David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy recalls a 2006 lawsuit over whether neo-Nazis had a right to wear swastika pins in a Southern California restaurant against its management’s wishes, and extensive reader discussion ensues.
Serial suit-filer Alfred Rava wanted to use his lawsuit against Bear Valley Ski Resort over a “Ladies’ Day” promotion as the basis for a class action, but a judge ruled that he’s not entitled to do that, because California’s Unruh Act already provides for him to get a $4,000 payday with no need to show injury:
“Assuming plaintiff succeeds on the merits, Bear Valley Ski Resort would be liable for mandatory statutory penalties of $4,000 X 995 putative class members,” [Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony] Mohr wrote. “The product of $3,980,000 constitutes a draconian sum that would strip Bear Valley of its assets.”
Electronic Arts surely has better lawyers than the ones who signed off on this contest (h/t cirocco), which merely asks for a standard grip-and-grin photo, but can be read to require photos of “acts of lust” upon booth models. And that’s not even taking account of the Alfred Ravas of the world, since Comic-Con is in San Diego, and thus subject to the Unruh Act…
What happened to Sacramento businesses when they offered “Furlough Friday” discounts to state workers whose pay had been cut? They found themselves the target of demand letters from an unnamed entrepreneurial San Diego lawyer who alleged that the discounts violated the state’s famously broad Unruh Act ban on discrimination, and demanded cash settlements. Lawmakers took the step of seeking and obtaining the support of the powerful state trial-lawyers’ group, Consumer Attorneys of California, for remedial legislation, which is “something you don’t see every day: trial lawyers backing a bill that would eliminate some lawsuits.” [Sacramento Bee]
By reader acclaim: ESPN’s Rick Reilly is righteously hacked off at California serial litigator Alfred Rava and his sex discrimination settlement over an Oakland A’s breast cancer promotion which gave out floppy sun hats on Mother’s Day to women attending the game but not (horrors) to men. (“Make $100 the sleazy way“):
So how many guys have lined up to get their rightful floppy-hat-equivalent payment that was stolen from them by those selfish Mother’s Day-manipulating women? “Well, I haven’t taken a single call so far,” said the 1-888 operator at the firm handling claims. “And I’m here just about every day.”
More entrepreneurial lawyering in California:
A Los Angeles psychologist who was denied a tote bag during a Mother’s Day giveaway at an Angel game is suing the baseball team, alleging sex and age discrimination.
Michael Cohn’s class-action claim in Orange County Superior Court alleges that thousands of males and fans under 18 were “treated unequally” at a “Family Sunday” promotion last May and are entitled to $4,000 each in damages.
(Dave McKibben, “L.A. Psychologist Who Didn’t Get Tote Bag at Mother’s Day Angel Game Files Lawsuit”, Los Angeles Times, May 11). Cohn’s attorney is Alfred Rava, who (as the L.A. Times really should have found out by Googling Overlawyered, if not its own archives) was among the key figures in the 2003 spree by which owners of San Diego nightspots were hit up for handsome cash settlements for having held “Ladies’ Night” promotions. The Unruh Act, California’s distinctively liberal civil rights statute, allows complainants to demand $4,000 a pop for such misdeeds, and it’s no defense to suggest that the customer’s primary reason for getting involved in the underlying transaction may have been to set up the $4,000 entitlement. More: “Lex Icon” wishes to make clear that he’s not the kind of lawyer who files cases like this (May 13).