A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: lawsuit

Breaking the Bank at the Local Movie Theater

By Jaclyn Tyndorf

These days it costs a family of four with two adults and two children $45 just for tickets here in New York City to see a movie. (IMAX is extra). And if our quartet wants something to snack on during the film, say 2 small popcorns, two medium sodas, and one red licorice, well, that will run an extra 30.00. That’s $75 just for the chance to see The Lorax, now playing at a theater near you.

I’m not the only one who feels she’s being overcharged for a Technicolor experience. And I’m far from the angriest. In Michigan, Joshua Thompson realized that the box of Goobers and a Coke that he buys at stores nearby for $2.73 costs a whopping $8 inside the theater. So when his local AMC barred consumers from bringing outside food and drink into the theater, he sued in state court for violation of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act. He seeks to have a class certified so that he can pass the popcorn – and the refunds – to all the other overcharged audience members.

Successful lawsuit? Bogus claims? Though some articles predicted the case would be dismissed, the media didn’t provide much of an explanation. LASIS investigated.   (more…)

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11,000 Cans of Beer Daily. 14 Townspeople. You Do the Math.

 

By Yan Hankin

Today’s New York Times features a front page article,  “At Tribe’s Door, a Story of Beer and Heartache”, about an Indian tribe suing those believed to be directly contributing to its extraordinarily high rate of alcoholism.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe, nestled right above the Nebraska border in South Dakota, has banned alcohol on  its reservation since 1832. Yet to say that alcoholism is pervasive on the reservation would be an understatement.

The legal papers filed recite shocking and devastating statistics affecting this particular tribe.  Roughly 85% of its families are affected by alcoholism and more hauntingly, one in four children born on the reservation are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. And the vice president of this Sioux Tribe, Thomas Poor Bear, was arrested earlier this week on an alcohol-related incident for obstructing a government function. Mr. Poor Bear’s blood alcohol content was .306, four times the legal limit for driving.

The tribe is suing not only big-name beer makers including Anheuser-Busch and Coors but also four alcohol retailers in the neighboring small town of Whiteclay, Nebraska.

These four stores are specifically targeted in the complaint as the main providers of the smuggled beer found on the Pine Ridge reservation because the combined sales of roughly 11,000 beer cans a day are out of proportion to the town’s last reported population.

Whiteclay’s population? Fourteen.

You read that right.  A town of 14 people somehow is selling 11,000 cans of beer. Every. Single. Day.

The Sioux tribe is seeking $500 million to help with health care, social services, and child rehabilitation due to its peoples’ struggle with alcoholism, as well as demanding a full restriction on sales of alcohol in Whiteclay, Nebraska.

The Times reported the story but didn’t analyze the law behind it.  LASIS investigates.   (more…)

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A Fairytale Kardashian Lawsuit

By Drew Carroll

It just all seemed so sudden. I really feel like Ms. Kardashian is missing the bigger picture here.

Less than three weeks have passed since the shocking news that Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from her husband of 72 days, NBA player Kris Humphries. While it will no doubt take much longer to process our pain and loss, comedian Rob Delaney isn’t ready to give up on Kim & Kris just yet — and I don’t blame him.

Because true love (and lucrative television contracts) only come around so often, you have to fight for it when it does. Ms. Kardashian, you can’t quit now. If you do, Mr. Delaney will sue you. And I hereby offer my legal services

It won’t be easy.  After all, how can a court fully measure the emotional distress that Ms. Kardashian inflicted on the four million people who tuned in to watch her tie the knot this summer and now feel cruelly deceived? (Irony of ironies: it was E! Entertainment’s highest-rated program ever).

Come to think of it, there were 300 million other Americans who wanted nothing to do with the nuptials.  Can a court  measure their suffering, caused by the media circus brouhaha they were subjected to leading up to the big day?

But I must focus.  I’m not representing the 300 million. I’m just representing the four million devoted romantics, whom I will fight for in a class action, with Mr. Delaney as our named plaintiff. Are there grounds for a lawsuit against Ms. Kardashian, you ask?  Are you kidding?   (more…)

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Ryan Leslie Says “Reward? What Reward?”

By Nadia-Elysse Harris

Behind the scenes footage of R&B singer Ryan Leslie on his European tour last November showed the frantic moments immediately following the loss of his laptop. At the end of the clip, a written statement turned Mr. Leslie’s laptop search into a real life treasure hunt:

“In the interest of retrieving the invaluable intellectual property contained in his laptop and hard drive, Mr. Leslie has increased the reward offer from $20 thousand to $1 million.”

Apparently the singer had been creating material for his new album when a bag containing his laptop, $10 thousand in cash, and his passport disappeared in Cologne, Germany.  Word of the hefty reward sparked interest across the web, but when no one heard anything further from the singer on the subject, it was assumed that his effort to retrieve his lost belongings had been futile.

That was, until 52-year-old Armin Augstein filed suit on October 24 in the New York Southern District Court. (Though the laptop was lost and found in Germany, diversity jurisdiction allows Mr. Augstein to sue in U.S. federal court.) claiming that he’d found the laptop while walking his dog nearly ten miles away from Cologne. He brought the laptop to the police who, in turn, returned it to Mr. Leslie. Mr. Augstein further claims that he repeatedly tried to contact the musician, but never heard back from him with the reward.  Now he’s seeking the $1 million reward that Mr. Leslie promised, plus interest.

The NY Daily News reported the suit and did not lend much credence to the merits of Mrs. Augstein’s case. But LASIS believes that Mr. Augstein’s suit is a strong one, and that Mr. Leslie, who graduated Harvard with a degree in Government, should use his smarts and settle out of court instead of getting caught up in a trial and legal fees.  Here’s why:   (more…)

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The Odds of Sandusky’s Victims Successfully Suing JoePa

By Asher Hawkins

Whatever the outcome of the criminal case that has led to the Penn State pedophilia scandal, you can be sure about one thing: there will be lawsuits.

A recap of the past few days’ events: Penn State football coach and legend Joe Paterno was fired after it emerged that in 2002, when he was told that a former member of his staff had sexually assaulted a child in the shower room of a campus athletic facility, Mr. Paterno didn’t call the police.  (Instead, he reported the information to the school’s athletic director…who didn’t call the police, either.)

Many want to see 84-year old JoePa, as he’s known, held legally accountable for his inaction – especially since he seems to have avoided becoming a target of the criminal probe centered on disgraced former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. But don’t be surprised if any civil claim against JoePa by one of Mr. Sandusky’s victims gets thrown out of court before it ever gets to a jury, regardless of how morally reprehensible Mr. Paterno’s conduct may have been.

If the factual findings reached by the Pennsylvania grand jury that investigated Mr. Sandusky are true, it is highly possible that the university (with all its  football related revenue) could find itself on the losing end of a multi-million-dollar verdict. On Monday, Jeff Anderson, a plaintiff’s attorney famous for representing victims of clergy sex abuse told a popular college football blog that he’d already been in contact with family members of some of the boys and young men who were victimized, but he stopped short of saying whether JoePa himself would be named as a defendant in any civil suit brought by Mr. Sandusky’s victims.

Then, on Wednesday, SI.com ran a piece by sports law scholar Michael McCann suggesting that Mr. Sandusky’s victims might have valid claims against Joe Paterno. Why the difference of opinion? Simply put, Mr. Anderson knows what he’s talking about: he is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania state courts. SI’s Mr. McCann, on the other hand, is not a practicing trial attorney, and is apparently not as well-versed in the finer points of negligence law as applied by judges in the Keystone State.   (more…)

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