Author Archive

Brain-harvesting lawsuit against Washington State proceeds…

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the family of an organ donor may go ahead with its suit against King County and a Maryland research institute. The suit alleges the County harvested the entire brain of the decedent, Jesse Smith, and provided it to to the Stanley Medical Research Institute of Maryland, although his family had agreed only to provide a tissue sample. (Gene Johnson, “Wash. high court allows brain-harvesting lawsuit”, AP, Sept. 25).

Plaintiffs scrambling to sue egg producers over alleged price fixing

Two separate lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Minneapolis and Pennsylvania in recent days against egg producers. The Pennsylvania suit, a class action, and the Minneapolis suit, which the plaintiffs are seeking to certify as a class action, both allege various egg makers have engaged in price fixing.

But with the price of chicken feed skyrocketing due to the cost of fuel and the diversion of corn from feed to ethanol, and previous lawsuits by animal rights groups resulting in fewer laying hens occupying more space per hen, it’s no surprise that a carton of eggs–like nearly every other food–costs consumers more money these days.

At least for now, Miller’s ‘Sparks Red’ won’t fly

In the same world where chocolate and peanut butter supercollided to give us the peanut butter cup, it is not surprising that it would eventually not be sufficient to desire either a prepackaged a) drink that contains alcohol or b) energy drink. We must have both, and at the same time. While we have been blessed with a range of such delectable, ready-made beverages, like most things good and tasty they have rubbed the Center for Science in the Public Interest–the nanny state group that has had both alcohol and caffeine in its litigators’ sights for years–in all the wrong ways.

As reported here earlier this year, CSPI whined for months about caffeinated alcohol beverages–which it labels “alcospeed”–before eventually pressuring Budweiser to drop its offering and then suing Miller to stop it from selling Sparks Red. CSPI, which got support from few if any drinkers but a host of apparently underworked attorneys generals who can’t wrap their pointy heads around the notion that caffeine/alcohol combos like the Irish coffee, rum and Coke, or Red Bull and vodka are hardly a new concept, is (with the AGs) blindly claiming the company’s ATF-approved Sparks drink is bad hooch. Just last week, under pressure from the AGs, Miller agreed to postpone the launch of its Sparks Red.

Smells like a zoo in here

A Miami area maid is suing her employer, Hampton Inn, in federal court there, claiming she was forced to clean up after hotel guests who defecated and urinated on floors, left feathers strewn about, and emitted allergenic dander. The guests included “Maya the spider monkey, Bob the alligator, Tango the Macaw”, and two lemurs, along with their human handlers. The multispecies group all stayed at the Hampton Inn at Miami Airport hotel for about a week while in town as part of a traveling zoo.

Interesting notes about the case include 1) a filing showing a training manual created by Busch Gardens, which had hired the traveling zoo, sensibly suggesting animal handlers “[b]ook a room near an ice machine when on the road with penguins”; and 2) plaintiff Arlin Valdez-Castillo’s claim to have been kidnapped and driven to a cemetery by two men who pressured her to drop the lawsuit. (Douglas Hanks, “Traveling zoo at hotel made me sick, maid says”, Miami Herald, Sept. 24).

Couple’s contract for ‘exclusive relationship’ goes to court

My girlfriend and I are celebrating our fifteenth unmarried anniversary in the coming days. While the idea of marriage has never appealed to either of us, I have always viewed contract marriage–and by contract I mean an explicit contract rather than the rudimentary implicit social contract–as slightly better than the traditional alternative. Still, the concept of contract marriage (like the prenup) has the downside of being a bit too much like a business arrangement for my liking.

I have often wondered if, were courts to fully embrace contract marriage, they might also recognize a status short of it: something akin to a relationship contract. That’s the issue facing an Illinois court right now Read On…


Greetings. I’m Baylen Linnekin. I am a 3L at American University in Washington, DC–where I serve on the editorial board of the Administrative Law Review–and co-proprietor of the libertarian food blog Crispy on the Outside.

I’m a big fan of Overlawyered and will be guestblogging here for the remainder of the week. (You may have noticed my first posts yesterday.) I’m particularly interested in food law–foie gras and bacon dogs are under legal attack, you know–and will likely be offering a few thoughts in that area in the coming days.

Bankruptcy clouds judgment

Last year a Connecticut court convicted Illinois contractor Mark R. Koch of larceny and ordered him to repay nearly $40,000 given him by Connecticut businessman Mark Poveromo to construct a building to house the latter’s pet food shop. So why did a Missouri bankruptcy judge order Poveromo to pay the money back to Koch? (John Christoffersen, AP, “Bankruptcy judge orders victim to pay back thief”, Sept. 22).

Keep my finger, vote Labour

Newcastle, England leaflet distributor (and former Labour Party council member) Mark Hunter is suing a dog owner whose Jack Russell terrier, the imaginatively named Jack, allegedly bit off the tip of the leafleteer’s finger as he pushed election paraphernalia through a front-door letterbox. While both Hunter and dog owner Mark Monroe seem to agree that part of Hunter’s bloody finger did indeed end up on the floor of Monroe’s home, it’s unclear how Jack could have bitten Monroe through the letterbox–which boasts a contraption known as a “letterbox guard”. Also unclear: why Monroe put Hunter’s finger in his freezer (keeping it for several months before ultimately tossing it in the rubbish), and why neither Hunter nor Monroe immediately reported the incident to police. Hunter is seeking about $25,000.

Though Monroe froze the finger, he was kind enough not to toss it in the chili. (“Labour campaigner’s ‘finger bitten off by dog’ as he pushed leaflet through letterbox”, The Daily Mail, Sept. 22).