Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

“Legal secretary claims firm fired her for failure to meet unrealistic workload”

Legal secretary Nancy Topolski acknowledges that she couldn’t handle the workload assigned to her by law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, and that she suffered panic attacks as a result that prevented her from doing the work. But, she says, this just means that the law firm violated discrimination laws when it fired her. (Karen Sloan, National Law Journal, Mar. 24).

McDonald’s coffee still hot in Oregon

Aurora Hill alleges that McDonald’s coffee is “extremely hot in the extreme” and caused nervous shock, pain, and scarring when it spilled on her. (Aimee Green, The Oregonian, Feb. 4).

You may recall that part of the trial lawyer fiction about the merits of the infamous Stella Liebeck suit was that it supposedly successfully caused fast food restaurants to lower the temperature of coffee so that no one would ever be burned again.

My faith in humanity is encouraged when I see that the poll of Consumerist blog readers on the topic marks 86% for the option “Hot coffee is hot. Deal with it” on a blog that usually is reflexively pro-trial lawyer. Ironically, I wouldn’t count this suit as entirely meritless: Hill alleges that McDonald’s workers failed to adequately affix the lid to the cup, causing the spill as they handed her the coffee in the drive-through, which, if true, would strike me as actionable.

Lowering the Bar “Best of 2009”

Kevin Underhill rounds up four amusing miscellanies at his excellent site. From the fourth:

In June, a committee of the Oregon Legislature stuck some language into a bill that would (I think) have briefly redefined “no” as “yes.” Allegedly, Democrats were trying to head off an initiative they feared Republicans would later put on the ballot, asking voters to reject a spending measure. The bill provided that a vote to reject the measure would be counted as a vote to adopt it:

A measure referred to the people by referendum petition may not be adopted unless it receives an affirmative majority of the total votes cast on the measure rejecting the measure. For purposes of this subsection, a measure is considered adopted if it is rejected by the people.

The bill was amended again a few days later to remove the controversial language, after it became public.

P.S. And another installment missed above (“We are all tarnished by your stupidity.”)

“OSU fraternity must pay homeless man who was shot by member”

“A jury has awarded about $41,000 in damages to a homeless man who was shot by an Oregon State University fraternity member in 2006.” The Association of Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho had expelled the member after his arrest for the .22 caliber rifle shooting, but witnesses said members had been known to fire BB-gun shots from the fraternity’s windows in the past. A lawyer unsuccessfully sought punitive damages on the theory that the fraternity had tolerated “animosity against the homeless”. [AP/OregonLive]

“Lawyer blames his BMW for speeding and loses”

“A Portland attorney who blamed his German luxury car for a speeding ticket was told he was responsible, not the automaker,” reports AP/OregonLive: C. Akin Blitz brought in a PowerPoint presentation and the testimony of a mechanic to bolster his argument “that he had no idea his BMW 535xi was going 76 mph in a 55 mph zone because of its handling characteristics”, but Clatsop County Circuit Judge Philip Nelson disagreed and fined Blitz $182.

P.S.: Ken at Popehat: “Legal realism note: as a rule, you will not find traffic court judges sympathetic to the defense ‘Your honor, I am not guilty because my German luxury car is too awesome.”

More “swoon and fall” church claims

Upholding a $40,000 jury award, the Michigan Court of Appeals has “said a church was liable for the fall of a woman who was ‘slain in the spirit’ during an altar call” (see Jun. 21, 2007) [On Point News] And per the same site, a new Oregon case presents a somewhat different fact pattern: Shin Lim Kim was allegedly acting as a “catcher” at the Portland Onnuri Church in Beaverton, but suffered a fractured spinal vertebra when fellow congregant Hyun Joo Hoon fell on her:

The church was negligent, the complaint says, in not providing multiple catchers; failing to discuss “safe catching strategy” with congregants; selecting Kim — “a small and not particularly strong person” — as a catcher; and failing to instruct congregants on “the correct procedures to fall, so that they would not injure themselves and injure the person assisting and/or catching them.”

More coverage of this genre of suits: June 8, 2008.