented here within the four walls of this courtroom. This means that during the trial you must not conduct any independent research about this case, the matters in the case, and the individuals or corporations involved in the case.”

The instructions ban use of such devices as BlackBerries and iPhones and networking sites such as Internet chat rooms, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Source: Marcia Coyle, “No Talking, No Texting, No Tweeting ,” blogoflegaltimes, February 8, 2010

Who Own Dat?

New Orleans and Florida businesses may be sued by the National Football League and the New Orleans Saints for selling “Who Dat” T-shirts.

The NFL, as agent of the team, sent out cease-and-desist letters claiming the team owns the trademark “Who Dat.” Not unexpectedly, the move was very unpopular with locals, including politicians. U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) told the NFL he’s going to print his own shirts saying “Who Dat say we can’t print WHO Dat shirts?”

Source: Martin Schwimmer, “Trademark Nation: Who Dat Who Own Who Dat?” The Huffington Post, February 4, 2010 via

Tax Attacks

A Michigan Township wants to increase property taxes to raise money to fight lawsuits filed to lower property taxes.

Town officials say fighting such lawsuits is draining town coffers and that residents should vote for the referendum measure to ensure fair taxation. Voters are reportedly “confused” by the proposal.

Source: “Some Saugatuck Township residents puzzled by new tax request to fund ongoing legal battle with millionaire,” Grand Rapids Press, February 4, 2010

Legal Damage

The Florida judge who presided over the trial of a smoker’s case against Philip Morris USA said he will reduce the jury’s verdict because it was “excessive” and “shocking.”

The jury awarded $56.5 million in compensatory damages and $244 million in punitive damages. It was the largest award in the state for a single smoker.

“I am absolutely persuaded there was a passion in this verdict that resulted in an excessive verdict,” the judge said. He did not state when he would rule on the reduction or how much it would be.

Source: Vanessa Blum, “Smoker’s $300 Million Award to Be Overturned,” Daily Business Review, February 9, 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
Editors: Maureen Martin, 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