educational

Laughable Litigation

Michael Hayes
While XBIZ reports on a lot of industry and Internet legal stories, more than a few have given us pause. While we by no means consider the merits of each case, we thought our readers might enjoy the top 10 cases that made us ask, "What were they thinking?"

Porn on Lockdown
Convicted murderer Ernest Tope filed a class-action suit against the state of Indiana on behalf of 20,000 inmates demanding the right to get porn in prison. The civil rights suit challenges a state prison policy that bans prisoners from receiving magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse. Tope, who is seeking reversal of the policy and attorneys fees, said he was miffed that he could not receive his copy of Easyriders, a motorcycle magazine that features partial female nudity.

Dial 1-900-SEX-COMP
A Florida phone sex operator won a workers compensation claim after she developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands while masturbating as often as seven times per day. Steven Slootsky, who represented the unidentified woman, said he didn't know if the claim was the first of its kind, but he did confess that it was "out of the ordinary." According to Slootsky, his client was told to do "whatever it takes to keep the person on the phone as long as possible."

The Marriage Penalty
An Emeryville, Calif., lawyer who is separated from his wife, but not quite divorced, has filed suit against eHarmony, alleging that the dating site's "unmarried only" policy abridges his civil rights. John Claassen filed the suit for $12,000 after eHarmony refused to help him find his match.

"I think ultimately California civil rights laws leave those sorts of choices to the individual rather than to business establishments," he said. "Any user can decide who they're looking for, and if they want to make a choice based on marital status, I don't see why they can't do that."

Don't Be Afriended
The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that obscene speech is not always workplace harassment. The justices agreed with Warner Bros. Television Productions that explicit comments in staff meetings during the production of "Friends" TV scripts were part of the creative process and, therefore, the studio and its writers could not be sued for workplace harassment.

Banks To Doc Johnson: 'Keep Your Hands Off My Ass'
Adult star Briana Banks filed a federal lawsuit against Doc Johnson Enterprises, claiming the sex toy manufacturer struck a deal to use molds and reproductions of her genitals for two products and then made 12 products. According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Banks claims the defendant made 10 unauthorized products from the molds, including the Briana 3 Hole Doll, the Briana Harness, Briana's Adventure Kit, Briana's Blazing Anal Butt Plug Adult Toy, Briana's Ten Inch Dong and others.

The Growing Pill Problem
An herbal supplement distributor that marketed penis enlargement pills over the Internet was named in a proposed class-action suit. Michael Coluzzi, a New Jersey man who initiated the legal action, said that he experienced "no increase" after taking the Alzare herbal supplement for two weeks. In court documents, Coluzzi said he joined "thousands of individuals" who have been "victimized by a scheme to defraud and obtain money through the unfair, deceptive and fraudulent marketing and selling of Alzare."

I Work Alone
A Beaver County (Pa.) employee who was fired for accessing adult websites from his office filed a federal lawsuit against the county, claiming that their policies on computer use and his eventual firing violated his 1st and 14th Amendment rights. Thompson, who represented himself, lost the case. "During the period from August 2002 through January 2003, Thompson devoted roughly 20 percent of each work day and almost 30 percent of his total work time online to visiting adult websites," the court said.

Alabama: Sex Not A Toy
A federal appeals court upheld a 1998 Alabama law banning the sale of sex toys in the state. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Alabama could police the sale of adult novelties that include "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs." The court said that Alabama's sex-toy laws do not affect the use of condoms and Viagra or similar drugs, nor does it apply to sex toys prescribed by a physician.

Tom Cruise is Not Gay
Tom Cruise filed a $100 million lawsuit against gay porn star Kyle Bradford, whose real name is Chad Slater. Through his attorney, Cruise vehemently denied allegations that he was gay. "Cruise is a great respecter of homosexual rights, but he's not gay, and he's ready to prove this in court," his lawyer said.

The 'Star Wars' Viral Kid Strikes Back
Ghyslain Raza, aka the Star Wars Kid, whose viral of him wielding a light saber spread like wildfire on the Internet, reached a settlement with the families of three schoolyard bullies who put the movie online. A month after going online in 2003, the video had 1.1 million U.S. downloads. Raza said classmates and total strangers would shout his name and reference "Star Wars" whenever they saw him, forcing him to leave school for a private tutor.

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