A display of Halloween pumpkins sits on the front porch of a home Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Garretson, S.D. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Blog   |  October 2, 2023
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Four Unusual Halloween Lawsuits

Lawsuit Challenges CDCR's Halloween Sex Offender Policy - capradio.org

It’s no secret that bizarre lawsuits occur from time to time, and when it comes to Halloween, a holiday filled with tricks and spooks, it’s no exception. Here are four peculiar Halloween-related lawsuits that stand out:

The Cigarette Mishap: Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson Products, Inc.

Frank Ferlito and his wife Susan attended a costume party as Little Bo Peep and her sheep. Unfortunately, Frank’s handmade sheep costume, crafted from Johnson & Johnson cotton balls, caught fire when he lit a cigarette. He suffered burns, leading the Ferlitos to sue Johnson & Johnson for not providing adequate warnings. However, the court ruled against them, as they were already aware of the product’s flammability, and Susan did not testify that a warning label would have prevented her from using cotton balls for the costume.

Broken Nose Nightmare: Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters

Deborah Mays entered a dark haunted house knowing she might be scared. Startled by an actor jumping out, she ran into a cinderblock wall covered with black fabric, breaking her nose and requiring surgery. Mays sued the haunted house owners, but the court found them not liable, as patrons expect to be frightened in such an environment and the owners had no duty to protect against unpredictable reactions.

Tombstone Trouble: Purtell v. Mason

Neighbors of Jeffrey and Vicki Purtell objected to their RV in the driveway, leading the Purtells to set up a Halloween display featuring insulting tombstone inscriptions aimed at their neighbors. After complaints, the police ordered the removal of the tombstones, which led to a lawsuit based on free speech rights. While the court protected the messages as free speech, they ruled the officer had reasonable grounds to believe ordering removal was constitutional, granting him qualified immunity.

Maze of Terror: Durmon v. Billings

Gracie Gail Durmon encountered a chainsaw-wielding man dressed as Jason Voorhees in a scary corn maze and fell, breaking her leg on muddy ground. Durmon sued the maze’s owners for negligence, but the court found in favor of the defendants. They argued that the muddy conditions were obvious, and participants were aware that the maze aimed to scare them, absolving the owners of negligence.

Are Homeowners Liable for Injury to a Trick-or-Treater?

Need a Lawyer This Halloween?

While these Halloween lawsuits may seem strange, not all Halloween legal disputes result in bizarre outcomes. Some can lead to plaintiffs receiving damages. If you believe you have a personal injury, slip and fall, or premises liability case in Florida or Georgia, reach out to the attorneys at Kemp Law Group for a free evaluation.

Sources:

http://www.leagle.com/decision/1991967771FSupp196_1920/FERLITO%20v.%20JOHNSON%20&%20JOHNSON%20PRODUCTS,%20INC.

http://www.leagle.com/decision/20041745873So2d872_11688/DURMON%20v.%20BILLINGS

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1197679.html

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7842299894782293434&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

 

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