Right to Wear a T-Shirt Confirmed for High School Student

Gay rights flag, by Flickr user "Mktp", licensed via Creative CommonsAn Ohio teenager won the right to wear a “Jesus is not a homophobe” t-shirt at his high school.  Maverick Couch first wore the t-shirt in April 2011 to commemorate a “Day of Silence”, an event where participants remain silent throughout the day, representative of the inability of many LGBT students to speak out against bullying due to fear, undeserved shame, doubt, etc.  Being a young gay man himself and participating in an LGBT awareness event, Maverick thought nothing much of donning his thought-provoking and pro-LGBT t-shirt.  The Powers that Be at the high school, however, probably incensed that dem der homos get a whole day to themselves in the first place, told Maverick that he had to wear the shirt inside-out in order to hide the supposedly-incendiary message.  Later that same year, Maverick asked his principal for permission to wear the shirt again.  This time, he was threatened with suspension if he wore the shirt.  Unfortunately for the high school, instead of wearing the shirt, Maverick decided to sue the school, alleging that his First Amendment rights were trounced.  The suit snowballed, and soon brought the controversy to a global audience, providing yet more evidence that the Streisand Effect should not be taken lightly.

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Skechers Pays $50 Million in False Advertisement Claim

Shoes, by Flickr user "little blue hen", licensed via Creative Commons.
I couldn’t find free-to-license pictures of Shape-Ups, but just imagine regular running shoes with a grotesque protuberance out the bottom.

If you believe wearing a specific shoe without committing to some aerobic or at least extra exercise is somehow going to transform your body from flab to fab, then I’ve got some snake oil to sell you.  Nevertheless, shoe company Skechers (sic) made just that very claim with their line of “workout” sneakers called “Shape-Ups”.  According to the marketing for the shoe, buying this particular brand will by virtue of wearing it work out and “tone” your legs, leading to fat loss and muscularity and all-around healthiness that you will not otherwise attain without the discomfort and strain of actually working out or being all-around healthy.  The company conducted some tests and studies (by well-paid scientists-for-hire) that seemed to support this concept, and produced celebrity endorsements by the likes of quarterback Joe Montana and socialite Kim Kardashian, who claimed that the shoe was so beneficial that she abandoned her personal trainer altogether, relying entirely on the shoe as a sort of workout God-figure.  Surprise surprise, the shoe did not live up to its expectations, and the Federal Trade Commission subsequently sued Skechers to stop spreading nonsense.  Today, the company will pay about $50 million, some of which is in fines and most of which will go to reimbursing dissatisfied customers.  And, of course, the company will have to change its marketing significantly when it reintroduces the shoe next year.

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Cancer Misdiagnosis Leads to $3.5 Million Settlement

Yesterday, the law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard announced that they’d settled a medical malpractice suit on behalf of a client for $3.5 million dollars.  Led by founding partner Bradley Corsiglia, the case detailed the story of a young engineer whose persistent complaints of a cough were dismissed and misdiagnosed by a doctor.  Time after time, as the cough became more serious — first percussive, then bloody, then life-threatening — the doctor based diagnosis on the engineer’s first, misread x-ray and did not order any new x-rays or tests based on new and (to my layman’s eyes) pretty startling developments.  Nearly a year and a half after the doctor’s first diagnosis of post-nasal drip, the engineer was rushed to the hospital with a collapsed lung, where it was determined that the man has stage four terminal lung cancer and but two short years to live.

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Two Settlements for Families of Mentally Ill Killed by Police Errors

Some riot police, by Flickr user "Charles de Jesus", licensed via Creative Commons.

Yesterday, a couple of similar settlements were reached concerning cases where undue police violence against innocent mentally ill citizens led to death.  Read on to find out the details.

 

 

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Civil Rights Lawyers Get Settlement for Breach of Their Civil Rights

A protester arrested by riot police

If there’s one subset of the American public on whom corrupt police officers might want to go easy re: civil rights violations, it would probably be civil rights lawyers.  Unfortunately, some overzealous Brooklyn cops didn’t get the memo.  In 2008, Sgt. Steven Talvy tackled a man in the course of an arrest and, after shackling the now-subdued, peaceful, and compliant man, kicked him right in the face.  This excessive force was witnessed by Michael and Evelyn Warren, the aforementioned civil rights lawyers, who then approached Talvy and informed him that he was being pretty brutal as an officer of the law, suggesting that he take the suspect to the precinct instead of, say, beating him to within an inch of his life.  After weighing this constructive criticism for a moment, Talvy flew into a rage, punching them both repeatedly in the face and arresting them for “disorderly conduct”.

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