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Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Yesterday, a New York federal judge tossed out three lawsuits against former Sesame Street employee Kevin Clash. Three
men alleged that Clash had sexually abused them when they were underage. The plaintiffs said that they had not realized they were victimized until last year, when they initially found out about one another. More from NBC News:
In their claims against Clash, who resigned from “Sesame Street” in November after 28 years, the plaintiffs said they had not realized they were victimized until they learned about each other last year, “and realized they were manipulated and it was an ongoing practice.”
But the judge ruled that the “plaintiffs were aware of sufficient facts immediately following their victimization by the defendant to state claims” sooner. ”They were aware of the facts that, while minors, the defendant had engaged in sexual activities with them in violation of one or more federal statutes,” Koeltl wrote. “The dates on which the plaintiffs connected their psychological injuries to their victimizations are irrelevant to the dates on which their claims accrued. … While the plaintiffs may not have recognized the extent of their injuries, they were aware of the defendant’s conduct towards them and could have brought claims.”
The three plaintiffs whose lawsuits have been dismissed are a 34-year-old Florida man who alleged Clash befriended him on a trip to Miami in the mid-1990s, and later arranged for the teenage boy to visit him in New York, where they engaged in sex for four days in Clash’s home; Kevin Kiadii, 26, of New York who said Clash initiated contact with him on a gay chat line when he was 16 and invited him to his apartment, where they engaged in sex; and 25-year-old Cecil Singleton of New York, who was the first man to come forward and alleged in November that he and Clash engaged in an on-and-off sexual relationship that began nine years ago.
Clash recently won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding performer in a children’s series and two others he shared with the show, totaling 26 total Emmys in his career. His work is still being shown on “Sesame Street” because it had been filmed in advance. Sesame Workshop declined to comment Monday.
Image: Cast and Crew of Sesame Street, via Shutterstock
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Friday, January 4th, 2013
William Marotta, a Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple who now has a 3-year-old daughter, is fighting the state’s efforts to get him to pay child support after the couple broke up and the child’s care is being partially provided by state programs. More from The Huffington Post:
The case hinges on the fact that no doctors were used for the artificial insemination. The state argues that because William Marotta didn’t work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law, he can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child’s biological mother received through public assistance – as well as future child support.
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said that when a single mother seeks benefits for a child, it’s routine for the department to try to determine the child’s paternity and require the father to make support payments to lessen the potential cost to taxpayers.
Marotta, a 46-year-old Topeka resident, answered an online ad in 2009 from a local couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who said they were seeking a sperm donor. After exchanging emails and meeting, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.
But instead of working with a doctor, Marotta agreed to drop off a container with his sperm at the couple’s home and the women successfully handled the artificial insemination themselves. Schreiner become pregnant with a girl.
Late last year, after she and Bauer broke up, Schreiner received public assistance from the state to help care for the girl.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed a court petition against Marotta in October, asking that he be required to reimburse the state for the benefits and make future child support payments. Marotta is asking that the case be dismissed, arguing that he’s not legally the child’s father, only a sperm donor.
Image: Legal paperwork, via Shutterstock
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Monday, October 15th, 2012
A new regulation in New York City that would limit the size of soft drinks to 16 ounces or fewer is the subject of a lawsuit filed late last week by a restaurant group and members of the soda industry. The New York Times reports:
“Legal action was widely anticipated from the soft-drink industry, which led an aggressive campaign this summer portraying [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg’s plan as an affront to consumer freedom and has frequently opposed local regulations of its products.
The 61-page filing offers a detailed rebuttal to Mr. Bloomberg, arguing the soda restrictions are a form of de facto legislation, enacted by “executive fiat,” which should have been considered by the City Council. The plaintiffs say the rules represent “a dramatic departure” from the traditional role of the health department, and they are asking a judge to reject the size limits before they are put into effect.
The mayor’s chief spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, rejected those arguments on Friday, calling the lawsuit “baseless.” City health officials have argued that the plan can help curb runaway obesity rates in the city, where more than half of adults are overweight or obese.
“The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year — and impacting the lives of thousands more — unquestionably falls under its purview,” Mr. La Vorgna wrote in a statement.”
Image: Soda bottles, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
A Portland, Oregon couple was awarded nearly $3 million in damages last week after they sued their health care providers for failing to diagnose their daughter with Down syndrome in utero. Ariel and Deborah Levy sued for “wrongful birth” because they said had they known the diagnosis, they would have opted to have an abortion.
The couple underwent a number of screening tests for Down’s syndrome, The Oregonian newspaper reports, including ultrasound screenings and bloodwork–which showed an elevated risk of the fetus having the disorder–and a procedure called chorionic villus sampling, or CVS–which showed that the fetus was did not in fact have Down’s. The Levy’s lawsuit alleged the lab that conducted the CVS mistakenly analyzed Deborah Levy’s tissue, rather than the fetus’.
The Levys learned within a week of their daughter Kalanit’s birth that she did in fact have Down syndrome. The couple, who has two older, healthy sons, sued for the estimated $3 million additional lifetime costs they will incur to care for Kalanit. A jury, voting 12-0 after only 6 hours of deliberation, awarded the family nearly the entire amount.
The Oregonian reports on the broader issue of so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits:
Experts say so few parents choose to file wrongful birth suits because it forces them to take an awkward position: They must be willing to say on the record that they would have aborted the pregnancy, and that they feel a burden — albeit financial — of raising the child.
The Levys’ attorney, David K. Miller, said his clients deeply love their daughter but worried about being portrayed as heartless. Miller said they sued because they worried about providing all that their daughter would need over her lifetime. Experts testified that she will continue to need speech and physical therapy and face a concerning list of possible medical problems over her lifetime. Professionals have told the Levys that she will likely never be able to live independently, or earn a living.
According to several studies, 89 percent or more of expectant mothers who learned their children would have Down syndrome chose to terminate the pregnancies.
Image: Gavel, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
The U.S. unit of the international stroller company Maclaren has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, meaning that it intends to liquidate its assets in this country. The move is the latest in a series of setbacks for the company, which in 2009 faced lawsuits from 12 families whose children had had fingers amputated by faulty hinges on foldable strollers.
The New York Times reports that among the creditors who are entitled to the liquidated assets are seven of the families who sued and were awarded settlements. The company allegedly has $45,413 in assets and $15.9 million in liabilities.
Maclaren strollers remain for sale in many U.S. retail shops and online, and the international company remains in business.
Image via http://www.thetoyzone.com/
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