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damage theories

The National Football League had already been seeking $1.5 million in arbitration for alleged contractual breach against rap singer M.I.A. for extending her middle finger during a performance at the 2012 Super Bowl. “Now the NFL has added an additional claim, seeking $15.1 million more in ‘restitution’ as the alleged value of public exposure she received by appearing for an approximately two minute segment during Madonna’s performance. The figure is based on what advertisers would have paid for ads during this time.” [Hollywood Esq.]

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“A retired semi-professional footballer who claims his faith ruined his chances of playing for Manchester United is suing the Baptist Church for £10 million.” Arquimedes Nganga “quit the sport aged 25 when he converted to the Baptist faith. He said: ‘I could definitely have had a long career in the Premiership'” had he not given it up. [Evening Standard]

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Canada: The British Columbia Supreme Court has found “that a claim for damages for a break-up of a relationship following a collision is too remote for liability.” It accepted the plaintiff’s contention that the car crash had aggravated his pre-existing problems of back pain, but said the subsequent break-up of his romantic relationship was “too remote” a consequence to give rise to liability given that the couple appeared to have been at odds over “fundamental and deep-seated issues.” [Erik Magraken]

After a pedestrian was hit by a truck and suffered a broken elbow and other injuries, he began to drink excessively and developed clinical alcoholism with serious health consequences. Doctors testified that the man’s “pain and mood” following the injury contributed to this development, in combination with genetic predisposition (both his parents were alcoholics). A judge in the province of British Columbia found that the “alcohol abuse was caused by the Accident and that such alcohol abuse was reasonably foreseeable,” so that compensation for it could be recovered as part of the lawsuit. [BC Injury Law]

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And now a parent lawsuit is seeking “unspecified damages.” [NY Post]

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That sum, demanded by a Las Vegas man in a suit against three Utah attorneys, is far in excess of all the money in the world, so there may be collectibility problems. [Provo Daily Herald]

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Marc Randazza (Dec. 12; source link he cites is NSFW):

A Rhode Island family filed a lawsuit in Kent Superior Court claiming that Verizon Communications caused “great pain, anxiety, nervousness and mental anguish,” by providing access to the Playboy Channel. Plaintiffs Robert Bourne, Denise Roy and daughters Elice Roy and Danielle Bourne are seeking compensation for “current and future medical bills.”

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“Here’s some food for thought: If you have nude photos of your wife on your cell phone, hang onto it. Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned that lesson after he left his phone behind at a McDonald’s restaurant and the photos ended up online.” Sherman says restaurant employees had promised to secure the phone until he returned to pick it up; the story does not make clear (assuming it is known at all) how or by whom the pictures were posted. He and Tina Sherman are now suing the restaurant for damages that include the cost of moving to a new house, saying that she received threatening and harassing text and voice messages related to the pictures. (AP, Nov. 23; Northwest Arkansas Times).

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The flight attendant sought a whopping $405K for the alleged assault.  This demand seemed unreasonable based on the description of the injuries, even if they occurred as alleged (“Jury says no assault, agrees with Osteen’s wife”, MSNBC, Aug. 14, earlier).

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We express no opinion as to exactly how badly Victoria Osteen, wife of a celebrated evangelical minister, may have behaved on that Continental Airlines flight in 2005; “The Federal Aviation Administration fined [her] $3,000 for interfering with a crew member.” Readers keep writing in, however, to call our attention to the financial demands that flight attendant Sharon Brown is making in her lawsuit, which just went to trial. It seems Brown wants compensation not only for such things as hemorrhoids and damage to her religious faith but also, by way of punishment, “10 percent of Victoria Osteen’s net worth”. Wouldn’t we all! (“Joel Osteen’s Wife on Trial in Flight Attendant Assault”, AP/FoxNews.com, Aug. 7).

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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).

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).

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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).

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.

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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.

Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar, a law/humor blog, has amusing live coverage (Oct. 27) of the appeal in a California court of Christoff v. Nestle USA, the $15.6 million award for using a model’s photo on a coffee label without ensuring that the proper permissions were in place (see Feb. 2, 2005).

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).

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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.

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