Halloween Lawsuits – The Best of the Bunch!
Tombstones and zombies are sprawled across the front lawns of your neighbors.
Skeletons are lurking on porches.
Huge spiderwebs are covering walkways.
It must be time for Halloween. ***If it’s not, you might want to consider moving NOW!!!***
As we have mentioned on Christmas, Valentine’s Day,and St. Patrick’s Day; when there’s a holiday, there’s lawsuits.
As a top law firm in Elizabeth and Short Hills, we at Mintz & Geftic have been handling important workers compensation, personal injury and class action cases for over 30 years.
We represent victims that have been seriously injured in car accidents, truck accidents, work-related accidents and slip and falls. We have represented the victims of Wage and Hour Violations(or wage theft) in class action cases. We certainly understand how important a lawsuit can be in getting justice for our clients.
Are each of the lawsuits below as worthy as those we file for our seriously injured clients? You be the judge:
1. Goin’ Bananas – Rasta Imposta v. Kangaroo Manufacturing
Rasta Imposta, a maker of Halloween costumes, sued a former distributor, Kangaroo Manufacturing. The copyright infringement lawsuit from 2017 alleged that the former distributor was peddling bogus banana costumes.
The lawsuit took place in a federal court in Camden, New Jersey. When unpeeling some of the case records, there was more than a few humorous points that came up.
During a hearing, the federal judge Noel L. Hillman was heard uttering phrases like “bananafest” and “bananapalooza.” Later he pondered “whether the founding fathers had banana costumes in mind” when they drafted the Constitution.
The judge’s ruling? You guessed it…a split decision.
2. Tombstones Messages Too Personal? – Salama v. Deaton
In 2009, Ellen Salama, a woman in Riverview, FL filed a lawsuit against her neighbor, Kristy Elizabeth Deaton. In the lawsuit, Salama alleged that she was the victim of constant harassment, saying that she had feared for her life.
As evidence, Salama referred to the Halloween display that her neighbor had put up that year. Specifically messages written on the tombstones.
One read, “At 48 she had no mate no date. It’s no debate she looked 88. She met her fate in a crate. Now we celebrate. 1961-2009.”
Another stated, “Paranoia will destroy ya. Ima crazy zee. 1961-2009.”
Salama was 48-years old and single at the time and claimed the tombstones were directed at her.
3. Haunted House Too Haunted? – Deborah Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters Inc
On the night of October 29, 1999, Deborah Mays entered a dark Louisiana haunted house. The haunted house was operated by the defendant to raise money for local athletic programs.
Mays, the plaintiff, testified that someone jumped out at her inside the haunted house and yelled. She was frightened and began to run, unfortunately running directly into a visqueen-covered cinder block wall. Mays suffered a broken-nose from running into the wall and required two surgeries to repair the injury.
In the lawsuit, she argued that covering a cinder block wall with black visqueen in a dark haunted house is an unreasonable dangerous condition.
The court ruled as followed:
The very nature of a Halloween haunted house is to frighten its patrons. In order to get the proper effect, haunted houses are dark and contain scary and/or shocking exhibits. Patrons in a Halloween haunted house are expected to be surprised, startled and scared by the exhibits but the operator does not have a duty to guard against patrons reacting in bizarre, frightened and unpredictable ways. Operators are duty bound to protect patrons only from unreasonably dangerous conditions, not from every conceivable danger. (Coverage Opinions,Vol. 4, Iss. 10)
4. Mary, Her Little Lamb and a Cigarette – Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson Products Inc.
Plaintiffs Susan and Frank Ferlito, husband and wife, attended a Halloween party in 1984 dressed as Mary and her little lamb.
Mrs. Ferlito had constructed a lamb costume for her husband by gluing cotton balls manufactured by defendant Johnson & Johnson Products to a suit of long underwear. She had also used the cotton balls to fashion a headpiece, complete with ears.
During the party Mr. Ferlito attempted to light his cigarette by using a butane lighter. The flame passed close to his left arm, and the cotton on his left sleeve ignited. Burns covered approximately one-third of Mr. Ferlito’s body.
The Ferlito’s sued Johnson & Johnson for the severe burns and related injuries in a product liability lawsuit. They argued that a warning on the package would have prevented the accident.
A jury decided that the couple was 50 percent at fault and initially awarded them $625,000. On appeal, the verdict was set aside. The court noted that cotton is a simple product with all its essential characteristics apparent, including flammability.â€
5. Jason Voorhees and the Corn Maze – Durmon v. Billings
In 2002, the plaintiff Gail Durmon encountered a terrifying site while walking through a haunted Lousiana corn maze. It was a worker dressed up as Jason Voorhees, the deadly villain of Friday the 13th movie fame.
The worker didn’t just go with the standard Jason goalie mask to scare people. He was decked out in the full costume too…oh, and one other tiny detail…the guy was wielding a RUNNING CHAINSAW above his head!
The plaintiff ran away (as would I) and she fell and broke her leg.
The plaintiff charged the owners with negligence for the muddy condition of the field and for allowing Jasonâ€ to use an instrument that could have harmed her. The court found that the plaintiff had paid to be frightened and that the maze’s condition was obvious. Tough break.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!
MINTZ & GEFTIC – New Jersey Injury Lawyers
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