All Posts By



Wrong surgery cases hit a high

  • Article by: JEREMY OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2012 – 12:01 AM

At Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Dr. James Williams, a colon and rectal surgeon, marked the incision points for Darren Lien’s abdominal surgery with a marker as part of a program to prevent errors. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune)

An annual report shows Minnesota hospitals, while disclosing more, still struggle with preventable mistakes.

 Minnesota hospitals reported 26 incidents last year in which doctors performed the wrong procedures on patients — including 10 cases involving the wrong replacement joints, breast implants or cataract lenses.

The figure is the highest in eight years of self-reporting by Minnesota hospitals. Officials cited many reasons for the mistakes — from doctors filling out incorrect orders to sloppy inventories that make it easy to grab the wrong joint implants for orthopedic procedures.

“There have been cases with knee implants where they’ll bring a cart into the OR that has both right and left knee implants on it,” said Diane Rydrych, who oversees the annual report for the Minnesota Department of Health. “If you’re doing a right knee, you should probably only have a cart that has right knee implants on it.”

The increase in wrong procedures stood out in an otherwise mixed report, released Thursday by the state Health Department and the Minnesota Hospital Association. The number of adverse events — often called “never events” because they are deemed preventable — climbed to a record 316 in Minnesota’s hospitals and surgery centers in 2011, up from 305 in 2010. On the other hand, the number of errors causing disabilities or deaths declined from a high of 116 in 2008 to 89 last year.

Five patient deaths were reported — three from falls, one from a medication error and one from a fatal air embolism.

The state report tracks 28 types of adverse events in all, including severe burns and surgical objects left behind during surgery.

Minnesota remains unique nationally for tracking these errors and publicizing which hospitals reported them. Few large hospitals go a year without reporting at least one.

‘Looking harder’ for mistakes

The Mayo Clinic’s Methodist Hospital in Rochester reported 12 incidents, including four wrong procedures out of 145,589 performed last year. The University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, reported 35 events, including two wrong procedures out of 164,191.

Hospital officials have warned since the first annual report in 2005 that year-to-year changes in these rare events don’t necessarily reflect improving or declining safety. More hospitals are reporting errors now, including surgical errors that take place in radiology, obstetrics and other departments — not just in operating rooms.

“I can guarantee we look harder for these kind of events,” said Dr. Craig Svendsen, chief medical quality officer for the HealthEast Care System, which includes St. Joseph’s, St. John’s and Woodwinds hospitals. HealthEast reported 10 adverse events last year.

Hospital officials say it can be frustrating, from one year to the next, to see a drop in one kind of adverse event and an increase in another. Surgeries on the wrong body part fell from 31 in 2010 to 24 in 2011, for example, while the tally of wrong procedure cases jumped from 16 to 26.

There were also 37 reported cases of objects left behind during various procedures. This year, however, none of them involved women in childbirth, thanks to new systems for counting sponges in obstetrics. “We’ve had some real success in labor and delivery, and I think that’s a great example of how we’ve been able to put in place a new community-wide standard,” Rydrych said. “Prior to this work, counting sponges and doing visual inspections of the area in labor and delivery were not the norm. Now they are.”

Fragments left behind

The new challenge, she said, involves fragments of surgical tools breaking off in patients. Sometimes, sponges are left in patients temporarily to aid in their recoveries, but nobody remembers to take them out.

None of the wrong-procedure cases resulted in severe disability or death. Many of the errors were discovered after surgery when patients reported discomfort, Rydrych said. Often the patients who received the wrong implants had surgery to fix the mistakes.

Most hospitals have adopted safeguards, such as “timeouts” before surgeries, to make sure surgeons perform the proper procedures and have the right equipment. The state report noted concerns, though, that some hospitals still don’t use timeouts or pauses while others don’t take them seriously enough.

“It’s not [supposed to be] just a superfluous kind of quick thing, but really something with content and purposefulness,” said Dr. Mark Werner, Fairview’s chief clinical integration officer.

The Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety, a coalition of hospital and health care leaders, also is examining how to prevent errors that occur when inaccurate information is passed between the surgeon and the hospital. Electronic record systems can be part of the problem if they require separate entries for ordering surgeries and scheduling them.

Werner said public reporting has increased patient safety and eliminated the easy-to-fx mistakes.

Fairview reported five wrong procedures at its University and Southdale hospitals last year. Werner said they included complex cases in which the pre-op imaging scans or reports turned out to be misleading. Eliminating errors in these situations will be tougher than preventing errors from inaccurate paperwork.

“We’re getting down,” he said, “to the hard nuts to crack.”

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744


International River Center v. Kogos

INTERNATIONAL RIVER CENTER d/b/a the New Orleans Hilton and Towers v. Cynthia KOGOS.
No. CA-7652.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit.
516 So.2d 1327 (1987)

John P. Manard, Jr., Russell D. Holwadel, Phelps, Dunbar, Marks, Claverie & Sims, New Orleans, for plaintiff-appellant.

Frank A. Milanese, Daniel B. Capobianco, New Orleans, for defendant-appellee.
 December 15, 1987.

Rehearing Denied January 14, 1988.


This is an appeal by the plaintiff, The International River Center d/b/a the New Orleans Hilton and Towers from a January 21, 1987 judgment of the district court granting defendant Cynthia Kogos’ exception of no right of action and dismissing plaintiff’s action against her.

On October 13, 1984 a wedding reception was held in Grand Ballrooms C & D of the Hilton. The Hilton invoice indicates that the reception was held I.H.O. (in honor of) Cynthia Kogos and Daniel Capobianco. Apparently credit was extended as no prepayment or deposit appears to have been required. The reception cost $13,013.881 which balance remained unpaid. Accordingly on June 26, 1985, the Hilton filed a suit on open account. Although the invoice contained the names of both Cynthia Kogos and Daniel Capobianco, Hilton initially filed suit only against Cynthia Kogos. In response thereto, Cynthia Kogos filed a “Peremptory Exception of No Right or Cause of Action” stating that the goods and services were contracted by her parents, Samuel Theodore and Olga D. Kogos, that no privity of contract exists between plaintiff and Cynthia Kogos and that Cynthia Kogos is not indebted to plaintiff. In short, plaintiff has the wrong defendant.

In response thereto, defendant Hilton on August 3, 1985 amended its petition to include Olga Kogos and Theodore Kogos. On December 6, 1985 judgment was rendered against Olga and Theodore Kogos in the full amount, which judgment was not appealed and is now final. Judgment debtor rules were had against Olga and Theodore Kogos whose salaries are presently being garnished.

The Hilton was unable to produce any written contract for goods and/or services bearing the signature of Cynthia Kogos.

The only document they were able to produce was an internal invoice typed by Hilton personnel containing the address of Mr. & Mrs. Kogos and no signatures. Cynthia Kogos further noted that it is common custom for the parents of the bride to pay for the wedding reception. (A custom tacitly acknowledged by the Hilton when it filed suit against the bride, but not against the groom).

Thus in the absence of express law, common custom or received usages are examined in an appeal to equity. See: C.C. Art. 21, C.C. Art. 3.

For the reasons discussed, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.



385 Dinners at $23.00 =             $ 8,855.00
                    16%                        1,416.80
                     9%                           924.46
      Piano                                        45.00
      5 Bartenders @45.00                225.00
                   Tax              $               20.25
      385 Corkage @$3.00              1,155.00
                   16%                            184.80
                   14%                            187.85


Melbourne man wrecks father’s Ferrari



Expensive mistake … a man who wrecked his father’s Ferrari makes a call after the smash.
Photo: Channel Nine

Matthew Burgess
May 5, 2008 – 1:48PM

It’s no fun calling dad after crashing his car – but it’s worse when you’ve just wrecked his rare Ferrari.

A Melbourne man had to make that call on Saturday night after destroying the front-end of his father’s ‘Italian Stallion’ in a very costly smash near Rod Laver Arena.

The front of the red sports car, which police said had been speeding, finished wrapped around a pole in the spectacular accident, which took place on Batman Avenue.

The Ferrari is a limited edition F360 Challenge Stradale.

The F360 Challenge Stradale was built to order, imported in 2004 and was worth more than $396,000 at the time.

It is understood just 16 were imported into Australia and New Zealand.

Television news crews filmed the apparently unhurt driver of the Ferrari ringing home, while the vehicle’s male passenger was taken to hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The Nine Network last night reported the luxury car had suffered “extensive front-end damage”.

Copyright © 2008. The Age Company Ltd.


Fees going up in area schools

Budget deficits prompt students to pay more for activities

 April 14, 2010|By Tara Malone, Tribune reporter

Thousands of Illinois students will pay more next year to log on to classroom computers, play in the band or suit up for sports as many cash-strapped schools raise their participation fees.

Faced with dwindling state revenues and property taxes, dozens of local districts have cut expenses and laid off teachers. Now many are asking students to pay more when they register for class or sign up for after-school programs that were free a generation ago — driving up the cost of a public education at a time when many families can least afford it.

School officials say they have nowhere else to turn.

“This is going to be a hardship for some people,” said spokesman Tom Hernandez of Plainfield School District 202. “But this is one of the few, the very few revenue sources that we have any control over.”

People tend to think of public education as being free. But for years Illinois children have paid extra to participate in sports, learn to drive or rent textbooks. They could pay even more next year in schools caught in a financial squeeze.

“We’re looking at a dire situation,” said Michael Jacoby, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Faced with a $44 million budget deficit, Elgin-based School District U-46 officials plan to more than double the cost of participating in a high school sport, to $150, increase the instructional fee from $100 to $125, charge an extra dollar for student IDs and require $19 per semester for photography, science lab and industrial arts classes, for instance. Several fees climbed at the grade school level too.

It was the first increase in five years.

Without the fee hikes, additional programs and courses might have been cut, said Greg Walker, assistant superintendent for secondary education. Elgin, the state’s second-largest district, laid off a quarter of its work force, including 732 teachers, last month.

“To operate (programs) at no cost to students, there would be a 100 percent burden on the district. You can’t operate at a loss and continue to move forward,” Walker said.

In Downers Grove Community High School District 99, families will pay more to watch high school games and school events when the cost of an activity pass rises from $60 to $75. Students will pay an extra $25 to park on campus, bringing the fee to $175. Sports will cost an additional $10 and yearbook another $5, according to district spokeswoman Faith Behr.

The increases are expected to net $245,700.

“It was seen really as a way not to make as many cuts into the programs,” Behr said.

Gurnee parent Ken Detina will pay $260 to register his twin boys in third grade next fall. He paid $150 when they enrolled in second grade.

Woodland School District 50 increased registration fees and bumped up the price of a hot lunch by 40 cents. The north suburban district also cut $2.8 million from next year’s budget.

“Obviously nobody wants to pay more. But you have to,” said Detina, who sat on the financial advisory group that studied the district’s budget and recommended the higher fees.

Glenbrook High School District 225 officials held the line on transportation costs this year and even offered a discount to families with multiple children to ensure that all students can travel to school, said Hillarie Siena, assistant superintendent for business affairs.

Instead, the district reinstated a towel charge and material fee — $25.50 in all — that they had waived last year in deference to the economy.

As a rule, public schools are not money-making ventures. They may charge rent if people want to use the gym or sell advertising rights to a sports field. But other than asking voters to approve a tax-rate increase, public schools can do little to generate revenue.

Districts draw the bulk of their money from local real estate taxes. State law limits how much they can increase the property tax rate every year to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Last year, the rate of inflation stalled out at 0.1 percent.

Adding to the strain on schools is the $1.2 billion backlog of state payments owed to school districts for transportation, special education, early childhood and other costs, according to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office.

School officials acknowledge that fees are a tiny piece of their budget. But they are reliable when state funding is not.

“It’s not an extremely large revenue source, but it’s a targeted revenue source,” Jacoby said.

State law requires that schools make fee waivers available. Students who qualify for a free lunch are exempt from paying most other school-based fees. Many districts offer a payment plan for families who earn too much to qualify for help and too little to easily afford the charges.

“Only time will tell if people drop out” of activities, said Plainfield’s Hernandez. “We heard people in the community say ‘I’d rather pay a little more.’ ”

Students in the west suburban district next year will pay double to play with the school band, sing in the choir and compete in a high school sport. Fee raises could net an additional $1.2 million for a district that cut nearly $21 million in expenses.

On a recent morning, Plainfield Central High School band director Dan Valkema coached his class through a composition that drew on every French horn, oboe, chime and euphonium in the room. Students even experimented with water-filled wine glasses and a harmonic whirly — a hollow tube that makes sound when spun quickly.

But Valkema said he plans to buy fewer new instruments, repair rather than replace aging ones and travel to fewer out-of-state performances next year. In the past, students and booster clubs helped subsidize such costs.

“We have to be careful not to price students out of our activity,” Valkema said.

Sophomore Kelli Bergeson will pay $180 to study with the symphonic band and concert choir next year, up from the current, combined fee of $90.

The 16-year-old soprano who dreams of singing professionally shrugged off the added expense.

“It’s kind of disappointing that I have to pay more,” Bergeson said. “But I’ll be paying more to do something I love.”




Mob-Kin Breakup



Last Updated: 5:00 AM, October 18, 2007
Posted: 5:00 AM, October 18, 2007

It used to be that when you got engaged to the granddaughter of a mob boss, you stayed engaged – and you’d have to be really stunad to demand the ring back if you broke up.

But oh, how times have changed.

KuehnenRingA Manhattan man is suing the granddaughter of slain Gambino crime-family boss Paul Castellano to get back the $30,000 diamond ring he gave her when he popped the question last year.

Dean Kuehnen Jr. says that his relationship with Andria Castellano, 24, went sour in September, and that the wedding is now off.

And in a move that would make any goomba’s head spin, he decided to take the matter before a judge.

On Tuesday, he filed a suit against Andria in Manhattan Supreme Court.

He is demanding that she either fork over the ring, which he gave her two days before Christmas 2006, or that she give him the appraised value of the ring, $38,800.

According to the appraisal, the ring is made up of a 3.23-carat, emerald-cut diamond at the center and a spectacular setting that includes smaller stones. It was purchased in November 2006 from David S. Diamonds on West 47th Street.

Kuehnen, 32, said in his complaint that on Sept. 9 of this year, he broke it off with Andria. He claimed he immediately demanded the ring back, but she refused.

He complained that for weeks he called and asked for the ring, and that Andria threatened to sell it, according to the suit.

And while the law of the streets clearly dictate that a mobster’s granddaughter can do whatever she wants in a case like this, Kuehnen’s attorney says that the laws of New York state otherwise.

“In New York, the marriage is the consideration, and if you don’t have the marriage, you have to give the ring back,” said attorney Lara Ott.

Andria could not be reached for comment at her home in Bay Ridge. She is the daughter of Castellano’s daughter Connie and her second husband Joseph Catalanotti, who is now deceased.

Paul Castellano was gunned down outside the Sparks Steak House in Midtown in 1985, paving the way for John Gotti to seize control of the Gambino family.

Kuehnen said last night, “I have no comment at this time. This is a private family matter. It’s a personal matter.”;jsessionid=A9E2BDE66887D65529E8075C199C71F8



Acme Products

Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


From time to time, everybody falls off a cliff into the valley below, gets beaned by a falling piano, or gets blown up. It’s not fun. It’s embarrassing. But it’s a fact of life. And sure enough, you might just get a lump on the noggin and a splitting headache to boot. That’s why ACME introduces these painless pain-killers. ACME ASPIRIN helps rid you of piano pain, boulder brain, anvil migraine, and TNT aches! It’s a dangerous world out there. Shouldn’t it at least be painless?


Need to get there in a hurry? Always late to meals? Once again, we have come up with the solution to your sustenance problems by crossing medieval advancements with good old American know-how. THE COYOT-A-PULT can toss you over three canyons in less than five seconds–Fast enough to catch any roadrunner! Its rope has been braided for maximum tension–Perfect for launching a feral animal to new heights! And while no catapult can guarantee that it won’t smash you face-down into the ground, THE COYOT-A-PULT has Nev-R-SmashTm built in to minimize that risk.


No need to resort to the fisticuffs ever again with THE BOULDER PUNCH! You pull the string! But it sure doesn’t pull any punches! Upper-cut! Sucker punch! The old 1-2! These and many more are all yours with this marvelous contraption! THE BOULDER PUNCH is another first from ACME’s labs to you. As always, the bolts are heat-sealed for maximum integrity and many years of pugilism. And the boulder? Well, let’s just say it’s survived dinosaurs, two ice ages, and ACME’s tougher-than-time Product Quality Assurance folks.


We’ve all been there before: You’re on a cliff. Your enemy is standing in the valley below, but you’ve got nothing to drop on him! Sure you could use a safe or a piano, if there’s even one available. But wouldn’t it be nicer to maintain the natural beauty of the landscape by using a boulder? That’s why we’ve introduced DEHYDRATED BOULDERS for all of your gravity needs. These pocket-sized pebbles take on monumental proportions when immersed in water. And like all of our fine boulder products, these are aged for 30 million years for maximum hardness!


The ACME 100 Earthquake Pills are a great addition to any party. Just swallow a pill and feel the earth move! Want to dance but don’t know how?? ACME’s got the answer to this problem! The more pills you take….the bigger the earthquake you experience (it is however not recommended to swallow all the pills in one big gulp). Please read all the enclosed information closely before use. The ACME laboratories guarantee that these pills are absolutely harmless, and the effect is just temporarily.


If you’ve got to catch a roadrunner, friction is the last thing you want on the interstate. ACME brand AXLE GREASE will make even the fastest flightless birds slip and slide all over the road. But they won’t slip away from you! Just apply this high quality grease to a fifty foot strip on the highway and dinner is in the frying pan. You don’t even need cooking oil. Because nobody can guarantee that the occasional roadrunner won’t burn a strip through even the best grease, splashing it all over you, we’ve included our AXLE DEGREASER to clean your fur in just such an instance.


Want to put your enemy into orbit? Or are you just looking for a way to hold a particularly large pile of papers? Either way, ACME’sGIANT RUBBER BAND is what you need. Made from ACME brand vulcanized Rub-RTm this rubber band will never break or get brittle. ACME’s GIANT RUBBER BAND will give you wonderful years of making flightless birds fly!


Has roller disco lost its edge for you? Or are you just looking for an in

novative hunting tool? Whether you’re chasing or being chased, our ROCKET-POWERED ROLLER SKATES will get you where you’re going fast. PolyLeather bindings keep you standing up when the world’s going by at top speed! The wheels are made of highly-polished platinum for minimal friction. Okay, rocket-powered skates of the past were prone to lead the wearer over cliffs, causing for some mishaps. So, we’ve designed ours with Clif-A-VoidTm to keep this type of thing to a minimum.


Boing into action with ACME’s coiled secret weapon! Break new land-speed records without breaking a sweat! The SPRING-ON-A-BOULDER has been clocked faster than the fastest of roadrunners and Latin American mice. How did we make such a great product you ask? It wasn’t easy. It took about thirty million years and a couple of ice ages. But out patience paid off! We ended up with a boulder that’s tough enough to withstand the recoil and take much more over the years. And, the SPRING-ON-A-BOULDER features ACME’s patented The SPRINGTm to get you to your dinner fast!

Evolution didn’t design you for swooping downward? Or are you just itching for a new identity? Either way, ACME’s SWOOP COSTUME will have you soaring through the canyons and gullies in no time! Made from the highest quality polyester, it comes in lime green or fluorescent yellow. The wing are made of light-weight nylon and have a span of 50 feet across. And the mask guarantees your anonymity, whether you’re hunting or just taking in a little night life.


Evolution should not de the determining factor in what you eat for dinner. You may not be as fast as your pray, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to eat him! That’s why ACME introduces its HI-SPEED TONIC. Knock back a few gulps of this potion, and you’ll be speedier than the speediest of mice and faster than the fastest of roadrunners!

The ACME XL-0-2-200 a compact rocket car which will outrun any living creature, including the roadrunner. It accelerates from 0 to 200 in just under two seconds. The XL-0-2-200 is a (for safety purposes) track based vehicle and comes with 10 miles of straight track. Curved track can be bought separately at usual low rates. The XL-0-2-200 has an easy one fuse ignition (100 fuses included). For convenient braking it has a brake parachute which works through operation of a simple ripcord. The track is made up of 30 foot long pieces made of high-density steel. The crossbars are made of Canadian pine and come with their own lifetime guarantee*.  The XL-0-2-200 is made of the finest polyester and polyethylene. The outside of the vehicle is coated with Nev-R-Burntm epoxy resin to protect it against friction heat.

Order separately:
Left curve per piece: $100
Right curve per piece only $50



Acme Plaintiff

Opening statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, Counsel for the Plaintiff, Mr. Coyote

My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, “Defendant”), through that company’s mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. Sales slips made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the possession of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Workmen’s Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th he received of Defendant via parcel post, one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote was to use the Rocket sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon receipt of the Rocket Sled, Mr. Coyote removed it from its wooden shipping crate and sighting his prey in the distance, activated the ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars, the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force, as to stretch Mr. Coyote’s forelimbs to a length of approximately fifty feet.

Subsequently, the rest of Mr. Coyote’s body shot forward with a violent jolt, causing severe strain to his back and neck and placing him unexpectedly astride the Rocket Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due to a poorly designed steering system on the Rocket Sled and a faulty or nonexistent braking system. Shortly thereafter, the unchecked progress of the Rocket Sled brought it and Mr. Coyote into collision with the side of a mesa.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by Dr. Ernest Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple fractures, contusions, and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as a result of this collision. Repair of the injuries required a full bandage around the head (excluding the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on all four legs.

Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to support himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an aid to mobility one pair of Acme Rocket Skates. When he attempted to use this product, however, he became involved in an accident remarkably similar to that which occurred with the Rocket Sled. Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without caveat, a product which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two) to inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger safety. Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document, he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of Defendant: the Acme “Little Giant” Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a full listing, see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached deposition, entered in evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and spiraling downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down to the point of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb (Catalogue #78-832), climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote’s prey, seeing the birdseed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to detonate.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote’s careful preparations to naught, the premature detonation of Defendant’s product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:

1.Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.
2.Sooty discoloration.
3.Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.
4.Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and ashy disintegration.
5.Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff’s Exhibit D. Selected fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date, no explanation has been found for this product’s sudden and extreme malfunction. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high tensile strength and compressed in a tightly coiled position by a cocking device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase, when swift reflexes are at a premium. To increase the shoes’ thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote’s prey was known to frequent. Mr. Coyote put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness, his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time Mr. Coyote’s prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him. Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote well within range of the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and proceeded to pull the lanyard release.

At this point, Defendant’s product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote As the intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in air. Then the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first collision with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters falling upon his lower extremities. The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, whereupon Mr. Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote or both came into contact with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for some time.

The sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr. Coyote viz. flattening of the cranium, sideways displacement of the tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper torso causing Mr. Coyote to expand upward and contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit an off-key, accordion-like wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing nature of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote’s pursuit of a normal social life.

As the court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of manufacture and sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote’s work. It is our contention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the detriment of the consumer of such specialized products as itching powder, giant kites, Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much as he has come to mistrust Defendant’s products, Mr. Coyote has no other domestic source of supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our trading partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a situation, where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in the most reckless and wrongful manner over and over again.

Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of seventeen million dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual damages (missed meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one million dollars; general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million dollars; and attorney’s fees of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. By awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court will censure Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right of the individual predator to equal protection under the law.

The Case of Wile E. Coyote vs. Acme Products, Corp.

Opening statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, Counsel for Mr. Coyote, Plaintiff

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for Acme Products Corp., Defendant

Acme Rocket Sled

Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


Acme Defense

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for the Acme, the Defendant

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury: the opening statement you have just heard from Mr. Schoff on behalf of the plaintiff, Wile E. Coyote, paints an incomplete picture of what occurred on the occasions when Mr. Coyote claims he was injured by ACME products.   The evidence will clearly show that my client, ACME Products Corp., a Division of Dangerously Innovative Products and Patents Incorporated (or “DIPPI”) is not at fault in this matter, and that any injuries sustained by the plaintiff were clearly caused by his own negligence, assumption of the risk and/or misuse of the products.

Now, we have all seen the footage on television of the plaintiff withstanding various injuries which appear to be caused by ACME’s products. You have seen over and over the tape of a hapless coyote being bludgeoned by a boulder as he is helplessly trapped by his ACME Spring Loaded Shoes. We have all seen the photographs taken at Warner Memorial Hospital of Mr. Coyote in a very small incubator, on life support, as his doctors attempt to straighten out the accordion-like folds from his body. We have all seen the gruesome images of the operation in which Dr. Tazmanian D. Devil whirls like a dervish, obscuring his features and creating a starry, “dust cloud” effect, while numerous limbs holding various surgical instruments swiftly repair the nerve damage to Mr. Coyote’s extremities.

It is normal for any human being to feel pity, horror, and even anger at such images. I want you to put those images aside for the moment, because they paint an incomplete picture. What the media has not disclosed to you, and what you will see in this courtroom, are various attempts at murder committed by the plaintiff – attempts which, fortunately, failed – while using my client’s products. As the plaintiff readily admits, he is a predator, and his sole function in life is to track down and kill an innocent, highway traversing ornithoid.

You see, ladies and gentleman, while the plaintiff is a natural predator, he is not a very good one. His own skills were inadequate to complete the task at hand, so he chose to seek the aid of various devices to effectuate his diabolical schemes. He looked in a catalogue, saw my client’s products, and ordered them in the hope that they would assist him in killing his prey.

But, ladies and gentleman, ACME’s products are not meant to cause intentional harm to anyone. The plaintiff has taken what were designed as amusements, toys for the young and feebleminded, and has twisted their use to his own purposes.

But, I digress. Let us examine the plaintiff’s claims and how the evidence clearly refutes the proposition that ACME is responsible for any harm sustained by the plaintiff.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13 he received an ACME Rocket Sled, that he attempted to use said rocket sled to pursue his prey, and that, upon igniting the sled, it accelerated with “sudden and precipitate force as to stretch Mr. Coyote’s forelimbs to a length of fifty feet.”

There are several reasons why ACME cannot be held responsible for any injuries caused by this incident. First, the warning label attached conspicuously to the inside of the left front tire of the sled clearly stated, and I quote: “WARNING: IGNITION OF THIS DEVICE AT FULL THROTTLE MAY CAUSE SUDDEN AND PRECIPITATE FORCE AS TO STRETCH USER’S FORELIMBS TO A LENGTH OF UP TO SIXTY FEET, OR MAY CAUSE DEATH.” That the plaintiff suffered so little as a result of his carelessness can be attributed only to Providence.

Second, Arizona law is clear on this point: a plaintiff who is found to be violating any law whose purpose is safety at the time of his injury is contributorily negligent per se. There is ample evidence that Mr. Coyote was violating both the laws of gravity and inertia at the time of  this incident, and thus he is responsible for his own woes.

I could list many more examples of Mr. Coyote’s negligent conduct in connection with his use of ACME’s products, but you will hear all about them as the trial goes on. You will also hear the following evidence:

1.You will hear the plaintiff himself testify that, prior to the injuries complained of in this accident, he has suffered numerous injuries.  As an example, on one occasion prior to the use of any ACME product, the plaintiff cornered his prey on the edge of a rather thin precipice. Taking an ordinary saw, the plaintiff began cutting away so that the edge of the cliff, with his prey on it, would drop some 1500 feet to a jagged, rocky destruction. Instead, by some inexplicable twist of fate the edge of the cliff remained standing while the whole mountain, on which the plaintiff was standing, plummeted to the bottom of the ravine, causing numerous injuries which affect the plaintiff to this day.

On another occasion, Mr. Coyote was chasing his prey and followed it off of the edge of a cliff onto thin air, not realizing until too late that his prey, a bird, could remain in the air almost indefinitely while he, a canine, could not. As a result, he fell yet again, suffering even further severe and debilitating injuries which predate the injuries complained of in this action.

2.You will also hear the testimony of Mr. Road Runner, the plaintiff’s prey and the true victim in this tragedy. Mr. Runner has been forced to live a nomadic lifestyle as a result of Mr. Coyote’s unwanted attention, preventing him from forming any type of long term relationships. Numerous restraining orders had no effect. Mr. Runner has also suffered numerous psychological problems as a result of Mr. Coyote’s actions, including but not limited to an inability to trust anyone who provides him with bird seed, a necessary ingredient in his daily nutritional schedule.

3.You will also hear from a witness to many of the incidents alleged in plaintiff’s complaint, a colorful local prospector with red hair and mustache who has been known to proclaim: “No rootin’ tootin’ coyote can outsmart Yosemite Sam on any day of the week!”  Don’t be fooled by his gruff manner and twin pearl-handled six-shooters, he’s a pussycat.

4.Customer service records of defendant ACME, which we were forced to produce in this matter, clearly show that none of the complaints registered by ACME’s customers nation-wide have ever resulted in criminal convictions of the officers of the corporation.

5.Finally, videotape evidence will demonstrate that plaintiff faked many of his injuries, setting out to create performances especially for a jury such as yourself. On numerous occasions he would “mug” for the camera, as if he was well aware beforehand that he was being taped.

For instance, during the “Rocket Sled” incident, as his forelimbs were stretched out ahead of him and his body remained behind, he looked straight into the camera with a forlorn, tired expression, as if to say: “look at how terrible my situation is, can you guess what’sgoing to happen to me now.” This jury is too smart to fall for such petty theatrics.

In summary, ladies and gentlemen, it will be clear to you from the evidence that ACME’s products, if used properly, will cause only minimal injuries to a user and his loved ones. The plaintiff in this case has brought his troubles upon himself by adopting his carnivorous lifestyle. As others have so adequately uttered: “Live by the Super Slick Jet Propulsion Automated Explosive Metal-Shearing Heat-Seeking Laser-Guided Razor-Edged Boomerang, die by the Super Slick, etc.”

I ask you, on behalf of my client, to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against it.

The Case of Wile E. Coyote vs. Acme Products, Corp.

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for Acme Products, Corp., Defendant


Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


Wile E Coyote v Acme

Wile E. Coyote 


Acme Products, Corp.

In The United States District Court,

Southwestern District, Tempe, Arizona

Case No. B19293Judge Nicholas “Speedy” Gonzales, Presiding




Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


The following transcripts are provided as a service to the community. These are direct transcriptions of the court reporter’s record of this case, which are placed in public record in the district courthouse in Tempe, Arizona.




Acme Rocket Sled

The Sled Of Champions




Jack and Jill Doe

The Old Fairy Tale


“Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill came tumbling after”


The Legally Correct Version

Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe”


Imperial Bucket Corporation

The Plaintiffs, Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe,” both minors, do hereby allege that (1) they suffered grievous and permanent injuries when a steel bucket manufactured by the Defendant, Imperial Bucket Corporation, proved to be of unsafe design and manufacture, and without proper safety guards, so as to allow it to be operated in an unsafe manner by these minors; and (2) the Defendant is guilty of such gross product liability as to be responsible for these injuries and therefore should compensate Jack and Jill for a sum greater than five million dollars ($500).

Plaintiffs were both completely untrained in the proper operation of the Defendant’s bucket, hereinafter referred to as “the pail,” when they attempted to convey such pail up a steep incline, hereinafter referred to as “the hill.”

The pail manufactured by the Defendant was made of steel and weighed 1.6 pounds when empty.  it was designed to be carried by a rounded metal handle, or “bail.”   Depending on the material used to fill the pail, the weight of such pail could vary between 1.9 pounds (cotton) and 61 pounds (pig iron).  Unless one received proper instruction in the use of this pail, it could easily be overloaded, causing it to become unstable.

The pail included no directions for safe use, no warnings of any kind about the potential danger of the pail, and no safety devices to protect individuals from suffering injuries when using this pail.  The pail could be operated by minors who could not possibly be aware of the inherent dangers in the defective design of this pail and would therefore be subject to injury.

Jack and Jill will testify that they were able to move forward in a skipping (def.: to proceed with leaps and bounds) manner up the hill, holding on to the pail, which swung precariously between them.  Upon reaching the top of the hill, they proceeded to fill the pail with a clear liquid, hereinafter referred to as “water.”  The weight of the water will be affixed through laboratory testing.  What they could not possibly have known is that the defective design of the pail permitted it to be filled with water to an unsafe level.

As Plaintiffs began carrying the now hazardous steel pail down the side of said hill, the water began shifting in the pail, causing the weight to be unevenly distributed.   While this motion, known scientifically as “sloshing,” did cause a partial reduction in the contents of the pail, this had the effect of causing addition unbalancing of the pail.  Jack and Jill, neither being experienced in the trade of carrying a pail of water down a steep incline, suffered extreme difficulty in maintaining control over the pail.  In their effort to retain control of the pail, both Jack and Jill, individually and simultaneously, did lose their balance owing entirely to the instability of the pail.

According to police reports , Jack apparently lost control of the pail and fell down the hill.  Jill, a young female weighing approximately forty-eight pounds, could not possibly have been expected to retain control of the pail without assistance and immediately came tumbling after.

By reason of the foregoing and by reason of the Defendant’s negligence, Plaintiff’s were severely bruised, injured, and wounded; suffered, and still suffer, and will continue to suffer for some time to come, physical and mental pain and great bodily injuries.   Specifically, Jack broke his crown in three different places in addition to fracturing his ribs and right arm.  Jill sustained bruises and contusions to her legs, ankles and wrist.  Some of these injuries may well be of a permanent nature so as to affect the lives of these minors forever and one day.

The Imperial Bucket Corporation, being aware for an indeterminate time that the bucket they callously manufactured and offered to market had serious design flaws and under certain conditions could cause severe injury, nevertheless did continue to manufacture and market such a bucket to the public.  They failed to take the necessary steps to inform the public of the potential for injury inherent in the use of their product.   That they did so, and continue to do so, indicates a disregard for the public welfare, for which punitive damages might be deemed appropriate.

Until such design problems as noted are corrected, the Imperial Bucket Corporation should be enjoined from offering their product for sale to the public.  They should also be required to recall all such defective products in existence and make such appropriate restitution and repairs.  All persons past and present in possession of this dangerous product should receive notice that under certain conditions, even with proper precautions, use of this product might result in permanent, disabling injury.   Minors should be prevented from purchasing or possessing this product without proper parental supervision.

Due to the use of this defective product, Jack “Doe” and Jill “Doe,” minors, have suffered irreparable injury and must be compensated in line with the substantial pain and suffering they have endured.

 @ David Fisher, Legally Correct Fairy Tales, Bedtime Classics Translated into the Legalese, Warner Books, 1996