Brian Banks served more than five years in prison after an old friend “falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus”:
In a strange turn of events, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison.
In an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.
But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools….
It was uncertain Thursday whether Gibson will have to return the money.
[AP via Balko, Volokh; & welcome Reddit readers] Update 2014: School district obtains default judgment against Gibson; contrary to reports at the time, the amount paid in the original settlement is now reported at $750,000 rather than $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, high-profile Brooklyn sex crimes prosecutor Lauren Hersh has resigned following a furor over a sex trafficking case in which “prosecutors had held on to documents showing the victim recanted rape allegations one day after making them.” [NY Post, more] P.S. Daniel Fisher reminds us of Hersh’s “starring role in New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s expose of Backpage, the Village Voice’s online personals section.”
“[An Indiana appeals] court has found that an ever so slightly negligent (2%) business owner needs to pay for 99% of the harm caused by a murderer. Citing the Restatement (Third) of Torts. Section 14, a public policy in favor of adequately compensating the wronged … and the difficulty murderers have in procuring insurance to cover their rampages, the appellate court in Santelli v. Rahmatulla found that the Restatement provides a handy way of escaping Indiana’s reform of its joint and several liability rule.” [David Oliver] More: Point of Law (motel “[adhered] to the non-discriminatory EEOC principle of not performing criminal background checks”).
In which the “self-appointed busybody vigilante” familiar from so much press coverage smoothly turns into “designated security agent of the homeowners’ association.” [Associated Press]
Murfreesboro: “A former MTSU student accused of stabbing a Lady Raider basketball player to death at Raiders Crossing Apartments in 2011 is suing the complex and its management company for failing to separate the two despite knowing they had problems with one another. … The attorney [Joe Brandon Jr.] included Twitter postings by Stewart as supporting evidence of a negative and deteriorating relationship between the two women.” [The Tennessean]
Four people were killed when pill addict David Laffer robbed a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy. Now the survivors of victim Jamie Taccetta are suing a variety of defendants including the drugstore whose pharmacist was killed, the Suffolk County police and a former commissioner, “and pharmaceutical companies that make the drug oxycodone.” [CBS New York, Newsday]
Toronto lawyer Michael Deverett thinks a bad guy must have followed him home from the Apple Store; at least someone smashed his hatchback car window when he stepped away for a couple of minutes and made off with what he said was a well concealed bag of new electronics purchases worth C$2,200. The company — which gave him a store credit plus a small extra for legal fees — is also facing criticism from theft victims who say it should do more to help owners retrieve stolen cellphones. [Toronto Star](& welcome Elie Mystal, Above the Law readers)
“While lawyer Scott Marshall has pleaded guilty to a murder charge, his victim’s mother has filed an unusual wrongful-death suit against not only him but his parents and his 92-year-old grandmother.” [Texas Lawyer]
“Two passengers riding in a stolen car that was involved in a wreck sue the car’s 91-year-old owner” The driver of the wreck was a man defendant George Hinnenkamp had sometimes hired to do odd jobs; the passengers claim he had extended permission for the man to take the car that night, but a district attorney who successfully prosecuted the case says that isn’t so, noting that Hinnenkamp had reported the car stolen well before the accident. [Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard]
A Long Island judge has ruled for the defense in a negligent-security case filed by a patron who was slashed by a surprise assailant dressed as a ninja. [Newsday]
Citing a Title IX complaint, the lawsuit claims that the university’s failure to crack down harder on male behavior was in part responsible for the sensational crime in which a fellow lab worker strangled the pharmacology student and stuffed her body into a wall. [Yale Daily News, Slate "XX Factor" (despite feminist sympathies, doubting basis for suit), New York Daily News] More: Scott Greenfield, Max Kennerly.
Following the horrific murder-suicide of a woman who intentionally drowned herself and three of her four children, the woman’s estranged boyfriend is suing the city of Newburgh, N.Y. and its surrounding county for failing to prevent the crime. Joint and several liability reform would help, if only Albany were more sympathetic to the cause. [Thomas Stebbins, Poughkeepsie Journal; Daily News]
According to the actor, in an op-ed (co-authored with Stephen DeMaura) in today’s WSJ:
Two women get into a fight in the ladies’ restroom at a restaurant. Afterward, they sue the restaurant owner, claiming someone should have been in there to break up the fight. It costs the small-business owner $2,000 to pay each plaintiff to drop the complaint, which was cheaper than fighting the lawsuit would have been.
This completely ridiculous story is true, and the restaurant owner was one of us, Mr. Norris. …
In Los Angeles, a woman “who wants to remain anonymous” has sued Match.com saying that a man she met on the service raped her on their second date and that it has a legal responsibility to screen participants more carefully. The man in the case, who is awaiting trial, has implied through a lawyer that contact was consensual. [NBC Los Angeles via TortsProf, Amy Alkon]
But suing a variety of “nontraditional defendants,” including the City of New York and the owners of the apartment building where the victim’s body was found, may not be a sure-fire formula for doing that. Among the defendants is Facebook, on which a paramedic improperly posted pictures of the victim’s body; while the pics were quickly taken down, the suit demands that Facebook take further remedial steps such as identifying who may have “downloaded” (i.e. viewed?) the images. [CNN]
Think twice before encouraging someone to check [NJLRA]
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]