Black Friday is upon us, and — in keeping with tradition — so are the attendant brawls, melees,…
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Wising Up to the 'Black Friday Con'

Black Friday is upon us, and — in keeping with tradition — so are the attendant brawls, melees, assaults, thefts and general mayhem.

Nevertheless, Black Friday appears a bit more sedate this year overall. Reuters reports:

Bargain hunters found relatively little competition compared with previous years. Some had already shopped Thursday evening, reflecting a new normal of U.S. holiday shopping, where stores open up with deals on Thanksgiving itself, rather than waiting until Black Friday.

Retailers "have taken the sense of urgency out for consumers by spreading their promotions throughout the year and what we are seeing is a result of that," said Jeff Simpson, director of the retail practice at Deloitte. Traffic in stores was light on Friday, while Thursday missed his expectations…[more]

November 27, 2015 • 02:29 pm

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Jester’s Courtroom
I've Fallen and Can't Get Up
Tuesday, November 24 2015

A New Jersey woman is suing a local police department for failing to prevent her from falling off a chair and fracturing her hip while she was being booked for drunken driving.

Linda Leone admitted having several drinks before getting in her car around 8 a.m. on April 22, 2010. A short time later, Officer Michael Allen arrested Leone when he found her car stopped by the side of the road with the transmission in drive. While Allen was booking Leone, she repeatedly fell out of a chair, eventually remaining on the floor where she fell asleep.

Leone sued the police department in 2012 for failing to prevent her from falling and breaking her hip, but the lower court dismissed the case. Recently, the appellate court allowed the case to move forward, citing previous court findings requiring police to provide a reasonable standard of care for arrestees in their custody.

Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty said the appellate court's decision to allow the suit to proceed is "ridiculous" and a "waste of taxpayers' dollars."


Judge to Artist Suing Taylor Swift: "Shake It Off"
Thursday, November 19 2015

In a creative twist of legal writing, a judge has thrown out a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against pop star Taylor Swift by quoting her lyrics.

R&B artist Jesse Braham filed suit against Swift alleging that she stole lyrics from his "Playas Gon' Play" song for use in her hit song "Shake It Off." Although the songs sound nothing alike, Braham claimed that Swift ripped off his "Haters gonna hate" and "Playas gonna play" song lines. After demonstrating that those phrases were in common use before Braham's song, Swift's lawyers convinced the judge to throw out the case.

In her legal conclusion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gail Standish borrowed some of Swift's lyrics, stating, "At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them. As currently drafted, the Complaint has a blank space — one that requires Braham to do more than write his name. And, in consideration of the Court's explanation in Part II, Braham may discover that mere pleading Band-Aids will not fix the bullet holes in this case. At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit."


Bank Robber Gets More Than He Bargained For
Wednesday, November 11 2015

A convicted bank robber is suing Snohomish County (WA) for $6.3 million, alleging that a sheriff's deputy used "excessive force" when he shot him while he fled the scene waving a gun.

Todd Kirkpatrick, a.k.a the “phony-pony bandit,” is serving a 17-year prison sentence for robbing the KeyBank in Stanwood, WA. According to news reports, Deputy Dan Scott chased Kirkpatrick from the scene and at one point Kirkpatrick pulled out a gun, prompting the officer to fire his weapon.

Kirkpatrick claims his gun was not loaded and the deputy who shot him used "excessive force" equivalent to "common law assault and battery."

Snohomish County prosecutors hope to get the lawsuit dismissed.

“We believe this lawsuit to be completely frivolous,” said Jason Cummings, the chief civil deputy prosecuting attorney. “We look forward to defending it in court and having the matter thrown out.”


A Steal of a Deal
Tuesday, November 03 2015

A Daytona Beach (FL) man was arrested after he tried to sell a stolen car back to its owner.

Car owner Walter Potts told police that he received a telephone call informing him that his stolen car was identified and could be purchased back for $150. Potts was told to bring the money to a local Save-a-Lot store where he could exchange it for the car keys. Potts notified police, who accompanied him in an unmarked car.

When Devin Holt-Thayer approached Potts with the keys and demanded the cash, officers moved in. Holt-Thayer then ran off and tried to hide in a local O'Reilly Auto Parts store, where he was apprehended. Holt-Thayer claimed he was paid $10 to turn over the keys for cash. Holt-Thayer has been charged with felony dealing in stolen property, felony grand theft and misdemeanor resisting officers without violence.

According to news reports, Potts plans to press charges.


Field Trip Lands School District in Court
Wednesday, October 28 2015

A New York school district is being sued by the families of two students who claim to have been knocked down by a classmate during a field trip to the Bronx Zoo.

According to news reports, two girls were knocked to the ground by an 11-year-old boy. During court proceedings, the boy testified that he accidentally ran into the girls while he was being chased by another student; the parents of the girls maintain that the boy pushed them to the ground. The lawsuit alleges that those in charge did not properly supervise the children during the field trip and members of Cornwall Central School District should have anticipated that the 11-year-old boy could be a behavior problem.

The majority in the New York Appellate Division recently ruled that the case could proceed toward trial. In his dissent, Presiding Justice Randall Eng called the 11-year-old’s conduct impulsive, and said the district could not have anticipated it.


Question of the Week   
What was the name of the ship which brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620?
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Quote of the Day   
Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!…[more]
—Center for Individual Freedom
— Center for Individual Freedom
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Does your family have political discussions during Thanksgiving Dinner?