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Obiter Dicta

Paid in Full?


How does that old saying go—“In for a penny, in for a pound”? Well, in this case, a Texas man said it with 100,000 pennies that would tip the scales at about 550 pounds. Michael Powell of Possum King­dom was ordered by a judge in 2003 to pay attorney Kenneth Tarlton $1,000 for work done in connection with a trust agreement drawn up after Pow­ell’s divorce.

Tarlton, who represented the trust, filed a motion for enforcement to collect the money. The judge gave Pow­ell until Nov. 1, 2003, to comply.

On Oct. 30, Powell paid up in the form of loose pennies he had two acquaintances deliver in bank bags. After incurring a $100 redemption fee, Tarlton filed another motion for enforcement, asking that Powell be held in contempt and required to pay the redemption fee plus attorney fees and court costs.

At a hearing on the motion, Powell was ordered to pay Tarlton another $533. Powell took the case to Texas’ 11th Court of Appeals, which upheld the trial court’s ruling in June. So, why did Powell choose to pay in pennies? His lawyer, Gary D. Peak of Eastland, says simply, “They had a run­ning dislike for each other.”

But this thing may not be over. Peak says his client might appeal the latest ruling. And Tarlton is not about to give it up, either.

“Everyone ought to obey a court order,” Tarlton says, putting in his two cents. “If I have anything to say about it, he is not going to get the last word.”

Grand Illusion

DJ Departs After Station’s Sweet Stunt Goes Sour, Making Listener Livid

Radio stations give away prizes every day, from concert tickets to brand-new houses. So, it wasn’t hard to believe that a Kentucky station would award a lucky listener 100 grand. That means $100,000, right?

“DJ Slick,” an on-air personality at WLTO-FM out of Lexington, promised May 25, on his Web log, to reward “loyal listeners with a chance to win 100 grand” by being the 10th caller at a certain time.

Lexington resident Norreasha Gill was the lucky caller, and Slick put her on the air to ask her whether she intended to go on a shopping spree. Gill, a mother of three with another on the way, said she intended to put a down payment on a house, buy a minivan and treat her kids.

The next day, Gill was told that the whole thing was a joke, and that the prize was actually a Nestlé 100 Grand candy bar. She didn’t find it funny.

Gill is suing Cumulus Media Inc., which owns the station, for $100,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.

“No radio station anywhere should be pulling this kind of stunt on anybody,” says Gill’s attorney, Lee Van Horn. “This has got to stop.”

The station was barraged with criticism over the stunt, and officials responded by firing Slick and issuing an apology on the WLTO Web site.

Gill still smarts from the whole episode.

“It upsets me that somebody would play such a cruel joke on me,” she says. “But what hurts me the most is that I made a promise to my kids that I had to break.”

Sidebar

Stories by Law.com, Lexington Herald-Leader; research by Wendell LaGrand

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