Court Roundup

California: IHOP drops trademark lawsuit against KC church
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The International House of Pancakes has dropped a lawsuit that accused a Kansas City church of trademark infringement and says it will settle the flapjack flap out of court.

The Glendale-based chain dismissed its lawsuit against the International House of Prayer last week in Los Angeles federal court. In documents, IHOP lawyers say they’re in negotiations to settle the case out of court.

IHOP sued in September over church use of the initials on its website and in signs and events at its Missouri headquarters. IHOP argued that might confuse consumers and could link the pancake chain with the church.

Calls for comment to both IHOPs by The Associated Press weren’t immediately returned Thursday.

IHOP spokesman Patrick Lenow declined to discuss the case with the Los Angeles Times.

Tennessee: Barge company tries to limit liability in crash
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A towboat company is trying to limit its liability in case of lawsuit following a river collision that killed two fishermen at Chattanooga.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports Chattanooga-based Serodino, Inc., filed papers in U.S. District Court on Dec. 17 in which the company blames the victims for the collision and seeks exoneration from liability.

The incident on June 19 killed 52-year-old Richard Wilkey of Soddy-Daisy and 45-year-old Tim Spidle of Elizabethton. They and David Wilkey were in a fishing boat that collided with a barge tow. David Wilkey survived.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is looking into the collision and investigator Matt Majors told the newspaper it will probably take several more weeks to complete the investigation.

No charges have been filed.

Minnesota: State sues 3M over Scotchgard chemical disposal
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The state of Minnesota is suing 3M Co. over its disposal of chemicals previously used to make Scotchgard and other products.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Hennepin County alleges 3M damaged the state’s natural resources, as well as ground and surface water, by disposing of perfluorochemicals, or PFCs.

Maplewood, Minn.-based 3M has produced PFCs since the 1940s, and legally disposed of them in landfills until the 1970s. 3M stopped making PFCs in 2002.

In 2004, traces of the chemicals were found in groundwater from Lake Elmo to Hastings. The state’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Phone messages left with 3M were not immediately returned.

In May, the state and 3M entered a written agreement to withhold a lawsuit while trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. That agreement expired Friday without settlement.

Oklahoma: Leader responds to charges against church member
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A leader of a Tulsa church said he doesn’t preach against seeking medical care but believes the Bible teaches that faith is all that is needed.

Earl Weir, a leader of the Church of the First Born, responded Wednesday after Tulsa County prosecutors charged a 42-year-old woman earlier this week with child neglect for failing to seek medical attention for her sick 9-year-old son, who later died.

Court documents indicate the woman told police she was a member of the church and that she chose to pray over her son when he fell ill on June 2, 2009, instead of taking him to see a doctor. The boy died three days later.

“We just preach faith,” Weir told the Tulsa World, saying the Bible “says to give your all. The whole church believes that way.”

Weir is one of seven visitors listed in court records as being willing to testify they witnessed the death of Aaron Gregory Grady. In an affidavit, Broken Arrow Police Detective Mikka Mooney said the boy’s mother told Mooney “believes in faith-based healing through prayer.”

Mooney’s affidavit said the state Medical Examiner’s office determined the boy’s cause of death was complications from diabetes mellitus.

According to the affidavit, witnesses told police that in the days before his death, Aaron Grady had difficulty breathing and had been vomiting, but that stopped and his mother believed her son was getting better. According to the affidavit, Weir visited the boy on June 4.

When the boy’s condition deteriorated on June 5 and he stopped talking and responding, his mother and others kept praying, the affidavit said. Susan Grady’s brother, Kevin Branham, told police that the boy’s father asked her to take Aaron to a doctor, but she “chose to continue to pray and ‘leave this in the hands of the Lord.’”

Under Oklahoma law, parents may rely on prayer in an attempt to heal their children until the child’s life is in danger or the child faces “permanent physical damage.” The law makes it a misdemeanor if parents do not obtain care and a felony if the child dies.

Ohio: State high court rules in deer decoy crash suit
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court says a trial court was wrong when it applied a doctrine known as inferred intent in a case over a crash caused by a deer decoy put in a roadway.

Two teenagers hurt in the 2005 crash sued for damages. Insurers for teens accused of the decoy prank argued they didn’t have to pay damages or defend the pranksters because the insurance policies had exemptions for intentional harm.

The lower court agreed. It did not determine the boys intended to cause harm but said there was inferred intent, meaning the prank was very likely to cause harm.

But the high court’s lead opinion Thursday said inferred intent applies only when a person’s act and the harm caused are “intrinsically tied.” The justices said that wasn’t true with the decoy, which other drivers avoided.

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