Recent Lawsuits/Cases - Part 6

Kansas City Diocese Settles Child Porn Lawsuit

The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against a priest who has been convicted of producing child pornography. The lawsuit accused the priest of taking “sexually explicit photos” of a young Missouri girl and distributing them over the Internet; the suit also named a diocese bishop, who allegedly discovered the photos but failed to report the abuse. The lawsuit was settled for $600,000.

Judy L. Thomas, Kansas City Star 05/16/2013

Read Article: Kansas City Star

Suit: Woman Got Meningitis from Steroid Injection

A Jefferson County, Ala., woman has filed a lawsuit against a local medical center and a compounding center after becoming seriously ill from a steroid injection. The injection was similar to a batch of drugs produced by the center linked to a deadly outbreak of meningitis. A few months after she received her injection in May 2012, the plaintiff was hospitalized and treated for meningeoncephalitis. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Kent Faulk, AL.com 05/16/2013

Read Article: AL.com

Suit: College Coach Coerced Player into Sex Acts

A former student at Concordia University Chicago has filed suit against the school’s former baseball coach, claiming he was coerced into sexual acts as payment for helping the student get drafted by a major league team. According to the suit, the baseball coach would “talk up [the plaintiff] if he performed sexual acts on video.” The student allegedly performed between 20 and 30 sexual acts in the coach’s office between the summer of 2008 and 2009.

Naomi Nix, Chicago Tribune 05/16/2013

Read Article: Chicago Tribune

Hotel Pays $10.9 Million to Settle Fall Lawsuit

A Ramada hotel in Norfolk, Va., has agreed to pay $10.9 million to settle a lawsuit with the parents of a toddler who fell from a hotel walkway in 2011. The railing on the second-floor walkway at the hotel was missing, the suit claimed, and the toddler fell through the open space, suffering permanent brain injuries.

Patrick Wilson, Virginian Pilot 05/16/2013

Read Article: Virginian Pilot

Reverse Discrimination Suit in Tenn. to Proceed

A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled that a former employee of the state Labor Department can continue with his reverse discrimination lawsuit against the agency. The lawsuit claims that the former head of the agency and two aides, all of whom are African-American, “conspired to fire [the plaintiff] and other longtime employees because they are white.” The judge ruled that while the plaintiff’s claims have not been proven, they do contain “ample allegations of [the defendant's] intent and malice as well as a factual basis for the pleadings.”

Walter F. Roche Jr, Tennessean 05/16/2013

Read Article: Tennessean

Products

Children’s Sweatshirts Recalled over Strangulation Risk

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issue a recall of about 600 children’s hooded sweatshirts and jackets from Deezo due to a strangulation hazard. The sweatshirts have drawstrings through the hood, which can strangle young children. There have been no injuries or incidents reported.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 05/16/2013

Laws/Cases

27,000 RV Power Awnings Recalled

RV parts manufacturer Dometic USA has recall more than 27,000 RV power awning kits due to a defect in the product. The company determined that if a step was missed in the awning’s installation, the motor can become damaged, which would cause the awning to unfurl unexpectedly. The products were manufactured between Feb. 13 and April 9 of this year.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 05/09/2013

Read Article: PR Newswire

Medical Device Maker Settles Whistleblower Suit

Medical device maker C.R. Bard Inc will settle a $48.3 million lawsuit over allegations that the company made illegal payments to hospitals and physicians in efforts to promote its radiation treatments. The whistleblower lawsuit said doctors and hospitals took kickbacks from 1998 to 2006 to Bard’s brachytherapy seeds.

Staff Report, Chicago Tribune 05/13/2013

Read Article: Chicago Tribune

Skechers Settles Lawsuit over Shape-Ups

A $40 million settlement in a lawsuit against Skechers USA was approved by a federal judge last week. In the lawsuit, consumers accused the company of making false claims about their “Shape-Up” shoes and the health benefits they provide. Up to 500,000 customers may be eligible to receive refunds for their purchase under the terms of the settlement.

Kate Stanton, United Press International 05/13/2013

Read Article: United Press International

Merck & Co. Accused of Sexual Discrimination

A female sales rep for Merck & Co. has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the company, claiming she was discriminated against for being pregnant and taking maternity leave. The lawsuit says the woman was “demoted in 2010 for taking maternity leave” and given unfair performance evaluations that “stalled her career.” The discrimination stems from companywide incentives that punish managers and directors when their employees take legally protective leave.

Ransdell Pierson, Reuters 05/14/2013

Read Article: Reuters

Suit: Compton School Police Targeting Latinos

Latino parents and students in the Compton Unified School District have filed suit against district officials, alleging that school police profile and abuse Latino students. Police are accused of using “excessive force” against a group of parents and students who were protesting district policies, and in one incident allegedly beat, pepper-sprayed and used a chokehold on a man who was videoing a police arrest. The lawsuit is seeking $41 million in damages.

Abby Sewell, LA Times 05/14/2013

Read Article: LA Times

Products

469,000 Jeeps Recalled Globally

Chrysler has issued a recall of 469,000 Jeep SUVs across the globe due to an issue with the transmission. The automaker said the vehicles can shift into neutral suddenly when the car is started up due to faulty signaling from a circuit board. The recall covers 2005 to 2010 Grand Cherokees and 2006 to 2010 Commanders.

Wire Report, New York Daily News 05/13/2013

NC Inmates Allegedly Beaten Off Camera, Suit Says

Eight inmates at North Carolina’s Central Prison have filed suit against the jail, alleging correctional officers beat and stomped on restrained inmates in “blind spots” in the prison outside the view of cameras. The suit claims the inmates were beaten so badly that “one lost sight in an eye and another is unable to walk.”

Wire Report, Charlotte Observer 05/10/2013

Read Article: Charlotte Observer

DC Officers Accused of Beating Teenagers

Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Metro Transit Police officers in Washington, D.C., claiming police used “excessive force” in confronting two teenagers and then tried to cover up the abuse. In one of the complaints, officers allegedly put a 14-year-old “in a chokehold, punched him in the torso and subdued him with pepper spray.” Officers are also accused of fabricating evidence to justify the use of force and arrests. The suits are seeking unspecified damages.

Luz Lazo, The Washington Post 05/08/2013

Read Article: The Washington Post

Wet Seal Pays $7.5 Million to Settle Discrimination Suit

Clothing retailer Wet Seal has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by African-American employees who claimed they were fired because of their race. The suit accused company executives of working to present a “blonde-and-blue-eyed front” in all its stores, denying non-white employees promotions and equal pay. In the past year, amidst the lawsuit, the company purged its board and replaced top executive officers.

Tiffany Hsu, LA Times 05/09/2013

Read Article: LA Times

Judge Allows Bible Verses on Football Banners

A judge in Texas has ruled in favor of cheerleaders at Kountze High School in a lawsuit over banners displaying Bible verses as football games. The judge determined that no law “prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events,” but also said that the school district is not forced to allow the banners.

Matthew Brown, The Deseret News 05/09/2013

Read Article: The Deseret News

Suit: Girl Assaulted, Arrested for Falling Asleep in Class

A student at Hoover High School in Alabama has filed suit against school officials and the local police department, claiming she was injured and arrested for falling asleep at her desk. The girl, who suffers from diabetes, sleep apnea and asthma, was harassed by her teacher when she dozed off at her desk and was then shoved into a filing cabinet and handcuffed by an officer on campus. The lawsuit says the girl had her right arm in a cast for a month due to the assault, and is seeking unspecified damages.

Kelsey Stein, AL.com 05/10/2013

Read Article: AL.com

Products

3,700 Toro Riding Mowers Recalled for Fire Risk

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 3,700 Toro Z Master riding lawn mowers due to a fire hazard. The agency said the idler pulley can rub against the fuel tank, which poses a fire risk. There have been six reports of incidents, but no injuries occurred.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 05/09/2013

Suit Filed over Lack of Sign-Language Interpreters

Two Washington, D.C., women have filed suit against the D.C. Housing Authority, claiming they have been denied sign-language interpreters, a violation of federal law. The women, who are both hearing-impaired, say in their suit they were forced to “communicate with agency representatives through scribbled notes or attempts at lip reading.” The lawsuit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post 05/07/2013

Read Article: The Washington Post

Texas Doctor Challeges Affordable Care Act

A doctor in Houston has filed suit against the federal Affordable Care Act, attempting to halt its enforcement in the state of Texas. In his suit, the doctor says the new act violates the Fifth Amendment because it requires employers to “pay private insurance companies for health coverage.” State representatives say the law could be a huge blow to many local business owners, as companies could be fined thousands of dollars for failing to provide the mandated health care the act requires.

Emily Ramshaw and Becca Aaronson, Texas Tribune 05/08/2013

Read Article: Texas Tribune

Suit: Mentally Disabled Married Couple not Allowed to Live Together

A newlywed mentally disabled couple in New York has filed suit against the state-sanctioned nonprofits that run the group homes where they live, who refuse to allow the couple to share a bed. The lawsuit claims couple are forced to sleep at separate group homes because the nonprofits don’t believe they have the capacity to commit to marriage and consent to sex. The suit accuses the homes of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Wire Report, New York Daily News 05/07/2013

Read Article: New York Daily News

Florida City Settles Wrongful Termination Suit

The town of Medley, Fla., has settled a lawsuit with two former police officers who claimed they were wrongfully terminated. The officers stated in their suit that they were “abruptly” fired and “without cause” by the police chief, a violation of the town charter and the union’s collective bargaining agreement. While most of the settlement terms were undisclosed, the officers did agree to not seek reinstatement to the city police force.

Theo Karantsalis , Miami Herald 05/08/2013

Read Article: Miami Herald

Products

GM Recalls Vehicles Due to Hybrid System Issue

General Motors has issued a recall of more than 38,000 Chevy Malibu Eco and Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans due to a problem with the eAssist mild hybrid system. The company said the circuitry in the trunk can malfunction, resulting in a loss of battery charge. If the vehicles continue to be driven on a deteriorated battery, the “engine may stall and/or the vehicle may not start.”

Fred Meier, USA Today 05/08/2013

Read Article: USA Today

Wrongful Death

Suit Filed over Fatal Shooting by Brooklyn PD

Parents of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by Brooklyn police earlier this year have said they will file suit against the department. According to the family, officers shot the boy up to seven times in the street and left him lying on the ground, mortally wounded, for 15 minutes before requesting medical attention. The family accuses the officers or using excessive force in the March 9 incident.

Oren Yaniv , New York Daily News 05/08/2013

Children’s Apparel Girl’s Clothing Sets Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall of more than 9,000 girl’s clothing sets from Children’s Apparel. The agency found that the belted vest sold with the set can become snagged in small spaces, posing an entanglement hazard. There have been no incidents or injuries reported.

Staff Report, PR Newswire 04/26/2013

Read Article: PR Newswire

Drugmakers Settle Suit over Generic OxyContin

Generic drug maker Actavis Inc. has agreed to settle a lawsuit with Purdue Pharma over the generic version of the painkiller OxyContin. Under the settlement, Purdue Pharma has agreed to allow Actavis to market a small number of bottles of the company’s generic OxyContin in 2014.

Staff Report, Reuters 04/26/2013

Read Article: Reuters

Orange County Settles Suit over Police Shooting

The city of Orange County has approved a settlement with the family of a Marine sergeant who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy last year. The lawsuit accused the officer of using excessive force when he shot the victim in his car in a high school parking lot. The Marine was unarmed at the time of the shooting, and had his two daughters in the car with him. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed.

Nicole Santa Cruz, LA Times 04/24/2013

Read Article: LA Times

Suit: Ford Fusion MPG Claims are Fraudulent

A group of car owners in Pennsylvania have filed suit against Ford Motors, claiming the company’s Fusion hybrid models don’t meet fuel-efficiency claims. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs state the hybrids provide “significantly worse fuel economy than the advertised 47 miles per gallon.” Tests done by Consumer Reports show the Fusion hybrid models got up to 21 percent less miles per gallon than Ford advertises. The suit is asking for damages of at least $5 million.

Sophia Pearson, Houston Chronicle 04/26/2013

Read Article: Houston Chronicle

Discrimination Suit Dismissed Against United

A San Francisco judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against United Continental Airlines alleging discrimination against minority employees. Last year, 23 African-American employees sued the airline, claiming the company promotion system discriminated against black employees. The judge, however, ruled the plaintiffs “failed to present enough information to support the claims.”

Karen Gullo, Bloomberg 04/24/2013

Read Article: Bloomberg

Business Litigation

Countrywide Settles Junk Bond Investor Lawsuit

Countrywide Financial Corporation has agreed to pay $500 million to settle an investor lawsuit over the sale of junk bonds in 2008. The suit, led by the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System, was filed in 2010 after securities sold by Countrywide were downgraded to junk bonds. Countrywide was one of the largest subprime lenders in the U.S.

Staff Report, Chicago Tribune 04/17/2013

Read Article: Chicago Tribune

$7.25 Million Awarded in Cochlear Device Suit

A U.S. District Court has awarded $7.25 million to a Louisville girl who was severely shocked by a cochlear device implanted in her head. The lawsuit claimed that the device, manufactured by Advance Bionics, was defective and that company executives were aware of the defects and hid that fact from consumers. The suit stated that about 25 percent of the devices that have been implanted have failed. The girl received a shock so violent from the device that she was “thrown to the ground, vomiting and convulsing.”

Andrew Wolfson, Louisville Courier Journal 04/19/2013

Read Article: Louisville Courier Journal

Suit: Inmate Denied Mental Health Treatment

A Georgia man on death row has filed suit against the state, claiming that because he is on death row, he has been denied the mental health treatment he needs. The plaintiff was diagnosed with PTSD in 1984 following his service in Vietnam, and accuses the state of failing to “have a system in place to treat death row inmates with mental health problems.” Due to his lack of treatment, the plaintiff has become “manic” and has seen his mental health “severely decline,” the lawsuit states.

Amy Leigh Womack, Macon Telegraph 04/21/2013

Read Article: Macon Telegraph

Lesbian Couple Settle Suit Against B&B

A Hawaii court has ruled in favor of a lesbian couple from California who were denied a room at a Hawaii bed and breakfast because they are gay. In its ruling, the court found that the bed and breakfast violated state law, ordering the B&B to cease discriminating against same-sex couples. The couple had sought unspecified damages in the lawsuit, but monetary awards were undisclosed.

Jeanne Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle

Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle

Suit Filed in Indiana over Sledding Accident

An Indiana boy has filed a lawsuit against a local Greenwood man after sustaining injuries in a sledding accident. In the suit, the boy claims he was riding on a sled attached to the defendant’s vehicle when the defendant began to drive erratically, “casing the sled to strike a tree.” The boy suffered permanent injuries, the suit says.

Read Article: Indianapolis Star

Products

5,000 Pairs of Infant Froggy Socks Recalled

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of about 5,000 pairs of infant Froggy Socks sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores across the country. The agency said the frog face and feet can fall off, posing a choking hazard to infants and small children. There have been no injuries associated with the recalled products.

Read Article: AL.com

Leak Prompts Recall of Scuba Diving Hoses

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall of more than 200 scuba diving air hoses due to a defect that can cause a leak. The agency said that the hose that connects to the tank’s pressure gauge can leak, increasing the risk of drowning. There has been one report of a hose leaking, but no injuries occurred.

Owen Hart’s Widow Settles Royalties Suit with WWE

The widow of former professional wrestler Owen Heart has settled a lawsuit with World Wrestling Entertainment over unpaid royalties and the use of her husband’s image. Martha Hart filed her suit in 2010 against the WWE, claiming royalties weren’t being paid to Hart’s estate and that the WWE was over-using his name and likeness. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Chuck Schilken, LA Times 04/04/2013

Man Fired After Refusing to Falsify Pool Chemical Reports

A former employee at a gym in New York City has filed suit against his former employer, claiming he was fired for refusing to lie about the chemical levels in the club’s four pools. The suit claimed the club kept a false set of books detailing chlorine and pH levels to show to Health Department officials. Customers often complained of rashes and discomfort from the pool, the suit says.

Barbara Ross , New York Daily News 04/05/2013

Reuters Allegedly Violated Whistle-Blower Protection Laws

A former employee with Thompson Reuters has filed suit against the company, alleging he was fired after reporting what he believed to be insider trading violations to the FBI. In his suit, the plaintiff says he reported to the FBI that Reuters released a customer sentiment survey on a tiered schedule, with preferred traders receiving the information before the general public. The suit claims a violation of whistle-blower protection laws and is seeking unspecified damages.

Jonathan Stempel, Reuters 04/05/2013

Woman Files Equal Pay Lawsuit in Vermont

A Vermont woman has filed suit against her former employer, New Jersey-based Hudson Group, claiming she was discriminated against due to her gender and age. The plaintiff says that after she was fired from her position in 2010, the company hired a younger man to succeed her and paid him 32 percent more. The suit says the company violated federal discriminatory laws as well as state equal pay laws.

Matt Ryan, USA Today 04/01/2013

Suit Filed over Baseless Surveillance and Raid of Home

A couple in a Kansas City suburb has filed a lawsuit against Johnson City deputies over a “SWAT-style raid” on their home in a futile search by deputies to find marijuana. The lawsuit claimed a warrant was granted to search the couple’s home based on the purchase of gardening equipment to grow tomatoes. The couple has filed repeated requests for information on the warrant, but have been stonewalled by the sheriff’s department, the suit claims.

Christine Vendel, Kansas City Star 03/30/2013

Borough Pays $98,000 to Settle Suit with Cop

Springdale Borough in Pittsburgh will pay $98,000 to settle a lawsuit with a local police officer who was assaulted by other cops. The lawsuit claims the plaintiff was struck in the throat by another Springdale officer with his firearm during an altercation. Another officer subsequently charged the plaintiff with four crimes, all of which were later dropped or dismissed.

Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 04/02/2013

Former School Chancellor Files Discrimination Suit

The former chancellor at IPFW has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Purdue University, claiming he was fired because of his gender. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that in early 2011, then Purdue Chancellor France Cordova announced that she wanted to replace high-ranking men within the college system with women. A hearing is set for April 16 in the case.

Dan Stockman, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette 04/02/2013

Suit Says Ford Cars Accelerate Randomly

A lawsuit has been filed against Ford Motors, alleging that vehicles built between 2002-2010 contain a “design defect” that can cause them to suddenly accelerate. The suit, representing Ford owners in 14 states, claims the vehicles don’t have the proper “brake override technology” to stop the car at times of unintended acceleration. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status.

Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today 03/28/2013

Suit: Transgender Inmate Raped in Florida Prison

A transgender inmate in Orange County, Fla., has filed suit against another inmate and 14 jail employees, claiming she was raped while in prison. The lawsuit says the prison does not have protocol in place for transgender inmates, who are at a higher risk for sexual and physical assault. The plaintiff alleges jail employees violated her civil rights, and should have known that placing her in a general population cell would put her at risk.

Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel 03/21/2013

Nissan to Pay $4.2 Million in Altima Injury Lawsuit 

A New Jersey judge has ordered automaker Nissan to pay $4.2 million to a man who was injured when a tire fell off a pickup truck and crushed the roof of his Nissan Altima. Lawyers for the plaintiff argued that the roofs in Nissa Altimas are poorly designed, and contributed to the head and neck injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

Staff Report, United Press International 03/21/2013

Police Arrested, Held Couple Without Probable Cause 

A Los Angeles couple have filed suit against the Glendale, Calif., police department after they were arrested on their way to dinner and held without bail. The suit alleges the officer stopped them without probable cause, using items found in the car during a search to fabricate ex post facto probable cause. The couple claim they were held in prison for days without bail or a hearing.

Veronica Rocha, LA Times 03/18/2013

Suit: Brother and Sister Molested at Army Camp 

A Kentucky woman has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army, claiming her son and daughter were sexually molested at an Army summer camp in Millersburg, Ky. The lawsuit says that after the abuse, both children attempted suicide, and the girl had to be hospitalized for observation. The suit claims the boy was molested by a camp instructor and the girl by a fellow camper.

Jim Warren, Lexington Herald-Leader 03/14/2013

Man Responsible for Fatal DWI Crash Sues Restaurants

A New Mexico man who killed two women in a DWI accident in 2010 has filed a lawsuit against two restaurants in Santa Fe and his friend, blaming them for the accident. The plaintiff says the restaurants continued to serve him alcohol “though he was obviously drunk,” and the friend he was with allowed him to drive home. The plaintiff was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2011.

Gabrielle Levy, United Press International 03/08/2013

Game Show Model Discrimination Verdict Tossed Out

A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles has tossed out an $8 million verdict awarded to a Price Is Right model in a discrimination lawsuit. The judge ruled that the jury in the original case was not properly instructed to determine if the plaintiff had been specifically fired because she had gone on maternity leave. If properly instructed, the judge said he saw evidence that the jury could have decided differently.

Gabrielle Levy, United Press International 03/15/2013

School Settles Teacher Discrimination Lawsuit

A private school in Milwaukee has agreed to pay $37,500 to settle a lawsuit with a former teacher who was allegedly fired after becoming pregnant. In a statement, the school said it does not admit any liability but “believes settling the lawsuit is in the school’s best interest.”

Wire Report, San Francisco Chronicle 03/14/2013

Suit: Officer Beat Man, Bosses Looked the Other Way

A former Mississippi state trooper has been accused in a lawsuit of savagely beating a man who drove around a roadblock last year, and his supervisors are accused of ignoring it. The lawsuit claims that after the beating, the officer told a co-worker to destroy the surveillance video and filed charges “to hold over [the plaintiff] to avert legal repercussions.” The officer has a history of violence and is currently on trial for beating another person in a local county jail.

Wire Report, The Jackson Clarion-Ledger 02/25/2013

Johnny Manziel Files Trademark Lawsuit

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has filed a lawsuit against the maker of the “Keep Calm and Johnny Football” t-shirts, claiming trademark infringement. The Manziel family trademarked the nickname “Johnny Football” last fall, and is asking the court for injunctive relief and damages.

Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle 02/22/2013

Johns Hopkins Doctor Accused of Recording Patients

Two former patients have filed suit against a Johns Hopkins gynecologist, alleging he may have taken secret recordings of them during exams. The lawsuit claims negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress by the doctor, as well as claims against Johns Hopkins. Local police are investigating the claims.

Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun 02/22/2013

Jacksonville FD Hit with Discrimination Lawsuit

The city of Jacksonville and the local fire department have been hit with a lawsuit accusing officials of “treating blacks unfairly in hiring, job assignment and transfers.” According to the suit, a “disproportionate” amount of black firefighters face discipline and are assigned to “less-desirable” jobs. The suit joins a discrimination claim already filed by the U.S. Justice Department last year.

Steve Patterson, Florida Times Union 02/15/2013

Writer Cornwell Awarded $51 Million in Lawsuit

A federal jury in Massachusetts has awarded nearly $51 million to writer Patricia Cornwell in her lawsuit against financial company Anchin, Block & Anchin. In the suit, Cornwell accused the company of wildly mismanaging her money and being “negligent of their fiduciary duty.”

Beverly Ford and Bill Hutchinson , New York Daily News 02/19/2013

Suit: NOLA Police Beat Cuffed Man During Mardi Gras

An Alabama man has filed suit against New Orleans police, claiming he was beaten unconscious while handcuffed to a bench near Bourbon Street by police during Mardi Gras 2012. The plaintiff also claims that officers attempted to cover up their actions by destroying surveillance video and writing a “false and misleading” report. The man was taken to a local hospital and diagnosed with a concussion, requiring further medical treatment.

Naomi Martin, New Orleans Times-Picayune 02/20/2013

Abuse Suit At Hawaii School Settled

A federal judge in Hawaii has approved a preliminary $5.75 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the state over sexual abuse of students at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. The suit claimed the state knew for years that younger students at the school were being abused by older classmates but did nothing to halt the abuse.

Nelson Daranciang, Honolulu Advertiser 02/19/2013

Second Suit Comes over Stranded Cruise Ship

A second lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Cruise Lines by a passenger on the Carnival Triumph ship. In the suit, the Houston woman claims she suffered “severe dehydration and bruising from aggressive food lines” while on the stranded ship. When she finally arrived back home, the plaintiff says she had to receive fluids at the emergency room.

Gene Sloan, USA Today 02/18/2013

Texas Millionaire Settles Pay-For-Sex Lawsuits

Eccentric Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh III has settled a group of sexual assault lawsuits filed by 10 local teens who claimed he paid them for sex. The suits claimed Marsh gave the plaintiffs “cash, alcohol, drugs and, in one case, two BMWs, to perform sex acts with him at his office.” Marsh currently faces six counts of sexual assault and five counts of sexual performance with a child.

Wire Report, The New York Times 02/16/2013

Suit Settled over Muslim Woman Forced to Remove Scarf

An Orange County woman as settled a civil rights lawsuit with local jail officials who forced her to remove her head scarf. The woman was temporarily jailed on a misdemeanor welfare fraud violation and said “jailers in the courthouse holding cell forced her to remove the religious scarf.”

Wire Report, San Jose Mercury News 02/14/2013

Girl Who Suffered Reaction to Motrin Awarded $63 Million

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $63 million to the family of a Boston teenager who suffered a life-threatening drug reaction after taking a children’s pain reliever. When the girl was seven, she was given Motrin brand ibuprofen and suffered a rare side effect known as “toxic epidermal necrolysis,” losing 90 percent of her skin and her eyesight. Doctors have not been able to pinpoint exactly what caused the reaction.

Rodrique Ngowi, Boston Globe 02/14/2013

Student Advocacy Group Files Suit Against UA 

The Arizona Student’s Association has filed a lawsuit against the University of Arizona, claiming the Board of Regents “suspended the group’s funding” as a retaliatory measure. The suit says the regents took action against the student advocacy group after the group voted to support Proposition 204, which would have extended an education sales-tax increase that expires this year. For years the group had been funded by a $2 student fee that can be refunded to students upon their request, but recently that fee was suspended by the regents.

Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic 02/12/2013

Suit: Woman’s Thumb Severed at Strip Club

A Philadelphia woman has filed suit against a local strip club, saying she lost part of her thumb while participating in a contest. In her suit, the woman says she was practicing on a crescent-shaped metal bar suspended from the club’s ceiling when it suddenly severed part of her thumb. The plaintiff claims the club failed to ensure the equipment was “properly designed, built, inspected and tested.”

Wire Report, The Washington Post 02/12/2013

Man’s Arm Crushed in Machine, Awarded $1 Million

A California man has been awarded $1 million to settle a lawsuit with three companies after his arm was badly injured in a watermelon processing machine. The plaintiff was attempting to free a watermelon that had become stuck when his arm was crushed by the machine. The man has gone through multiple surgeries to repair his arm, but he will likely never be able to do manual labor again.

John Ellis, The Fresno Bee 02/03/2013

Wyoming Juvenile Center Settles Two Lawsuits

Two lawsuits filed by former inmates over harsh conditions in a Wyoming juvenile detention center have been settled. In the suits, the plaintiffs accused center operators of “subjecting them to unsafe conditions” including mixing violent juveniles with low-risk youth. In one instance, both plaintiffs said detention officials forced them to clean up blood from another child who tried to kill himself.

Joshua Wolfson, Casper Star Tribune 02/12/2013

Suit Filed over Town Ban on Drilling Discussions 

Two environmental groups in New York have filed a lawsuit against the upstate town of Sanford over the ban of discussion of natural gas drilling at town meetings. The lawsuit says the town violated it’s residents’ freedom of speech by prohibiting discussion. The lawsuit demands the speaking ban be lifted and the city cover legal fees.

Wire Report, The Washington Post 02/12/2013

Suit Against Birth Control Mandate Tossed in Illinois

A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of Catholic institutions against the Obama administration over the issue of forcing them to cover the cost of birth control for employees in the health care mandate. The judge ruled that because the suit was filed “before the mandate went into effect,” it was premature. The lawsuit accused the government of violating “religious liberty by defining what qualifies as a religious institution.”

Manya A. Brachear, Chicago Tribune 02/08/2013

Suit Filed over Defective Guard Rail Heads

Recently unsealed documents show a whistle blower lawsuit alleging that there are hundreds of thousands of defective guard rail heads installed on highways across the county. The lawsuit names Trinity Highway Products, makers of guard rail heads, as one of the main defendants.

Dale Russell, myfoxatlanta.com 02/04/2013

Oregon Woman Files Discrimination Lawsuit

An Oregon woman has filed a $6.7 million lawsuit against two state agencies, claiming she was fired for “pointing out financial irregularities” and because she is Native American. In her suit, the plaintiff says she began experiencing discrimination in 2009 after first pointing out the irregularities; over the next two years she was kept out of meetings and denied job duties, and in 2012 she was fired. The suit claims the state violated whistle blower laws.

Queenie Wong, Statesman Journal 02/09/2013

Final Count Dropped in Mike Leach Lawsuit

The final remaining count in the lawsuit filed by former Texas Tech University head coach Mike Leach has been dismissed by a Lubbock judge. The judge ruled that school officials didn’t violate the former coach’s due processes rights when they fired him in 2009. Attorneys for Leach say he is considering various options as his next step, including possibly filing a court appeal.

Wire Report, USA Today 02/05/2013

Man Having Seizure Wrongfully Arrested, Suit Says

An Indianapolis man has filed a lawsuit against two local police officers and the city after he was beaten and arrested by police while having an epileptic seizure. Officers, who accused him of being drunk and on drugs, shocked him with stun gun, hit him in the head and handcuffed him. Charges were finally dropped 22 months after the initial incident.

Alex Campbell, Indianapolis Star 02/05/2013

Suit Wants Interest on Late USPS Payments

A lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Postal Service seeking interest payments on death benefits that were withheld from people for decades. According to the suit, the benefits the Postal Service pays to beneficiaries have been paid late, in many cases 25 years late. The suit says there may be as many as 1,600 people who are also owed back payments from the Post Office.

Joe Davidson, The Washington Post 02/05/2013

Hawaii School Settles Sexual Assault Suit for $5 Million

The state of Hawaii will pay $5 million in a sexual assault lawsuit filed against the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind. The lawsuit, filed by a group of students against the school, claims they were “raped and assaulted for more than a decade by other students.” The suit claims that the school’s administrator was made aware of the situation in 2007 but “did nothing to stop it.”

Wire Report, San Francisco Chronicle 02/02/2013

Woman Groped by Cop Files Lawsuit

An Orlando woman has filed a $1 million lawsuit against a former Orlando police officer who groped her outside a Florida nightclub in 2009. The suit claims the man, who was working security at the club that night, “used his position as a law-enforcement officer to wrongfully detain her, then sexually batter her.” Since the altercation the defendant has been convicted of disorderly conduct and stripped of his law-enforcement certification.

Desiree Stennett, Orlando Sentinel 02/02/2013

Former Employee Files Suit Against Oprah’s TV Network

A former employee of Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network has filed suit against the company on the grounds of sex and pregnancy discrimination. In the suit, the woman claimed she was replaced when she took medical leave for being pregnant and that after returning to work a month after giving birth, she was fired. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

Sadie Gennis, Seattle Post-Intelligencer 02/02/2013

Suit over Spit in Whopper Can Go Forward

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled that a local deputy who allegedly found spit in his Burger King Whopper can seek compensation in a lawsuit for emotional damages. The court said that state product liability laws allow for the plaintiff to continue with his lawsuit. In the suit, the man claims to have suffered “ongoing emotional trauma” from the incident.

Wire Report, Seattle Times 01/31/2013

Suit Filed Against New NYC Gun Control Law

Two New York residents have filed a lawsuit against the state’s new gun-control law, which was implemented after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The law bans assault weapons and magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammo. The suit claims the law violates a multitude of citizen’s rights, including the Fifth Amendment’s ban on the taking of private property by the government.

Daniel Wiessner, Reuters 01/30/2013