Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-6

Published March 15, 2010

Baby Talk

Remember the Superbowl ad for E-Trade, in which a two-timing, macho, wolfman boy baby lies to his baby girlfriend? “Sorry about last night,” he says. “Ah, I just don’t understand why you didn’t call,” she says. “I was on E-Trade diversifying my portfolio,” he says, “taking control, like a wolf.”

“And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn’t over?” she asks suspiciously. Up pops Lindsay, “Milk-a-what?”

Well, actress and singer Lindsay Lohan is claiming baby Lindsay is modeled after her, and she has filed suit in New York for $100 million in damages for the pain and suffering the ad caused her. She wants E-Trade to stop airing the ad and hand over all copies.

“Many celebrities are known by one name only, and E-Trade is using that knowledge to profit,” Lohan’s lawyer said. “They’re using her name as a parody of her life. Everybody’s talking about it and saying it’s Lindsay Lohan.”

Source: Kieran Crowley, “Lindsay Lohan wants $100M over E-Trade ad,” New York Post, March 9, 2010

We Owe it to Ourselves

A local council in the United Kingdom is suing itself over fines for a parking ticket it issued to itself.

The Islington Council, a unit of local government, issued a parking ticket to one of its own departments, which disputed the fine and appealed it back to the council. The council denied the appeal, and the department took the case to a parking adjudicator, who voided the ticket. The department then asked for its costs, essentially from itself, which the adjudicator denied.

The practice of councils suing themselves is so widespread that British author Barrie Segal wrote a book about it, The Parking Ticket Awards: Crazy Councils, Meter Madness & Traffic Warden Hell. “You couldn’t make this up. This illustrates everything that is wrong with unaccountable parking enforcement in the UK. The craziest thing is that to ask for costs, Islington council must believe that it acted wholly unreasonably or vexatiously against itself.”

Source: Lauren Thompson, “London councils sue themselves for parking offences; Critics say the practise illustrates everything that is wrong with unaccountable parking enforcement in the UK,” Times on line, February 19, 2010 via overlawyered

There Is No Free Breakfast

A Ventura County hardware store violated county health laws by offering free coffee and donuts to its early morning customers. An anonymous customer complained about the practice to the county health department, and inspectors concluded the store is violating county health laws.

The store can avoid an enforcement suit and continue handing out the treats if it gets a permit and installs a special food preparation kitchen, the county said. “Anybody who handles food is subject to the regulations.”

The store owner, who has offered the free refreshments for 15 years, is working with the county. “We want to be in compliance with the law,” he said. But customers are upset. “It’s the money, not the sanitation,” one said. “We’ve abandoned common sense where the need for licenses and fees are more important than tradition.”

Source: Mark Storer, “County pulls plug on free coffee, doughnuts at Camarillo store,” Ventura County Star, February 24, 2010 via overlawyered

Who Was that Masked Man?

Sheriff’s deputies in Tampa arrested a local teenager for wearing a clown mask with bright orange hair in public.

He allegedly violated a law prohibiting wearing masks or hoods on a public road. The law dates to 1951 and was aimed at the Ku Klux Klan, but this is not the first time the law has been used against others. In 2008, Tampa police arrested a man wearing a Batman mask. Those charges were dismissed in court.

Source: Josh Poltilove, “Man wearing clown mask in public not funny to police,” The Tampa Tribune, February 24, 2010 via lowering the bar

Body Suit

The family of a deceased Colorado woman and an Arizona foundation for freezing remains for later revival and medical treatment are feuding in court over the woman’s body. The woman signed a contract in 2006 with Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Scottsdale, Arizona to freeze her brain and bring her back to life when technology improved.

When she later developed cancer and was in great pain, she told her daughter she wanted to go to a hospice. The daughter erroneously told her she had to cancel the contract in order to go there, but the woman never signed paperwork calling it off.

A judge is expected to rule soon on who gets the body. Meanwhile, it’s being stored on dry ice at a local funeral home.

Source: KPHO-TV (Phoenix), “Who Owns Woman’s Frozen Remains?” February 27, 2010

Lost Cause

A lawyer is threatening to sue the City of Houston, Continental Airlines, and the food court at the Houston airport because his leather coat is lost.

The lawyer left his Polo black leather coat behind after eating in the food court before his flight to Las Vegas. The coat disappeared. The lawyer says the city, the airline, and the food court had a duty to collect the coat and keep it secure for a reasonable period of time. He wants the value of the coat, $800.

Source: The Smoking Gun, “Lawyer Threatens Suit Over Coat; Texas attorney wants $800–from somebody–for garment left in airport,” March 4, 2010

Antisocial Media

For one Florida lawyer, Facebook has become “like gasoline on the fire” in divorce and child custody cases.

One woman videotaped her arguments with her husband and posted them. Another woman used her husband’s postings during the marriage about his frustrations with parenting to win custody of the children. The lawyer requires his clients to cancel their Facebook accounts, but only after he’s collected any posted evidence against the other side.

More than 80 percent of lawyers responded to an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey saying Facebook is showing up in more divorce cases, replacing traditional sources of incriminating evidence such as private investigators and credit card bills. But lawyers say many clients refuse to give up their accounts.

One woman celebrated her win of broad child custody by going drinking with friends. One in the group was arrested for drunken driving. The woman posted provocative photos of herself, captioning one: “Precursor to a DUI?” Her husband is trying to get the child custody revoked.

Source: Richard Mullins, “Facebook plus divorce equals flammable situation,” The Tampa Tribune, February 18, 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