Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Canadian tattoo studio

The owner of the Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio in Oshawa says the shop’s sterilizer had a screw misaligned and as a result reached only 128 degrees C instead of the required 132. The regional health department urged patrons to get checkups, which have proved reassuring, with no indication that anyone caught anything. Oshawa resident Kaleb Beaulieu has nonetheless filed an intended class action demanding $C10 million, saying that tests take a while to prove conclusively negative and that in the mean time he lives in fear. (Carola Vyhnak, “Tattoo studio faces $10M lawsuit”, Toronto Star, Aug. 22; Rosalyn Solomon, “More tattoo clients sue”, Toronto Sun, Aug. 23).

July 31 roundup

  • Can’t possibly be true: Tampa man sentenced to 25 years for possession of pills for which he had a legal prescription [Balko, Hit and Run]

  • Plaintiff’s lawyers “viewed [Sen. Fred Thompson] as someone we could work with” and gave to his campaigns, but they can’t be pleased by his kind words for Texas malpractice-suit curbs [Washington Post, Lattman; disclaimer]

  • Pace U. student arrested on hate crime charges after desecrating Koran stolen from college [Newsday; Volokh, more; Hitchens]

  • Little-used Rhode Island law allows married person to act as spouse’s attorney, which certainly has brought complications to the divorce of Daniel and Denise Chaput from Pawtucket [Providence Journal]

  • Lott v. Levitt defamation suit kinda-sorta settles, it looks like [Adler @ Volokh]

  • Trial lawyer Mikal Watts not bowling ’em over yet in expected challenge to Texas Sen. Cornyn [Rothenberg, Roll Call, sub-only via Lopez @ NRO]

  • Frankly collusive: after Minnesota car crash, parents arrange to have their injured son sue them for negligence [OnPoint News]

  • Canadian bar hot and bothered over Maclean’s cover story slamming profession’s ethics [Macleans blog]

  • Five Democratic candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson) auditioned at the trial lawyers’ convention earlier this month in Chicago [NYSun]

  • Donald Boudreaux’s theory as to why Prohibition ended when it did [Pittsburgh Trib-Rev via Murray @ NRO]

  • Speaker of Alaska house discusses recent strengthening of that state’s longstanding loser-pays law [new at Point of Law]

July 23 roundup

Update: “Quebec passengers sue TB-infected U.S. lawyer”

“The American personal-injury lawyer who caused a health scare after flying despite being infected with a potent form of tuberculosis is facing a lawsuit by three of his fellow passengers.” Montreal lawyer Anlac Nguyen is demanding $C100,000 apiece on behalf of two Czech sisters who say they sat next to Andrew Speaker, and $C60,000 on behalf of a Laval, Que. man who sat farther away. Speaker recently learned that while he’s carrying a serious, drug-resistant and contagious form of tuberculosis, it isn’t the extremely-drug-resistant form originally suspected. (Jonathan Montpetit, Canadian Press/Toronto Star, Jul. 5). Earlier: Jun. 2.

P.S.: For those who are wondering, no, there’s not the slightest indication from the story that any of the three plaintiffs caught anything from Speaker. Update Dec. 2: tests confirm that no one flying with him caught TB.

Roundup – June 10, 2007

Here’s a Hollywood-themed edition of our irregularly-scheduled roundups:

  • When Sacha Baron Cohen accepted his Golden Globe award for Borat, he famously thanked all the Americans who hadn’t sued him “so far.” Subtract one person from that list; a New Yorker identifying himself as John Doe, who clever people quickly outed as businessman Jeffrey Lemerond, has now filed a lawsuit, claiming that he was humiliated by his appearance in the film. (Has anybody ever tried compiling a list of people who claimed they wanted privacy but filed lawsuits which exposed their secrets to a wide audience?) The Smoking Gun has the complaint. (Previous Borat suits: Dec. 2005, Nov. 9, 2006,Nov. 22, 2006)

  • A Beverly Hills store has settled its lawsuit against Us Weekly for refusing to give it free publicity. (Previously: Sep. 12, 2006, Sep. 22, 2006)
  • Carol Burnett’s lawsuit against the Family Guy gets tossed. (AP) On Point has details and the judge’s opinion. (Previously: Mar. 21.)

  • Two for the price of one: A couple of weeks ago, attorney Debra Opri sued her former client, Anna Nicole Smith-impregnator Larry Birkhead, for unpaid legal fees. Opri was last seen on Overlawyered sending exceedingly large bills to Birkhead, including thousands of dollars in cell phone charges.

    Now, Birkhead is suing Opri for conversion, fraud and malpractice. He claims that she took at least $650,000 of money owed to him for various appearance fees and has refused to return it; he also claims that Opri told him she was going to represent him for free in exchange for the publicity she’d receive, and then turned around and billed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. No, I’m sure this won’t turn into (yet another) media circus. (AP, TMZ.)

  • Judd Apatow, director of the movie Knocked Up, is being sued for copyright infringment by a Canadian author who claims he stole her book for his screenplay.

    A few months in, Eckler says she’s worn out by the litigation. “Here’s what it comes down to: 1) Being a writer, especially a Canadian one, without access to an unlimited bank account, sucks. 2) Copyright infringement is highly technical and difficult to prove. 3) Universal/Apatow know they have resources I do not have, and that every time they simply do not return my lawyer’s phone call, it costs me money.

    She also complains about her treatment at the hands of her first lawyer, who was referred to her by Apatow’s lawyer. (WSJ law blog; commentators at Volokh seem skeptical of the merits of her claims.)

  • Eleven year old boy, Dominic Kay, who directed a 15-minute movie starring Kevin Bacon, settles lawsuit against his neighbor, who helped finance the movie. “Kanter met Kay when her son played with him on a soccer team.” (L.A. Times)

May 30 roundup

  • Both sides agree to drop litigation in Islamic Society of Boston mosque-building controversy (Herald, Globe; earlier here, etc.)

  • Australia’s Slater & Gordon becomes world’s first law firm to list itself on stock exchange (SMH, Ribstein; Regan/MacEwen/Ribstein; more)

  • Colo. bar-restitution fund strained after lawyer who “hoped to save the world” plunders $5 million from clients to fuel strip-club-enhanced lifestyle (Rocky Mountain News)

  • A trend? Another restaurant sues over negative review (Delmonico Grill in Port St. Lucie, Fla. against Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and reviewer Patricia Smith; Hometown News)(earlier)

  • Ontario appeals court deems bite of West Nile-infected mosquito to be “accident” triggering insurance coverage [Harikari]

  • Nanny may I? Chicago bans actors on stage from smoking as part of theatrical performance (Lambert); Vancouver condo owner faces suit for smoking on her own patio (AHN, Vancouver Sun); Montgomery County, Md. becomes first county to vote to ban trans fats (Gillespie)

  • Nevada bench colleagues intervene with Judge Elizabeth Halverson: it’s just not done to call your clerk “The Antichrist” or ask court staff to give you foot rubs (Morrison, LVRJ). More: Above the Law;

  • Midwifery in crisis: one D.C. birthing center’s struggle to keep its doors open (WaPo)

  • Some advice: if you’re claiming disability benefit, you might not want to enter and win a strongman competition in which you lift the front end of a car (Telegraph, U.K.)

  • Judge rejects Utah lawyer’s claim that CBS should pay him $5,000 for exposing him to Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction (three years ago on Overlawyered)

Canada: “Crook wins damages for injury during theft”

“A Canadian man who admitted shoplifting C$106 in razor blades has been awarded C$12,000 ($10,645) for injuries he suffered when he was tackled by store security guards. … [Daniel] Baines, who represented himself, said employees of the supermarket in a Vancouver suburb used unreasonable force when he struggled during his capture.” (Reuters, Apr. 20). Which suggests once again that Canada has still not “Americanized” its litigation system in any thoroughgoing way: how unlikely is it that a suit in a large American city by an injured-while-struggling thief, if successful, would result in an award as modest as $10,645? More: compare Jun. 13, 2006 (Rochester, N.Y. case).

Ontario lottery scandal

A major scandal has erupted in Ontario in recent weeks following reports that some lottery retailers have for years been cheating their customers out of winning tickets, instead cashing in the tickets themselves. Now the law firm of McPhadden, Samac, Merner & Barry has filed a would-be class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who bought lottery tickets since 1975, charging that the lottery failed to exercise its responsibility to prevent cheating, and demanding C$1.1 billion including C$100 million in punitive damages.

Perhaps the most interesting question raised by the legal action is: assuming a remedy cannot be had against the rogue retailers, what is a suitable remedy against the allegedly negligent lottery authorities? According to CTV, the law firm has proposed to hold a “free lottery”, or, perhaps more precisely, a lottery that would compensate for past unfairness by enabling Ontarians to buy a ticket which would be eligible for a payoff above the usual. (Those who could prove they had played the lottery in the past would be entitled to one free ticket.) (“Class-action suit launched against lotto agency”, Mar. 28).

Details of the proposed “remedial” lottery are hazy in the CTV account, but a couple of practical difficulties immediately come to mind. Start with the assumption that a “remedial” pot would be fixed at a certain lump sum intended to punish the province for its past negligence — let’s say C$100 million — and that such a sum greatly exceeds a typical lottery pot. Since there is no upper limit to the number of tickets that purchasers could buy in pursuit of the extra-large pot, the province might in fact wind up making money on its penitential lottery, even taking into account the obligation to dispense a certain number of free single tickets to persons who could bring in the paperwork to show they were past lottery players. Alternatively, assume that the province undertakes to run a one-time penitential lottery with a higher payout than usual — say, 95 percent rather than the usual 40 or 60 percent or whatever. Again it’s possible that by stoking player interest in a much-publicized “good-odds” lottery, the authorities will come out ahead (perhaps having hooked many novices into buying their first lottery tickets).

The practical difficulties if the province is so rash as to promise a lottery with a payout of, say, 110 percent of the money put in, will be left as an exercise to the reader.

Update: C$341K trauma from seeing bottled fly

Updating our Apr. 26, 2005 entry, from Canada: “A Windsor, Ont., man lost out on a $341,775 court judgment yesterday, when the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a bottling company should not have been held liable for triggering a phobia of flies that altered his personality and killed his sex life.” No one in the Mustapha family consumed the fly, or any of the water that had come into contact with it, but Waddah (Martin) Mustapha said the unsettling sight had precipitated a disabling psychological aversion. The Ontario court — applying Canada’s costs-follow-the-event principle — assessed $30,000 in costs against Mustapha. (Kirk Makin, “Appeal court rules against man haunted by fly in water bottle”, Globe and Mail, Dec. 16; opinion in Mustapha and Culligan of Canada (PDF)). More: Supreme Court of Canada rules against Mustapha (May 23, 2008)

Twins, 10, contest expulsion from university

Canada: ” Accusations of age discrimination are being lobbed at the University of Ottawa by 10-year-old twins who were registered in a course before being expelled in the fall. Sebastien and Douglas Foster filed complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the basis of age discrimination after the school deregistered them from the Science in Society course they had been attending.” The university said it had mistakenly allowed the youngsters to enroll in contravention of a policy requiring students to possess a high school degree or equivalent, and that it had offered to refund their tuition. The students had enrolled in an already controversial course informally known as the “Activism Course”, with the approval of its instructor, Prof. Denis Rancourt; asked by a reporter why he sought to study at the university, young Sebastien said he’s learned about ‘the Afghanistan war that’s going on and about how many animals are being killed for food and a lot of things.'” (Laura Czejak and Dave Pizer, “Twins, 10, cry foul over U of O expulsion”, Ottawa Sun, Jan. 30).