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Entries in Lawsuit (93)

Sunday
Jul212013

Kentucky Orders End to Parenting Column, Says Columnist Not State-Licensed Psychologist

Wavebreak Media(GASTONIA, N.C.) -- A parenting advice columnist is suing the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology, alleging that the board is trying to censor his writing.

"I hold very heretical views when it comes to my profession," John Kirk Rosemond, 65, of Gastonia, N.C., told ABC News. "I think it has caused a lot of problems in child-rearing. But I'm very open about it. I talk about it. That doesn't sit well with some people."

Rosemond is the author of a popular parenting advice column that is syndicated nationwide. A psychologist licensed to practice in North Carolina, Rosemond answers questions about child-rearing from parents who submit their questions online. His column appears in more than 200 newspapers across the country, according to a lawsuit he filed on Tuesday.

On May 7, 2013, the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology sent Rosemond a letter asking him to cease and desist his columns because the advice he gave a parent on how to handle a teenager constituted the "practice of psychology," which he is not licensed to practice in Kentucky.

"The article ... was a psychological service to the general public, which constituted the practice of psychology. ... No person may engage in the practice of psychology unless licensed by the Board…" read the letter, obtained by ABC News.

"If John Rosemond is a criminal for writing his column, than 'Dear Abby,' has been on a 50-year crime spree," Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney at the Institute of Justice who is representing Rosemond, told ABC News, referring to the well-known advice column that runs nationwide, including in Kentucky. "Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, all of them would be crooks."

In his lawsuit, Rosemond contends that the board is trying to protect a "monopoly of advice."
"Through this case I hope to extend the right of the American citizen to seek parenting advice from whoever they choose, whoever they trust," he said.

"The board is saying that you can only call yourself a psychologist in Kentucky if you are licensed to practice psychology in Kentucky," Rowes added. "We are using the first amendment to protect our client's right to express his opinions."

Rosemond is requesting that Kentucky continue to let him publish his column and recoup his legal fees.
The Board of Examiners of Psychology did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

Another Insurance Carrier Files Suit Against Lance Armstrong

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A previously unknown insurance carrier has decided to file suit against Lance Armstrong for $3 million, plus damages, ABC News has learned.

The case was filed late Thursday in Austin, Texas, and will be assigned a case number on Friday.

The Nebraska company, Acceptance Insurance, covered the bonuses on Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2001.  Another insurance company, SCA, previously filed suit to recoup millions more in bonus money from later Tour wins.

Unlike SCA, Acceptance has never raised any red flags or gone public in any way over the years -- they have remained totally unknown.  Sources says Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey changed that and opened the door for Acceptance to go after him as well.

What the cyclist did in the interview that made it possible to fight such an old matter was admitting "fraudulent concealment" -- that he threatened and bullied to such an extent that Acceptance could not have known the truth in a timely fashion.

Money aside, Acceptance plans to depose Armstrong.  He's also facing the prospect of being deposed in a slew of other pending cases, all of which he has tried and failed to settle out of court.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb222013

US Government Joins Civil Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong

Michael Stewart/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More legal trouble for Lance Armstrong. The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it is joining a civil whistle-blower lawsuit against the disgraced cyclist, accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored his cycling team.

Earlier this week, Armstrong turned down a deal with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to reduce his lifetime sporting ban, and he is already facing millions of dollars in other litigation. But this suit is expected to be a big one, potentially totaling up to $100 million.  The lawsuit claims the U.S. Postal Service was defrauded out of roughly $30 million paid to sponsor Armstrong's cycling team.  His former teammate, Floyd Landis first filed the suit now being joined by the government.

The filing also includes Armstrong's associates, Johan Bruyneel and Tailwind Sports. The Justice Department alleges, according to a release Friday, that Bruyneel and Tailwind, who managed and owned Armstrong's cycling team, "submitted or caused the submission of false claims to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in connection with its sponsorship of a professional bicycle racing team by regularly employing banned substances and methods to enhance their performance, in violation of the USPS sponsorship agreements."

In an interview with Oprah this past January, Armstrong already admitted to a career fueled by doping and deceit.  However, he declined to take an opportunity this week to come clean to the USADA, the agency that regulates sports doping, blocking his chances of competing professionally again.

According to Friday's release announcing the Justice Department's decision, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., said Armstrong and his associates agreed to "play fair and abide by the rules -- including rules against doping."  

"The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as 'the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,'" Machen said.  "This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises."

The Justice Department will file its formal complaint within 60 days.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

First Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Carnival over Triumph Disaster Cruise

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MIAMI) -- The first class-action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Cruise Lines for the way it handled last week's voyage aboard the Triumph. The ship lost power at sea after a fire, leaving more than 4,000 passengers and crew stranded at sea for several days. Now more than 100 incensed passengers are taking legal action against Carnival in Miami.

The suit, filed by Miami-based law firm Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, alleges that from Feb. 10 to 15, passengers "were forced to sleep on deck and/or in other communal areas on the vessel, relieve themselves into buckets, bags, showers, sinks, were given spoiled or rotting food that was unfit for reasonable safe human consumption, and were generally forced to live in squalid conditions that created a severe risk of injury, illness and/or disease."
 
At issue, says attorney Michael Winkleman, is the “intentionality” of towing the ship to Mobile, Ala., instead of Mexico, which possibly added another 36 hours of misery to the already wretched trip. The lawsuit claims that Carnival put dollars over human suffering when it decided to pull the ship to Mobile and put passengers on buses from there, instead of docking sooner in Mexico and flying passengers on chartered jets to the U.S.

"In the race for the bottom line, I think they put profits over passenger safety and over passenger happiness," said Winkleman, whose firm is also representing passengers from Carnival's deadly Concordia shipwreck off the coast of Italy last year.

Carnival, however, claims it's being generous, reimbursing passengers for the trip, plus offering them a voucher for a future cruise. The cruise line also added a $500 check for each passenger's travel expenses. But passengers say that's not enough for what they had to live through.  

Interestingly, none of the upper-level passengers from the disaster cruise are taking part in the suit yet. But Winkleman says it's still early.

"It was the lower two floors where all the sewage was really all backed up, and all the floors were laden with sewage and coming down the walls and things of that nature," Winkleman said. "I haven't heard a single account of anyone from an upper level room having a problem at this point -- yet. Keep in mind, it may be early."

He added, "It's my guess that by the end of the week, we'll probably have somewhere between 500 and a thousand passengers that want to be onboard with the class action."

In order for the class action to be certified, a federal judge in Miami will have to decide that the welfare of the passengers supersedes the waiver they signed when they purchased their tickets, according to Winkleman.

For now, Carnival has declined to comment on the suit.

Whatever happens, Winkleman says he’s confident he can get his clients more than the $500 offered by the cruise line.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb172013

Carnival Cruise Passenger Sues over Bodily Injury

Paul McConnell/U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Carnival Cruise Lines was hit with a second lawsuit relating to the ill-fated trip of the Triumph, filed in Miami federal court on Sunday by a Houston woman who according to her attorney suffered severe dehydration and bruising from aggressive food lines.

Lisa Williams, 42, was so ill from the five days the ship was powerless at sea that she had to be given intravenous fluids in the emergency room when she returned home to Houston, her attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, told ABC News.

"She was deprived of the basic fundamental necessities of life, and certainly not what one would expect on a luxury cruise ship," Aronfeld said. "People were struggling to get water and food."

The lawsuit alleges Carnival failed to "inspect for and to observe and resolve the hazard present within the vessel that ultimately affected all passengers aboard, including the Plaintiff."

"Plaintiff had been exposed to extremely toxic and debilitating conditions resulting in severe and permanent injuries," the lawsuit said.

Williams, whose voyage on the luxury liner was a gift from a friend, has called the five days of squalor at sea a "life altering experience," Aronfeld said.

"She had very little sleep and she described this as a life altering experience," he said. "She felt abandoned and fearful [of whether] she would see the next day."

Since being back on dry land, Aronfeld said Williams has seemed "incoherent" and "disoriented and exhausted" when he has called to check on her.

Williams' had been excited for the voyage, which had been a gift from her travel companion, Aronfeld said.

"Now, I'm sure she'd like to return this gift," he said.

Carnival did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Williams' lawsuit.

On Friday, the first lawsuit relating to the Carnival Triumph incident was filed against the cruise line.

Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, called the disabled Triumph cruise ship "a floating hell," according to court documents.

The filing also said that during the "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," the ship tilted several times "causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."

Carnival's original plan was to tow the damaged ship to Progreso, Mexico, because it was the closest port, but by the time tugboats arrived, the ship had drifted about 90 miles north due to strong currents, putting it nearly equidistant to Mobile, Ala.

The ship arrived in the port late Thursday night. Some passengers, weary from their experience at sea, were so happy to see dry ground that they kissed it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan162013

Accused Aurora Shooter James Holmes' Psychiatrist Sued

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- The psychiatrist who treated accused Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooter James Holmes is being sued by a woman whose husband was among the 12 audience members killed at last July's midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Chantel Blunk, the widow of Jonathan T. Blunk, claims in her lawsuit against Dr. Lynne Fenton that she and five other defendants should have placed Holmes on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

Blunk alleges that Holmes told Fenton that he "fantasized about killing a lot of people" a month before the shootings.  At the time, Holmes was a graduate student at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus where Fenton worked.

The suit claims Fenton took no other action besides notifying CU's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team about Holmes.

In fact, Blunk also states that when a campus police officer asked if Holmes should be put in psychiatric hold, Fenton allegedly rejected the idea.

University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said "the university believes the lawsuit is not well-founded legally or factually" and has hired attorneys to defend Fenton.

Holmes faces 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan022013

$100 Million Lawsuit Withdrawn in Newtown School Shooting

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- A Connecticut lawyer has withdrawn a lawsuit filing in the case of the school shooting in Newtown that critics complained was inappropriate.

Attorney Irving Pinsky had initially sued the state of Connecticut for $100 million on behalf of a 6-year-old girl named "Jill Doe" who survived the Dec. 14 rampage when gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself.  Earlier that morning, Lanza had also killed his mother at home.

In his filing last week, Pinsky claimed the potential lawsuit was not about money, adding, "My main concern here is to stop this from happening again and we’ve had a lot of mass murders in America.  We’re trying to get school security upgraded in Connecticut and nationally."

However, an outcry that Pinsky and the girl's family were trying to profit from the tragedy became so great, particularly on the lawyer's Facebook page, that he decided on Tuesday to, "take (the request) off the table for now," suggesting he reserved the right to revisit the matter.

One person wrote that if it wasn't about the money, he wanted to know from Pinsky what steps were taken prior to the lawsuit to protect school children.

Pinsky also wrote that "nervousness" among Newtown residents factored into his decision to drop the suit against Connecticut, which has immunity anyway unless permission is granted for a claim.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec302012

Newtown Survivor’s Family Seeks to Sue State for $100M

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- A Connecticut lawyer has filed a request to sue the state for $100 million on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who survived the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

“Jill Doe was a student on the premises who heard all of the subject events as they were occurring, including conversations, gunfire, and screaming, and including so much of said events as were being transmitted through an intercom or public address system in the school,” attorney Irving Pinsky of New Haven, Conn., wrote in the filing.

The girl and her parents are identified only as Jill, John and Jane Doe in the filing.

On Dec. 14, gunman Adam Lanza, 20, killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself. Earlier that morning, he had also killed his mother at home.

Pinsky said the potential lawsuit is not about money, but about principle and preventing future tragedies.

“My main concern here is to stop this from happening again and we’ve had a lot of mass murders in America,” he told ABCNews.com. “We’re trying to get school security upgraded in Connecticut and nationally.”

“This is America,” he added. “There’s way too many of these things. We can do better. We can do much better.”

Pinsky said his young client has suffered a great deal as a result of what she saw and heard the day of the shooting.

“As a consequence, the claimant-minor child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined,” the filing says.

Pinksy did not want to further discuss the young girl or any details of her experience from the day.

The state has immunity against most lawsuits unless permission is granted to the suing party to move forward.

Connecticut’s Office of the Claims Commissioner, where Pinsky asked for permission to file a claim, did not respond to request for comment on Sunday.

Pinsky said the $100 million requested in the filing is intended to draw attention to the issue.

“As far as I know, there’s no guidelines as to what number to use and if my goal is to stop this from happening again and again, I have to use a number that’s significant,” he said.

The attorney said the next steps will be to wait for a response from the state and wait for any evidence in the case that comes from the attorney general’s office.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec232012

Dental Assistant Fired for Being ‘Irresistible’ Is ‘Devastated’

ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- After working as a dental assistant for ten years, Melissa Nelson was fired for being too “irresistible” and a “threat” to her employer’s marriage.

“I think it is completely wrong,” Nelson said.  ”I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force.”

On Friday, the all-male Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that James Knight, Nelson’s boss, was within his legal rights when he fired her, affirming the decision of a lower court.

“We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right,” said Stuart Cochrane, an attorney for James Knight. “Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.”

For Nelson, a 32-year-old married mother of two, the news of her firing and the rationale behind it came as a shock.

“I was very surprised after working so many years side by side I didn’t have any idea that that would have crossed his mind,” she said.

The two never had a sexual relationship or sought one, according to court documents, however in the final year and a half of Nelson’s employment, Knight began to make comments about her clothing being too tight or distracting.

“Dr. Knight acknowledges he once told Nelson that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing,” the justices wrote.

Six months before Nelson was fired, she and her boss began exchanging text messages about work and personal matters, such as updates about each of their children’s activities, the justices wrote.

The messages were mostly mundane, but Nelson recalled one text she received from her boss asking “how often she experienced an orgasm.”

Nelson did not respond to the text and never indicated that she was uncomfortable with Knight’s question, according to court documents.

Soon after, Knight’s wife, Jeanne, who also works at the practice, found out about the text messaging and ordered her husband to fire Nelson.

The couple consulted with a senior pastor at their church and he agreed that Nelson should be terminated in order to protect their marriage, Cochrane said.

On Jan. 4, 2010, Nelson was summoned to a meeting with Knight while a pastor was present. Knight then read from a prepared statement telling Nelson she was fired.

“Dr. Knight felt like for the best interest of his marriage and the best interest of hers to end their employment relationship,” Cochrane said.

Knight acknowledged in court documents that Nelson was good at her job and she, in turn, said she was generally treated with respect.

“I’m devastated. I really am,” Nelson said.

When Nelson’s husband tried to reason with Knight, the dentist told him he “feared he would have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.”

Paige Fiedler, Nelson’s attorney, said in a statement to ABC News affiliate KCRG that she was “appalled” by the ruling.

“We are appalled by the Court’s ruling and its failure to understand the nature of gender bias.,” she wrote.

“Although people act for a variety of reasons, it is very common for women to be targeted for discrimination because of their sexual attractiveness or supposed lack of sexual attractiveness. That is discrimination based on sex,” Fiedler wrote. “Nearly every woman in Iowa understands this because we have experienced it for ourselves.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec222012

State Supreme Court Rules ‘Irresistible’ Employees Can Be Fired

Comstock/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- An Iowa dentist was within his legal rights when he fired a longtime employee he found to be “irresistible” and a threat to his marriage, the State Supreme Court unanimously ruled.

The seven justices, all male, affirmed on Friday a lower court’s decision in favor of Dr. James Knight, who terminated Melissa Nelson after employing her for 10 and a half years as a dental assistant.

“We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right,” said Stuart Cochrane, an attorney for James Knight. “Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.”

The two never had a sexual relationship or sought one, according to court documents, however in the final year and a half of Nelson’s employment, Knight began to make comments about her clothing being too tight or distracting.

“Dr. Knight acknowledges he once told Nelson that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing,” the justices wrote.

Six months before Nelson was fired, she and her boss began exchanging text messages about work and personal matters, such as updates about each of their children’s activities, the justices wrote.

The messages were mostly mundane, but Nelson recalled one text she received from her boss asking “how often she experienced an orgasm.”

Nelson did not respond to the text and never indicated that she was uncomfortable with Knight’s question, according to court documents.

Soon after, Knight’s wife, Jeanne, who also works at the practice, found out about the text messaging and ordered her husband to fire Nelson.

The couple consulted with a senior pastor at their church and he agreed that Nelson should be terminated in order to protect their marriage, Cochrane said.

On Jan. 4, 2010, Nelson was summoned to a meeting with Knight while a pastor was present. Knight then read from a prepared statement telling Nelson she was fired.

“Dr. Knight felt like for the best interest of his marriage and the best interest of hers to end their employment relationship,” Cochrane said.

Knight acknowledged in court documents that Nelson was good at her job and she, in turn, said she was generally treated with respect.

When Nelson’s husband tried to reason with Knight, the dentist told him he “feared he would have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.”

Paige Fiedler, Nelson’s attorney, said in a statement to ABC News affiliate KCRG that she was “appalled” by the ruling.

“We are appalled by the Court’s ruling and its failure to understand the nature of gender bias,” she wrote.

“Although people act for a variety of reasons, it is very common for women to be targeted for discrimination because of their sexual attractiveness or supposed lack of sexual attractiveness. That is discrimination based on sex,” Fiedler wrote. “Nearly every woman in Iowa understands this because we have experienced it for ourselves.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio