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Here’s A Fun Lawsuit

Hey guys, what’s up? I was in Atlantic City all weekend and just opened my laptop for the first time now. I know, right? I can’t believe I was able to stay away. I’m pretty impressed, if I do say so myself. So… hmm. Let’s just check Philly.com and see what was in the papers the past few days. Hmm, what’s this one?

Two black employees at the city’s trash transfer center in Roxborough have sued the city for discrimination, claiming their supervisor assigned blacks a separate bathroom and reserved a water cooler for white workers only.

I’m sorry, I thought I just read that two black employees sued the city, alleging that a supervisor made separate but equal bathrooms and water coolers. But there’s no way I just read that. Let’s try starting this story again.

Two black employees at the city’s trash transfer center in Roxborough have sued the city for discrimination, claiming their supervisor assigned blacks a separate bathroom and reserved a water cooler for white workers only.

Oh. Hmm. Well that certainly doesn’t seem right. That inspires neither hope nor change!

In an interview, Young said whites and blacks at the center were not allowed to use the same bathroom. In one case, he said, a black worker had to walk down five flights of stairs because he was prohibited from using a whites-only bathroom.

“They are still doing the same thing,” Trubman said about the alleged discrimination.

Young is on sick leave in an unrelated matter, and Trowery still works at the center, according to Trubman.

During a heat wave in the summer of 2007, Young said, Gill took away the water cooler from black workers in the scale building “because he said we were using it too fast.”

Is ‘black people drink water faster than white people’ a stereotype? I guess it is now.

As with all lawsuits, who knows if this is true. The city said it intends to file a response. The allegations certainly are way out there, but (as we all know) people are bonkers. (The Philly.com commenters have dismissed it immediately, so that makes me think it’s true.) Anyway: I believe Philadelphia has welcomed me back after a weekend away. Sorry to leave you, buddy.

2 black city workers claim bias in lawsuit [Inquirer via Hickey]
Photo by jillclardy used under a Creative Commons license

Masons DO Rule The World

There’s so much in the Alycia Lane lawsuit against Larry Mendte, KYW and Dan Gross to parse just this instant, but deep in the Inquirer’s story is the best part, by far. Emphasis mine:

The lawsuit also describes the aftermath of Lane’s arrest Dec. 17. With Lane in lockup and her cell phone in a taxi, her boyfriend, Booker, was frantically calling people.

Disputing a story reported last December, the suit says that Booker - not Lane - called Gov. Rendell to seek the name of a New York attorney. The suit says Booker knew that Rendell was a former district attorney, a native New Yorker - and like Booker - a Mason. Booker left a message with Rendell, the suit says. In the interim, Booker secured a lawyer.

Man, what a club. Ed Rendell and Chris Booker? It’s the kind of thing that makes a guy want to join the Knights of Columbus.

Lane suit details Mendte gossip [Inquirer]
KYW, Mendte, DN sued by Alycia Lane [Daily News]

Lawsuit To Coors: Take Sparks Off Market

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If you’ve ever been to a party with people too hip to drink Mike’s Hard Lemonade but not nerdy enough to be a beer geek, you’ve no doubt drank Sparks. The energy drink not only supports Coors (”The Republican beer!”), it looks and tastes like somebody combined Red Bull and battery acid. That means teenagers drink it. It also contains alcohol, which does the same.

As such, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has sued Coors in an attempt to force Sparks off the market. CSPI cites cites a study (.pdf) that suggests caffeine impairs one’s ability to tell drunkenness; whether that’s true or not, good luck getting science to guide drug policy. (This is a hilarious drug policy joke, trust me.) The release goes on:

Sparks’ juvenile web site and guerilla [sic] marketing appeal to young consumers, according to CSPI. The web site offers a recipe for a drink called a “Lunchbox,” consisting of half Miller beer and half Sparks, and elsewhere, the site proposes consuming Sparks for breakfast alongside omelets. The company also hosts give-aways of Sparks at house parties, sponsors events unrelated to beer such as art shows, and engages in other unconventional marketing practices, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Oh, look, it’s all there: Unconventional marketing! A”Lunchbox”! Breakfast! Gorilla marketing! The Journal Sentinel, man! A full-fledged conspiracy to get kids to drink. Scoob, we gotta do something!

The group has already forced Budweiser to can its similar (but unsurprisingly worse) drinks. Unlike Tilt and Bud Extra, people actually drink Sparks, so it’s safe to say this suit will go nowhere. But let’s imagine a whistleblower comes around, with documents that say employees of the company that sells alcohol wanted people (even underage people!) to drink alcohol. We will be shocked, we will demand hearings, we will somehow be utterly surprised by all of this. And we will have hipsters who do more cocaine and teenagers who mix Red Bull with vodka and drink a lot more alcohol with a lot more caffeine in it. Well, maybe.

via Join Together
Photo of Ken (my apologies, man), Creative Commons license

Redlasso Shuts To Bloggers

Thanks to some lawsuits, Redlasso has closed to bloggers just in time to not have the International Olympic Committee drop a bomb on the company’s headquarters or something. On the plus side, thousands of browsers now longer have to fear crashing when they load a blog.

Heroes Try To Stop Stupid City Council Law

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Okay, it’s time to write more about my new favorite people in this city: The ones suing the city for its new law requiring tour guide licensing.

They are simply on the attack with an all-out media blitz following up on Elmer Smith’s column yesterday. There is an op-ed from an Institute for Justice lawyer in the Inquirer and another in the Daily News from one of the tour guides suing.

The writing by the I4J’s Bob McNamara is full of typical unintentionally hilarious libertarian seriousness — “This is a direct assault on fundamental American freedoms” — but makes the argument pretty clear: The government is limiting who can talk on streetcorners by imposing requirements on what they can say with a tour guide test. That’s not the reason I gave for keeping tour guides unlicensed — they tell awesome lies like, “City Tavern is where the First Continental Congress met” — but it seems to make sense.

The city can probably institute optional “factually-certified™” tour guide registration or whatever, but can’t make it mandatory. Either way this shakes out, I’m totally looking into setting up a tour where you can be sure you won’t be told one accurate thing at all.

Also, since I’ve been laughing at awful Internet comments all week — I do this all the time, but I’ve been posting some of them the past couple days — this comment on the Daily News article is awesome.

ghost stories and anecdotes are a far cry from patently false or misleading information about historical events, which I believe is the main concern here. Statements made in the course of doing one’s job are not protected by the first amendment. If I sell hot dogs and I tell my customers my hot dogs will make them taller, I’m a liar and will be fired (or lose my customers). i have no recourse under the first amendment. Your efforts should be directed at making sure the law is implemented as fairly as possible, with everyone’s best interests in mind. If you try to have the law struck down with a free speech argument you will be wasting your time.

This is also awesome: “Mike Tait is a Philadelphia tour guide who is filing a lawsuit today against the city to secure his constitutional rights.”

Photo by waffler, Creative Commons license

Jocelyn Kirsch Now Being Sued

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Hey, Jocelyn Kirsch is back in the news again! This time she hasn’t done anything newsworthy like work at a Starbucks or get charged with a felony. No, a stylist Jocelyn “Bonnie” Kirsch allegedly ripped off is suing her.

This was the greatest haircut of all time, apparently, since she’s suing for $50,000. Oh, I see: The suit says 25-year-old Jennifer Bisicchia “has had to endure emotional stress from the case.” So she totally deserves 50 grand! The hairstyling and extensions part of the lawsuit is a mere $2,500.

According to the lawsuit, Bisicchia also received angry text messages in the middle of the night! All of the following is [sic], of course:

HELLO JEN BISICCHIA. YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME. BUT I KNOW YOURS. I ALSO KNOW UR NICE PLACE ON … ST AND HOW U GET HOME AT NIGHT. YOURE THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT VISITORS AT UR DOOR. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’VE GOTTEN URSELF INTO. YOU SEEM LIKE A SMART GIRL. WALK AWAY NOW OR YOU WILL REGRET IT

After receiving that text, Bisicchia then made her boyfriend sit outside of her door, all night. He better get a cut of that $50k.

Payback time: Stylist behind ‘Bonnie’s’ tresses files suit [Daily News]

Sammy D’s Speed Racer Lawsuit

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Oh, how did I almost forget: Yesterday, TMZ posted documents of Samuel Dalembert’s lawsuit against a group of business partners he says scammed him out of money he invested. Apparently, he gave over a million dollars to a group that was to license Speed Racer merchandise; the lawsuit contends the group never even owned the rights to Speed Racer.

Oh, yeah, and look: Teddy Pendergrass II is also named in the lawsuit!

The Daily News points out: “In an unrelated development, Dalembert has withdrawn from a scheduled trip to India with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative to concentrate on training with the Canadian national team as it attempts to secure a berth in this summer’s Beijing Olympics.” Unrelated? I don’t know, I bet it has something to do with this Speed Racer lawsuit.

Rick’s Steaks Loses Legal Battle

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Hey, while nobody was paying attention, a judge issued a ruling on May 9 that effectively ended Rick’s Steaks’ battle to stay in the Reading Terminal Market. Sadness! KYW 1060 gets the quote from Rick Olivieri himself:

“That’s getting a little too legal for me, you might want to contact my attorney about that.”

Oh. Ha ha, they actually broadcast that quote on the radio several times! Rick’s Steaks was originally supposed to be out of the market by June 2007, so he bought himself about a year.

Judge’s Ruling a Setback for Rick’s Steaks [KYW 1060]

Boy Scouts Sue City

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The Boy Scouts have sued the city for attempting to kick the local council out of its building near the Parkway. For the uninitiated: Those who do their duty to do their best to God and their country also don’t allow gays to do any of that in their little club, so the city decided it was kicking the Cradle of Liberty Council out of its 22nd and Winter building (which the city leases to the Scouts for one dollar a year.)

The Scouts’ lawsuit says the city leases property to about 100 groups with membership criteria for under $2,000 a year, without any attempt to kick them out of their properties.

The lawsuit mentions the Roman Catholic Church of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which the suit says has paid a nominal rent for a church building in Pennypack Park since 1935; Zion Baptist Church, which pays $25 a year to lease three parcels of recreational land for the Clara Baldwin Home for seniors; and Women for Greater Philadelphia and the Colonial Dames of America, which have free perpetual leases for historic mansions in Fairmount Park. “This city allows numerous organizations to use city-owned property and does not necessarily refuse them based on restrictions on membership,” said Center City lawyer Jason P. Gosselin, who filed the suit on behalf of the Cradle of Liberty Council.

City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith said she believes the difference between the Boy Scouts and the other groups that lease city land or buildings is that the other groups do not discriminate in the social services they provide. Smith said you cannot be a Boy Scout if you are openly gay or an atheist: “If we find that these other groups are doing that, we will take the appropriate action.”

You got that, atheists? You gotta get down to the courthouse and file all your complaints against the Colonial Dames of America.

In related news, Congress is having a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts. Up to $3.5 million! Update: And Ron Paul voted for the bill. He secretly loves the federal reserve!

Boy Scouts sue city in building dispute [Inquirer]

Suit: Dykstra Spending All Our Cash

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Last week, news broke that former Phillies centerfielder Lenny Dykstra (at right, looking creepy as all heck, with Jim Cramer) was being sued by his publishing partner after just one issue of his magazine The Players Club, aimed at rich athletes.

Dykstra is also suing publishing partner Doubledown Media; he actually filed his lawsuit first. But let’s get to the quote from the lawsuit against him:

“Over a relatively short period of time, Dykstra proved himself to be a mercurial, difficult client whose many idiosyncrasies and demanding personality imposed substantial costs on the planned publications and created excessive burdens for Doubledown,” reads the suit. “At the same time, Dykstra began shirking his financial obligations to Doubledown beginning in late 2007 and continuing into 2008, repeatedly driving up expenses and increasing the overall costs of the publications at a time when he, on information and belief, lacked the cash to pay for such expenses.”

What is it with athletes and carwashes, anyway? No word if The Players Club will ever be publishing a second issue, but let’s just assume it’s gone to that great big magazine rack in the sky.

Lenny Dykstra Sued By Publishing Partner [Mixed Media]