Way to make the country less free, guys [Missouri Freedom Watch] More: Stephen Bainbridge, Charles Sullivan on Mitchell v. University of Kentucky.
They say John Dollarhite of Nixa, Missouri “sold rabbits and guinea pigs without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Dollarhite says he can’t afford the fine and says the business was started by his son, then a child; it “made about $200 in profit from April 2008 to December 2009 from selling rabbits for $10 or $12 apiece.” [Springfield News-Leader]
Crestwood, Mo.: “The Starbucks coffee shop here should have known it was inviting trouble by placing a tip jar on an open counter, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the estate of a customer who died defending it.” Customer Roger Kreutz saw a teenager grab the jar and gave chase on foot; he was killed when the miscreant backed his car over him. Kreutz’s estate has now filed a suit alleging “that Starbucks ‘did not employ security to prevent the perpetration of such crimes’ and that it ‘invited the act of perpetration of said crime’ by having a tip jar.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
The City Museum in St. Louis is not your usual assemblage of annotated exhibits: it’s a thrill-seeker’s delight, with a giant jungle gym and slides, described as a cross between “a playground and a theme park,” and a huge success that draws 700,000 visitors a year. It also has been sued numerous times by patrons who managed to get hurt on its determinedly non-soft surfaces, and unlike the great majority of defendants, it has chosen not to clam up when sued. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch relates, the quirky museum used its Facebook page to call out by name some plaintiffs who have sued after taking (in its view) inadequate care for their own safety and, somewhat more acerbically, the lawyers who prosecute the suits. Its news release has more:
Just to give you a quick glimpse into what we go through at the City Museum, a couple of years ago our rock fell 4 feet. The next day we had over 12 people call and tell us they were injured when the rock fell. To investigate these claims, we reviewed the video of the rock falling and we posted the video clearly showing that there was no one next to the rock when it fell on our website. When this was brought to several of the caller’s attention they either hung up or changed their stories.
From a Wall Street Journal account (attorneys “take the fun out of life”):
A sign near the admission gate gives the names and phone numbers of law firms that have represented people who sued the museum, blaming them for a 9% surcharge recently added to the cost of a ticket.
More: Shield of Achilles (“naming and shaming”), Free-Range Kids (with reader comments).
He says a flying wiener thrown into the stands by the team’s mascot, Sluggerrr, nearly put his eye out. [AP/Joplin Globe] On the demise of flying peanuts in Boston and flying tortillas in San Antonio, see this post and this, respectively. More: Lowering the Bar.
Don’t phony up invoices in order to pay for an unauthorized off-site Christmas party for your staff. And if you do, and get fired, don’t file a lawsuit claiming it was all the fault of age discrimination. [Gorman v. Missouri Gas Energy, W.D. Mo., via Siouxsie Law]
A Missouri statute raises various civil-liberties and Bill of Rights problems. [Columbia, Mo. Tribune]
A St. Louis lawyer has won big in contingency-fee tax collection by teaming up with class action firm Korein Tillery to challenge cellphone companies’ claims not to be subject to municipal taxes on landline telephone providers. At the same time he’s been town attorney for the suburban community of University City, which now finds itself in the position (with many other Missouri municipalities) of paying its share of $65 million in proposed fees. [Paul Hampel and Margaret Gillerman, "U.City lawyer wins big in class-action case", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jul. 23]
Police did not file charges last year against 61-year-old Richard L. Robertson of Sedalia, Missouri, after his pickup truck struck and killed a 10 year old girl riding an all-terrain vehicle. “Law enforcement officials said they determined [Jordan Keith] swerved out in front of Richardson and he couldn’t stop in time.” Parents Michael and Lesli Keith have sued Richardson anyway, accusing him “of being negligent and failing to drive more carefully or sound a warning”. [AP/Columbia Missourian]
And now Deborah Smith of Poplar Bluff, Missouri has won a $45,000 settlement of her claim that library managers should have been more accommodating of her religious scruples about helping promote the popular Rowling wizard-themed books. The library had offered to let her remain behind the scenes during a special Potter event but said she did have to help. The ACLU represented her. [On Point News]