Chapter 06 - Tort Law and Cybertorts
VII. Related Cases
1. In a November 1983 issue of Hustler magazine, a parody of an advertisement portrayed
television evangelist Jerry Falwell as a drunken, incestuous hypocrite. The parody
contained a disclaimer, “ad parody—not to be taken seriously.” In Hustler Magazine,
Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988), the U.S. Supreme Court addressed Falwell’s claim
for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and ruled that in such cases, public
figures may not recover for the tort of the intentional infliction of emotional distress
without showing that the publication contains a false statement of fact which was made
with actual malice, meaning knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless
disregard as to its truth or falsity.
2. As reported in the online ABA Journal, at
atory_comments_while_he_was_sedat, a Virginia jury in 2015 awarded a patient
$500,000, including $200,000 in punitive damages, because of defamatory comments
made by his anesthesiologist while he was sedated for a colonoscopy.
3. As reported in the online ABA Journal, at
death_of_boy_4_after_jeep_is_rea, a Georgia jury awarded $150 million against Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles NV in a case involving the death of a four-year-old in a fiery
rear-end crash. Design of the position of the gas tank in the vehicle at issue was
4. When a drunken man tripped on a rotten plank in a sidewalk and then sued for damages,
the judge in an early California case stated that “a drunken man has as good a right to a
perfect sidewalk as a sober man, and he needs one a good deal more.”
5. In Chadd v. U.S., ___ F.3d ___, 2015 WL 4509174, a divided Ninth Circuit ruled that
sovereign immunity protects the U.S. government from being held liable for a mountain
goat’s attack on a park visitor. The court ruled that the park service had discretion under
the Federal Tort Claims Act to decide how the animal that was known to be aggressive
should be handled.
6. The Supreme Court of Mississippi found that an issue of fact as to the horse owner’s
negligence precluded an entry of summary judgment in a case in which a runaway horse
crashed into an automobile. Carpenter v. Nobile, 620 So.2d 961 (Miss. 1993).
7. A motorcyclist sued a truck stop restaurant after he hit a pothole in the parking lot and
received head injuries. The appellate court found the motorcyclist 50 percent at fault for
not wearing a helmet and for not avoiding the pothole. As a result, his damages award
was cut in half. Landry v. Roe, 597 So.2d 14 (La. 1992).
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