Hotel Found Guilty

Jury awards $85,000 against hotel for subjecting family to pornography

Norwalk, CA — October 12, 2007

Edwina McCombs, a Tennessee resident, who was visiting Southern California to vacation with her 8 and 9 year old daughters, was awarded $85,000 today when a jury found Value Lodge, an Artesia motel, liable for involuntarily subjecting her girls to hard-core pornographic movies.

Ms. McCombs checked into the Value Lodge where she informed the front desk that she was there with her two young daughters. When she was in the room, Ms. McCombs went to take a bath and the children turned on the television to watch a children’s show. Instead, the children were subjected to hard-core pornography with close-up images of people engaged in sodomy and homosexual acts.

Leejanice Toback, an attorney for McCombs, stated that this is probably the first such verdict against a hotel or motel for showing pornography.

"This shows that hotels cannot ignore the duty of care they owe their patrons. If hotels don’t have lock-outs that prevent young children from being involuntarily subjected to pornography, they will be liable," said Eliot Krieger.

The trial lasted two weeks. During the trial, the plaintiffs presented testimony from hotel expert Alan Snyder, who commented that in his thirty years experience, he has never seen a family hotel where some affirmative action was not necessary in order to access adult material. Although the motel claimed that there were signs warning the patrons that the adult channel could be turned off by the front desk, interviews with the jury indicated that no one believed it.

The plainitffs also called Dr. Michael Perrotti, who extensively tested the children and described the harm that exposure to pornographic images have on young children. Dr. Perrotti stated that a child’s mind is like a hard drive on a computer and the images once implanted, are difficult to remove. The girl’s parents and attorneys Leejanice Toback and Eliot F. Krieger are thrilled with the verdict and the message it sends.

Jarvis & Krieger
5199 East Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 510
Long Beach, California 90804
Phone: (562) 597-7070
Fax: (562) 597-7772

CA Killing Smokers

I am thoroughly convinced that the State of California is trying to kill me.

Since the California Legislature has been unsuccessful in taxing smokers out of existence, they are now trying to kill us off.

As a long time smoker, who takes her health very seriously – don’t laugh, I really do. I’ve tried the whole quitting routine (five years), only to find that my health problems had multiplied and I was far worse off without my trusty pack of smokes than I was with them. I won’t bore you with the details – you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

After a recent purchase of my regular brand, Marlboro menthol cigarettes, which are made by none-other-than the infamous Phillip Morris, I began to notice something was terribly wrong with my cigarettes. They kept going out, if I wasn’t continuously dragging on the filter. Three times I actually thought I had lost the cherry off the end and began a frantic search for it, not wanting to burn a hole in my new pajamas.

“It is important to note that these cigarettes are not “fire-safe.” Anything that burns, if handled carelessly, can cause a fire. RCIP cigarettes should be handled and disposed of properly, just like regular cigarettes.” (Phillip Morris’s website)

Well, I have to tell you, even though Phillip Morris claims they are not fire-safe, I can assure you that starting a fire with these would be very difficult.

I realized about halfway through the pack that something was different about this pack. So, I went in search of an answer. It didn’t take me long to find it:

Phillip Morris posted the following on their website:

Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity (RCIP) describes cigarettes that demonstrate a reduced ignition propensity in certain laboratory tests. New York (effective June 28, 2004), Vermont (effective May 1, 2006) and California (effective January 1, 2007) have enacted laws adopting a statewide performance standard for RCIP.

Today, many manufacturers including Philip Morris USA (PM USA) use banded cigarette paper to achieve compliance with mandatory standards and improved test results. The developers of the test method, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), have stated that cigarettes with improved test performance are less likely to ignite bedding and upholstered furniture, such as mattresses and sofas. Banded paper cigarettes have been in the marketplace for a short time however, and therefore there is a limited amount of data regarding their actual real-world impact.

I have to tell you that if a smoker smokes these cigarettes for any length of time, it will certainly kill them. I’ve never had to inhale so deeply, to keep a cigarette from going out. I can only surmise that in their zeal to “protect” “innocent” citizens from the hazard presented by those nasty smokers, the legislators in Vermont, New York and California have colluded with tobacco manufacturers, to sacrifice smokers.

I’ve smoked about 15 cigarettes made with the new, banded paper and already my throat hurts, my lungs feel heavy and I’m having trouble breathing. Symptoms I don’t normally develop unless I have a cold or respiratory illness.

Phillip Morris admits the new paper has only been used for a short time and that they have no idea what the health impact will be on the smokers who are forced into this experiment against their will or the impact they will have on our environment.

Call me crazy but I say this is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

Related Links

Ninth Circuit Deals Blow to Parental Rights

by: Attorney Brad Dacus

San Francisco, CA – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit brought by parents against a school which administered sexually-themed surveys to young schoolchildren. In so doing, the Ninth Circuit made clear that parents have little control over what their children will be taught in public schools.

The case, Fields v. Palmdale School District, arose after school officials obtained parents’ permission to administer a psychological survey to first, third and fifth-graders. The school stated that the survey would measure exposure to early trauma and behaviors such as anxiety, depression and aggression.

In fact, the survey contained ten sexually-provocative questions, asking the seven- to ten-year-olds to rate on a scale from “never” to “almost all the time” how often they engaged in activities such as “Touching my private parts too much,” “Thinking about having sex,” “Thinking about touching other people’s private parts” and “Not trusting people because they might want sex.” Outraged parents filed a lawsuit attempting to assert their privacy rights under Supreme Court precedent to direct the upbringing of their children, especially in regard to sexual issues.

Parents who send their children to public schools do not have a constitutional right to exercise control over the school’s decisions to teach or discuss sexuality.

The Ninth Circuit disagreed, stating that parents who send their children to public schools do not have a constitutional right to exercise control over the school’s decisions to teach or discuss sexuality. The Court further declared that schools may teach freely about issues such as gay marriage and evolution without regard for objections by “idiosyncratic” parents.

The Court even went out of its way to praise right to privacy cases including Roe v. Wade and to note that, in some cases, the state may “supplement or even in some circumstances supplant parents’ interest in the custody, care and nurture of their children.”

Religious liberty advocates are raising serious concerns about the potential impact of this case. Although some protections are still available through state law, such as exemption of students from comprehensive sexual health education, they are somewhat narrow. “The concealment of material facts by this District was a classic bait and switch. What is troubling is that it reveals blatant disrespect for parents,” said Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel for the Pacific Justice Institute. “Regrettably, though parents have the ability to prevent this abuse of power by school officials, few know how to effectively deal with schools which cross the line,” Snider continued.

The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.

P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600
Phone: (916) 857-6900
Fax (916) 857-6902
Contact: Attorney Brad Dacus (916) 857-6900