March of Technology, Chapter 27. True love never runs smooth, but modernization is making it even more turbulent. Last month I told you about Phillip Sherman, who'd left his cell phone at a McDonald's. He called and learned that the manager had found it, and elicited the manager's promise that he would keep it in a safe place until Sherman picked it up the next day. Alas, by the time the latter event occurred, nude photos of Sherman's wife had made their way from the cellphone onto the Internet.
McDonald's settled the case, but Rogers Wireless, a Canadian provider, is taking a harder line with Gabriella Nagy. With a hat tip to Overlawyered, we find that Nagy is suing Rogers for a hefty $600,000. Turns out that although Nagy had the phone in her own (maiden) name, her husband had added internet and a home phone to the family's account with Rogers for cable TV service, so Rogers mailed a global invoice containing the charges for everything. Including Nagy's calls, which, her husband discovered, contained several hour-long calls to a particular number. Okay, you're ahead of me here: hubby called the number, which turned out to be that of a man with whom Nagy was conducting an affair. Hubby walked out, and Nagy was left so distraught that her work performance suffered, resultiing in her losing her job. So she's suing Rogers for "invasion of privacy" and "breach of contract," claiming that the company "ruined her life."
The company, apparently unaware of Bensing's First Law of Torts ("if something bad happens to you, it's somebody else's fault, and they should have to pay you") defended on the not unreasonable grounds that it "is not the cause" of "the condition of the marriage, the plaintiff's affair and consequential marriage break-up, nor the effects the break-up has had on her." The article also mentions that "Nagy's lawyer says this case is unprecedented in Canada." I'll bet.
And closer to home -- in the Lower 48, at least -- we have, courtesy of Legal Blogwatch, the sad saga of Milford, Conn. Ohio (see comments below) police officer Russell Kenney, suspended from his job for having on affair while on duty. The damning evidence? GPS software which confirmed that Kenney's cruiser was parked outside his paramour's condo "for periods ranging from 48 minutes to 1 hour 53 minutes," and "cruiser camera recording of Kenney having a sexually explicit conversation with a woman named 'Amy.'"
But let no one accuse Kenney of setting his sights too low: the "Amy" was Amy Brewer, the city's mayor.
Twelve really pissed off men. This article in the LA Times suggests one method of jury avoidance:
Spurned in his effort to get out of jury duty, salesman Tony Prados turned his attention to the case that could cost him three weeks' pay: A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was suing his former sergeant, alleging severe emotional distress inflicted by lewd and false innuendo that he was gay.
Prados, an ex-Marine, leaned forward in the jury box and asked in a let-me-get-this-straight tone of voice: "He's brave enough to go out and get shot at by anyone but he couldn't handle this?" he said of the locker-room taunting.
Fellow jury candidate Robert Avanesian, who had also unsuccessfully sought dismissal on financial hardship grounds, chimed in: "I think severe emotional distress is what is happening in Haiti. I don't think you could have such severe emotional distress from that," he said of the allegations in the deputy's case.
When other jurors began to "express disdain for the case and concerns about their ability to be fair," the lawyers saw the handwriting on the wall: they waived the jury and tried the case to the judge.
"We can't have a disgruntled jury," said attorney Gregory W. Smith, who represents Deputy Robert Lyznick in the lawsuit against his former supervisor. He called the panel "scary" and too volatile for either side to trust.
The article notes that in light of "double-digit unemployment and shrinking benefits for those who do have jobs, courts are finding it more difficult to seat juries for trials running more than a day or two," and that "in extreme cases, reluctance has escalated into rebellion."
This just in: sun to rise in east. From the New York Times:
Blacks and Latinos were nine times as likely as whites to be stopped by the police in New York City in 2009, but, once stopped, were no more likely to be arrested.
Of the reasons listed by the police for conducting the stops, one of those least commonly cited was the claim that the person fit the description of a suspect. The most common reason listed by the police was a category known as "furtive movements."
Milestones. This is my 1,000th post, so I thought I'd celebrate by sharing with you a legal ad from someone who unquestionably understands Bensing's First Law of Torts.
About the only thing the video in the background was missing was a Stuka dive-bombing fleeing Polish refugees.