December 5 roundup

  • You are cordially invited to a fishing expedition for lawsuits over energy drink/alcohol mixes. RSVP: Center for Science in the Public Interest [Balko, Reason “Hit and Run”]
  • Recent Overlawyered guestblogger Victoria Pynchon mediates an ADA claim against a Long Beach motel owner. Extortion? Fair compromise? Both? Neither? [Settle It Now, scroll]
  • 19-year-old Ciara Sauro of Pittsburgh is disabled, in medical debt, and waiting for transplant, crowning touch is the $8,000 default judgment RIAA got against her for downloading 10 songs [Ambrogi]
  • “It does not take a graduate degree to understand that it is unacceptable to hide evidence and lie in a deposition” — Seventh Circuit sanctions Amtrak worker for dodgery in workplace-injury suit [Ohio Employers’ Law; Negrete v. Nat’l Railroad Pass, PDF]
  • New Richard Nixon tapes: “I can’t have a high-minded lawyer … I want a son-of-a-b—-.” [Althouse]
  • Aramark suit documents unsealed: girl paralyzed by drunk driver got $25 million in suit against New York Giants stadium beer vendor [AP/Vineland, N.J. Daily Journal, earlier]
  • New York high court bounces Alice Lawrence/Graubard Miller fee suit back to lower courts, says more info needed [NYLJ, earlier]
  • Couple claims retention of $1,075 rental security deposit was racially motivated, seeks $20 million [WV Record; Martinsburg, W.Va.]


  • Victoria Pynchon: It’s still extortion, just legalized extortion. her story didn’t detail any conversation with the handicapped complainant or –more importantly– his/her attorney where she explained that the defendant had only recently purchased the bldg. and had immediately made the required improvements after receiving the complaint. I’m sure, the plaintiff’s attorney was similarly moved to reduce the essentially mandatory settlement fee. I wonder if the plaintiff had been moved by the defendant’s account whether he could have done anything to change the ending. We all know these types of serial plaintiffs essentially sell their claims to these ADA lawmills who are simply using the law to extort settlements.

  • WV racial discrimination story : “What was really surprising to the petitioner was the overall subracial behavior attitude that was displayed through reverse negative behavior displayed through pencil-pimping,” the suit states.

    Who wrote this stuff? For the life of me, I can’t understand what it’s supposed to mean. I also found it interesting that the plaintiffs claimed late fees were also discriminatory, while admitting that they never paid rent on time. How is anyone expected to take a case like this seriously?

  • As I pointed out in a comment on Ms. Pynchon’s blog, her tale lacks credibility. Damages are not available to a Title III ADA plaintiff.

  • I think you’ll find the answer is that California discrimination law has damages provisions that do turn these into money cases. Common usage is to describe these as ADA cases even though they actually invoke state law.

  • Yes, Walter, you’re right. I mediated this case pro bono for the Los Angeles Superior Court, so it was a state, not a federal, claim. Thanks for the enlightenment. As I said in my more lengthy response to Smoke on my blog, I am not an ADA expert. I don’t judge. I help attorneys help their clients settle cases the attorneys believe are best settled rather than tried or further defended. It’s not my job to decide what the true “facts” are or who’s “right” or “wrong.” Life is simply not as black and white as that even though all of us sometimes wish it were.