John Doe A v. Penn State
First Penn State scandal lawsuit says Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and the abuse was enabled by the school's "negligent oversight."
Bradley v. Lohan
Former Betty Ford Center employee sues Lindsay Lohan for assault, alleging the actress threw a phone at her and yanked her wrist while refusing to be breathalzyed.
N.D. v. New York Post
Hotel maid allegedly raped by French politician sues the New York Post for falsely reporting that she is a prostitute who "routinely traded sex for money" with male guests.
Reinhart v. Mortenson
Two Montana residents allege the author of "Three Cups of Tea" "fabricated material about his activities and work in Pakistan and Afghanistan" to sell the book.

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Julianna Willis Technology



• Maryland appeals court says dog owners can be held strictly liable for pit bull attacks. "Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Tracey v. Solesky

• Woman who has been diagnosed as a sex addict sues a school district for failing to prevent her from having sex with male students on the school bus when she was in 11th grade.
Barksdale v. Egg Harbor Township Bd. of Ed.

• Civil rights activist challenges Georgia's "stand your ground law." "By not defining what actions create a reasonable perception justifying the use of deadly force, the Act[] potentially deprives all Georgia[n]s of the right to life without due process of law." Hutchins v. Deal

• Former patient of a Rhode Island doctor sues him for featuring her in a book about drug addiction. "Plaintiff had expected, as any reasonable patient would, that her private conversations during her treatment sessions with the Defendant would remain private and confidential."
Lisnoff v. Stein

• Class action alleges the YMCA deceives consumers by representing that it practices "Christian" values while allowing its gyms to be used for gay sex trysts. "YMCAs around the country ... are currently being used as brothels for cruising, with the YMCA's knowledge and implicit consent."
Keister v. YMCA

• Social workers are not liable for a sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy by a 16-year-old male placed in an adoptive home. "To rule against the individual defendants in this case would definitely break new ground."
Doe v. Braddy

• Student sues college for refusing to grant her the "reasonable accommodation" of a single room after she complained about her roommate's exhibitionist behavior.
Blankmeyer v. Stonehill College

• School district can be sued over a guidance counselor's sexual relationship with a student who was over the age of consent. "The inherent imbalance of power between a guidance counselor in a public school and a student may render opportunistic sexual predation sufficiently shocking, even with a 'consenting' student over sixteen, to form the basis of a substantive due process claim."
Doe v. Fournier

• Utah judge finds a "credible threat" that Utah County officials will prosecute a polygamist and his wives for bigamy. The officials' acts "suggest that an actual prosecution of Plaintiffs is forthcoming."
Brown v. Herbert

• Louisville, Ky., strip club sues a competitor for displaying an electronic sign outside a convention center that said "Don't go to Godfathers, their girls are ugly and have crabs."
The Godfather v. Trixie's Lounge

• A lawyer cannot sue two women he dated for posting derogatory comments about him on "[W]hen viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion." Coulotte v. Ryncarz

• Oglala Sioux tribe sues beer makers and Whiteclay, Neb., bars for enabling alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The illegal trade in alcohol has "caused devastating injuries to the Lakota people and massive financial damages to the [tribe]."
Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting


Abuse Victim Can Sue Ex-DA Over 'Sexting' Messages Print

A Wisconsin judge has protected a domestic violence victim from a rogue prosecutor, finding that she can sue him for sending her text messages in which he pressured her to have sex with him.

Kenneth Kratz

Former Calumet County (Wisc.) District Attorney Kenneth R. Kratz began texting Stephanie Van Groll after meeting with her to discuss her domestic abuse allegations against her ex-boyfriend. He referred to her in one of the 30 texts he sent over the course of three days as a “tall, young, hot nimph [sic].”

Van Groll filed a civil-rights lawsuit in October 2010, alleging that Kratz knew she was “particularly vulnerable to harm from unwelcome sexual requests” and that he used his power and position to pressure her into a sexual relationship.

In a Dec. 9 decision, U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach noted that Kratz's alleged misconduct was “a far cry from the kind of conduct that those who drafted and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment would have understood the Equal Protection Clause of that Amendment to prohibit.”

But he still denied Kratz's motion for summary dismissal, concluding that

Plaintiff has alleged facts, not refuted by the record before the Court, that would support a finding that Kratz used his position to deliberately solicit a sexual relationship with Plaintiff under circumstances in which he knew that, because of his position and her vulnerability, she would find his solicitation difficult to refuse.

The ruling is a notable breach of "prosecutorial immunity,” which normally shields prosecutors from liability for conduct that was within the scope of their official duties. “[T]he grant of immunity to [Kratz's] conduct would not bolster but rather threaten the integrity of the prosecutorial process,” Griesbach wrote.

Van Groll's ex-boyfriend was charged in August 2009 with felony domestic abuse after he allegedly beat and tried to strangle her. Kratz began his “sexting” blitz on Oct. 20, 2009, shortly after his third meeting with her.

“Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?” he asked the next day.

When Van Groll said, “I don’t think I could be the other woman,” Kratz replied, “I would not expect you to be the other woman. I would want you to be so hot and treat me so well that you’d be THE woman!”

In his final message, he said, “When the case is over, if you change your mind and want to meet for a drink, please tell me. Otherwise I will respect your desire to be left alone.” Unbeknownst to him, Van Groll had by that time filed a complaint about his harassment with police in neighboring Outagamie County.

Kratz said in a court declaration that based on Van Groll's responses to his texts,

[I]t was not at all clear to me that Plaintiff wanted me to stop contacting her. In fact, because Plaintiff responded promptly to each of my texts and did not tell me to stop contacting her, even when I asked if that's what she wanted, I believed Plaintiff wanted to continue communicating with me.

In his ruling, Griesbach said the “most serious difficulty” with the case was that Van Groll did not tell Kratz to stop. But the fact that she went to Outagamie County with her mother to report him to police

clearly demonstrates that Plaintiff truly felt pressured by Kratz and feared that he could retaliate against her by handling the prosecution of [her ex-boyfriend] in such a way that would continue or increase the danger he posed to her.

Kratz resigned as district attorney on Oct. 4, 2010 after his harassment of Van Groll had been made public. Wisconsin regulators recommended last month that his law license be suspended for six months.

By Matthew Heller


Editor's note: On Point's RSS feed has moved to this link.

  • Hotel Sued Over Slaying of Escort by 'Craigslist Killer'

    The mother of a prostitute slain by the “Craigslist killer” at a Marriott hotel in Boston has alleged in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the hotel's operator is liable for her daughter's death because it failed to prevent prostitution from occurring on its premises.
  • Court Extends Doctors' Liability for Prescription Gaffes

    The Utah Supreme Court has given a boost to the battle against prescription drug abuse by ruling that medical professionals can be sued over injuries to a nonpatient that were allegedly caused by  drugs they carelessly prescribed to patients.
  • Girl's Slaying Tests Cruise Line Liability

    The family of a 15-year-old girl who was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout on a Caribbean island has asked an appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit that tests the liability of cruise ship operators for onshore injuries to passengers.
  • Bystander Claims "Swoon and Fall" Injuries at Church

    In yet another “swoon and fall” case against a church, an Illinois woman claims she was injured during a church service when a parishioner who was receiving the “spirit” fell backward, knocking several other worshippers into her.
  • Jurors' Comments Fuel New Trial Bid in Bullying Case

    Jurors may have opened the door to a new trial in a Maryland school bullying case by saying they returned a verdict for the defense because they were afraid of setting a bad precedent for school systems throughout the country.
  • Abuse Victim Can Sue Ex-DA Over 'Sexting' Messages

    A Wisconsin judge has protected a domestic violence victim from a rogue prosecutor, finding that she can sue him for sending her text messages in which he pressured her to have sex with him.
  • Four Loko Maker Says Users Knew of Health Dangers

    The maker of Four Loko has previewed its defense of a slew of product liability lawsuits, arguing that the physical effects of the energy drink's mixture of alcohol and caffeine — far from being an undisclosed risk to consumers — are precisely what made it so popular.

U.S. v. Arpaio
Subject: Civil rights
Document: Complaint

Schultz v. Medina Valley
Subject: School prayer
Document: Non-Kumbaya order

Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Verdict

Jackson v. Paula Deen
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Complaint

Marsh v. Air Tran Airways
Subject: Roaches on a plane
Document: Complaint



Peterson/Pryde v. Thyden
Court: Montgomery (Va.) Circuit
Subject: Virginia Tech shootings
Verdict: $8 million

Sheridan v. Cherry
Court: L.A. Superior
Subject: Wrongful termination



Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case