I Have Questions

I have another indoor activity for those of you stuck at home these days: answering unasked questions. Read lawsuits or court rulings and then ponder the issues you feel have been neglected.

I have examples.

This is from a footnote from a recent ruling in a dog bite case written by a federal judge in Ohio: “In their complaint, the Mosholders describe the dog owner as a female. … However, during her deposition, Krystal described the dog owner as a male. For purposes of consistency, the Court will refer to the dog owner using female pronouns.”

Is this because the dog owner was a bitch? Is it because the judge is female? Why did no one check under the owner’s tail? And is this going to be precedent for Ohio courts from now on?

You should by now have arrived at the next question: Why is a dog bite case in federal court?

Yeah, it’s a diversity jurisdiction thing, but still. Would you advise your client to file a federal dog bite suit?

You’re now thinking there at least must have been a horrible injury here. No, it turns out that the plaintiff went on shopping after the attack and didn’t notice her skin had been punctured until she got home and took off her pants.

My guess is that the answer here is that a client who doesn’t notice she’s bleeding probably doesn’t notice she’s bleeding legal fees either.

There’s also this startling word picture: “The Mosholders assert that Lowe’s pet policy ‘create[s] an unsafe environment’ requiring patrons ‘to keep their head[s] on the proverbial swivel while they navigate the labyrinth and minefield of other patron’s [sic] animals. …’”

I didn’t know there were that many dogs interested in doghouse home improvement supplies. I want to shop at this store.

How do you explain this from a recent Arizona federal court ruling: “The Motion is denied as moot … as to documents that do not exist.”? If I were a judge, I’d grant any request for nonexistent documents. What could it hurt?

Should pun litigation be allowed in court? I’m not making this up — a federal judge in Illinois had to make a ruling in an assault and battery case arising out of an argument over a battery. I’d certainly file that kind of suit but the rest of you should probably get an ethics opinion first.

By the way, if you make it to page 12 of this fascinating ruling, you’ll find that the plaintiff is something of a Renaissance man when he’s not arguing about batteries.

“Due to these emotional and physical injuries, Watson was unable to continue some of the activities by which he made a living, including dog walking, car optimization and repair, and baking.”

I’m thinking the gig economy could be causing something akin to road rage.

I told you so. I never get tired of saying that. It may also be that I inspired a new litigation tactic, but I won’t take credit for that. I’m too humble.

Just about a month ago I wrote that “corporations will file class actions against their employees. It never hurts to strike first.”

Sure enough, a complaint appeared in federal court in Los Angeles last week titled “Postmates, Inc. v. 10,356 Individuals.”

Who could these individuals be? Are they suing 10,356 random people who happen to be walking by the courthouse?

No, it turns out that the lawyers who filed this complaint could have been a tad more specific in their caption. They were actually suing Postmates’ couriers to stop them from filing arbitration claims en masse — while at the same claiming that “Postmates does not seek damages from Defendants or to discourage independent couriers from pursuing legitimate claims against Postmates in individual arbitration.”

In other words, Postmates couriers should file for arbitration only if it’s not too inconvenient for the company.

The lawsuit claims that there are “certain plaintiffs’ attorneys” who “repeatedly file thousands of arbitration demands at the same time” so they can “extract the highest possible payout from corporate defendants.”

As opposed to trying to extract the lowest possible payout. What could these lawyers be thinking?

Postmates claims the mass filings are unconstitutional and improper under the Federal Arbitration Act.

I’m not a businessman, so maybe I don’t understand this, but is it a good idea to sue most of your own workforce?

I also want to know how the company is going to serve notice.

Postmates delivery?

All the couriers can serve each other.

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