National Roundup

 Pennsylvania

Judge upholds O­c­cupy Philly s­uit against the police 
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge says Occupy Philadelphia protesters can proceed with their lawsuit accusing police of unlawful arrest, retaliation and other civil rights violations.
More than two dozen protesters filed suit after they were acquitted of criminal charges stemming from their November 2011 clash with police.
The clash came as city officials sought to move the protesters after seven weeks outside City Hall.
The demonstrators say Philadelphia police nonetheless arrested them after they complied and marched through downtown.
In a ruling Thursday, U.S. District Judge Berle Schiller dismisses their excessive force and illegal search claims for lack of evidence.
But Schiller has upheld their retaliation, unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution and other claims.
A lawyer for the city did not immediately return a call for comment.
 
Wisconsin
UW-Whitewater p­rof sues st­u­dent over his postings 
WHITEWATER, Wis. (AP) — A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor is suing a former graduate student who posted online comments and videos that the teacher considers defamatory.
Anthony Llewellyn took a class last year from communications professor Sally Vogl-Bauer, but the experience didn’t go well, the Janesville Gazette reported Thursday.
Llewellyn posted comments on professor-rating sites accusing the teacher of criticizing his academic abilities, grading him unfairly and causing him to fail out of school. He said he spoke with her in April about his concerns, two months before he was told he had failed her class.
Vogl-Bauer contends the comments amount to defamation, while Llewellyn says his goal was simply to inform the public about how the professor treated him.
Tim Edwards, the attorney representing Vogl-Bauer, said the comments could be especially damaging to someone in a small professional community. He said he and Vogl-Bauer agree that students should be allowed to express their opinions, “but when you go so far beyond that, into a concerted effort to attack somebody’s reputation because things didn’t go your way, that’s much different.”
Edwards and Vogl-Bauer asked Llewellyn to take down his online comments and videos. They filed the lawsuit after he refused.
Llewellyn said it’s important for the videos and comments to stay online so the public can remain informed.
“I don’t feel I’ve (gone) too far with my videos and comments because everything posted basically communicates exactly how Sally Vogl-Bauer treated me,” Llewellyn said.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and attorney and trial fees. The case is scheduled to go a jury trial in September.
It’s not clear how successful the lawsuit will be, but a similar case in Minnesota ended with a ruling in favor of the person who posted the online rating.
In that case, a doctor took offense when a patient’s son went on a rate-your-doctor website and called him “a real tool,” slang for stupid or foolish. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in January 2013 that the comment wasn’t defamatory because it was an opinion protected by free-speech rights.
 
Tennessee
Lawsuit alleges students raped boy at school 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Middle Tennessee mother has filed a federal lawsuit alleging her 5-year-old son was raped by older students in the bathroom of an elementary school.
The lawsuit says the rapes occurred last month while the boy attended an after-school program in the Robertson County school district.
According to the suit, a Cheatham Park Elementary School teacher found the child engaging in sex acts with an older male student and told the mother when she arrived to pick up her son. The suit says the boy told his mother that the older student had raped him previously by enticing him with money and toys. He also said a second older student had raped him.
The suit, which was filed last week in Nashville, asks for unspecified monetary damages.
The school system declined to comment to The Tennessean on the pending litigation.
Springfield Police Chief David Thompson said the allegations were investigated by his department, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and prosecutors, but no charges were filed.
“All of the suspects and victims were juveniles, and I think a major part of the reason that no one decided to prosecute was because they are so young,” he said.
Attorney Melissa Blackburn, who is representing the mother, said the boy is no longer attending an after-school program and has begun counseling.
“We have represented children who have experienced sexual traumas for many years,” she said. “They all have anger issues. They all have behavioral issues. They don’t want to go to school. They act out. They all seem to exhibit the same behaviors, and this child is exhibiting all these behaviors.”
 
Iowa
Family files claim against the state over man’s death 
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The family of an Iowa man who died at a mental health institution has filed a claim against the state.
Cleojean Olson, sister of Richard Meredith, says she recently filed the claim for $1.8 million through the State Appeal Board. If it is rejected, the family can file a lawsuit.
The Des Moines Register reports Meredith was 81 when he was a patient at Clarinda Mental Health Institute in southwest Iowa last August. State records show staff gave him a peanut butter sandwich despite orders that specified he be given pureed food.
Meredith was later found slumped over and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Meredith’s family says state officials failed to disclose the circumstances of his death until the case gained media attention.

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