Posts Tagged ‘damage theories’

Spiraling damage awards

Not what you think, this is in Saudi Arabia:

“Tribes like to say, ‘We got this amount of money for a member of our tribe,’ ” he said. “People start to think the more money you can get for a member of your family, the more valuable your tribe is.”

And the defendant who doesn’t settle the case is executed. (Faiza Saleh Ambah, “Saudis Face Soaring Blood-Money Sums: Tribes, Families Are Demanding Millions”, Washington Post, Jul. 27).

$40 billion demanded over use of newsworthy names on T-shirt

An Arizona antiwar activist has been much criticized for selling a T-shirt with the slogan “Bush Lied, They Died” along with the names of the more than 4,000 U.S. servicemen killed in the war. Parents of a soldier killed in action in Iraq are suing, saying the use of their son’s name has caused them emotional distress; they want class-action status on behalf of all the parents of other soldiers killed in action, amounting to $40 billion. The suit’s Amended Complaint does little to advance the dignity of its cause with assertions like, “Most respectfully, this is a concept that even a mentally-challenged monkey could grasp.” (Howard Wasserman, Prawfsblawg, May 5; Balko, Reason “Hit and Run”, May 6; The Smoking Gun, Apr. 23).

Vegas columnist, sued for libel, declares bankruptcy

John L. Smith, whom the Las Vegas Review-Journal describes as its most widely read columnist, “has filed for bankruptcy after a two-year legal battle” with casino owner Sheldon Adelson, a subject of Smith’s 2005 book “Sharks in the Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of Las Vegas.” The newspaper wasn’t sued. Smith concedes the muckraking book contained inaccuracies about Adelson but takes issue with the tycoon’s claim of damages, pointing out that Adelson has mounted from 15th to 6th richest man in the world in the Forbes standings since the book’s publication, “so it’s hard to see how he has been harmed.” Barricade Books, associated with the late Lyle Stuart, also filed recently for bankruptcy. (A.D. Hopkins, “Columnist pursues bankruptcy protection”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oct. 12) (via Romenesko).

Pant-demonium breaks loose, cont’d

Outrage continues to spread over Roy Pearson, Jr.’s $65 million suit against a Washington, D.C. Korean dry cleaner over a lost pair of suit pants (Apr. 26, May 1). The Washington Post editorially wonders whether Pearson should continue in his position as an administrative law judge given the “serious questions” raised by the case “about his judgment and temperament”. (“Kick in the Pants”, May 3). Associated Press coverage is circulating worldwide: Lubna Takruri, “Judge sues cleaner for $65M over pants”, AP/Kansas City Star, May 3. And Alex Spillius in London’s Daily Telegraph (“Judge sues dry cleaners over lost trousers, May 3) notes that Pearson

reached the figure of $67,292,000 as follows: Washington’s consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Mr Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants (the Chungs and their son)….

Mr Pearson has set the Chungs and their lawyers a long list of questions, which includes: “Please identify by name, full address and telephone number, all cleaners known to you on May 1, 2005 in the District of Columbia, the United States and the world that advertise ‘SATISFACTION GUARANTEED’,” according to the Washington Post.

Says Yahoo used her picture in ad, wants $20M

In Ohio, Shannon Stovall is suing Yahoo for allegedly using her picture in an ad for its email services without permission. She wants $20 million, including “a portion of the profits that have been generated through the use of her likeness, and to cover her legal fees.” (GoogleWatch, Mar. 1). “Mitchell Yelsky, one of three attorneys handling Stovall’s case, said his client ‘has previously modeled and worked for modeling agencies.'” (Anne Broache, “Woman accuses Yahoo of stealing her image”, CNET, Mar. 2). For the $15.6 million “Taster’s Choice Guy” award in Christoff v. Nestle USA, see Feb. 2, 2005 and Nov. 16, 2006.

Lawsuit claim: legal right to more publicity

Some time ago, celebrity boutique and paparazzi-magnet Kitson had a legal dispute with Us Weekly magazine over payment for a book party the store threw for an Us editor. It was settled for a small chunk of change and a standard non-disparagement clause over the lawsuit. Us Weekly had the last laugh, however; it stopped covering the store in its magazine, to the point of cropping out the Kitson logo when publishing photos of celebrities shopping there. Or it thought it had the last laugh, because Kitson is now suing Us Weekly claiming a legal right to the publicity the magazine is withholding and alleging $10,000/week in damages from the loss of publicity. The Jossip blog has the complaint and somewhat more detail than the mainstream press account. (Andrew Blankstein, “Celebrity Boutique Sues Us Weekly, Saying Lack of Coverage Is Hurting Business”, LA Times, Sep. 12) (via Romenesko).

Althouse on YouTube lawsuit

The Wisconsin lawprof has this to say (Jul. 19) on that copyright-infringement lawsuit that we mentioned in passing yesterday, the one aimed at the hit site for hosting a video of the beating of Reginald Denny:

Robert Tur, who could have just asked YouTube to remove the video someone had uploaded, instead left it there and then sued demanding $150,000 for each of the 1,000+ viewings that occurred. YouTube took the video down when the lawsuit called attention to the problem.

Well, we knew eventually someone would sue YouTube, but could it be anyone less sympathetic then a guy who once got lucky and was there with a camera when someone else was getting beaten up?

More in her comments section.

Update: damages in Ill. justice’s libel suit

So how exactly do you build a case for high damages when the alleged defamation (see Jun. 22) hasn’t dislodged you from the bench and it will be a good long while before your term expires? Well, your lawyer can talk about how you were thinking of stepping down to become a highly paid rainmaker at a Chicago law firm, and so maybe the defendant newspaper should have to compensate you for what your hired economist says is the value of that. Besides, you were thinking of securing an appointment as a federal judge. And what if the Illinois voters decide to throw you out down the road — isn’t the lost salary from that something the defendant should have to pay you for, too? (Eric Herman, “Justice’s libel suit figures his losses”, Chicago Sun-Times, Jun. 10)(via Lattman).

Update: Tony Twist $15M verdict upheld

We covered the case—where a hockey player complained that a comic-book character had the same name—on July 13, 2004. Todd MacFarlane still has the chance for discretionary review by the Missouri and U.S. Supreme Courts, though the former has already ruled against him once. Eugene Volokh will be sure to have insightful commentary on the First Amendment implications; here’s his earlier take, predicting a “good chance” of Supreme Court review and reversal. Beyond the First Amendment implications, the damages are ludicrous.