Obiter Dicta

Mall Menace

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Walking through Tiffany & Co. can certainly put stars in one’s eyes and so can falling down after a rogue squirrel attaches itself to one’s leg.

Marcy Meckler of Highland Park, Ill., claims she had both experiences on the same day in December 2004.

Meckler, 49, had just left Tiffany at Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie and was walking past a grassy courtyard area. Suddenly, according to a lawsuit filed in August in Cook County Circuit Court as reported on a squirrel jumped up and attached itself to her leg.

“As a result,” the complaint states, “while frantically attempting to escape from the squirrel and detach it from her leg, [Meckler] fell and suffered severe injuries.” The suit, which does not give details of the alleged injuries, contends that Meckler “will in the future endure pain and suffering in body and mind.”

Meckler’s suit alleges that employees of the mall knew of the presence of the squirrel and negligently failed to remove it. Meckler claims also that mall employees encouraged the squirrel to remain in the courtyard area by feeding it, despite her assertion that it was known to have attacked other shoppers.

The lawsuit reportedly seeks damages in excess of $50,000, along with an award of costs. Both Meckler’s attorney and a spokesperson for Westfield Group which owns and operates the shopping center declined to comment.

Rub and Marriage Massage Therapist Could Lose Her License for Not Waiting Years to Sleep With Hubby

LaRae Lundeen first got her hands on Kirk Fjellman in October 2000 and didn’t let go until May 2002.

That was when Fjellman, who had been experiencing numbness in his arms, no longer had a need for the services of Lindstrom, Minn., massage therapist Lundeen. But though their professional relationship had ended, they decided to take things to the next level and began dating, which eventually led them down the aisle in 2003.

Their wedded life together included, of course, connubial bliss, and that was enough for the state to step in and declare Lundeen in violation of section 146A.08-1(d) of Minnesota Statutes. The measure prohibits sexual relations with a former health care client for two years after services have ended.

So how did the state get the Fjellmans’ bedroom on its radar? Susan Gallagher, who represents Lundeen, suspects it was Fjellman’s ex-wife who dropped the dime on them. She also maintains that the “statute is unconstitutional as it applies to this woman. It is overreaching and overbroad.”

Gallagher adds that the measure “goes beyond the ken of what government should be doing.” Thomas Hiendlmayr, director of the Minnesota Health Occupations Program, was quoted in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune as saying the statute is “part of an umbrella law to protect consumers” from unlicensed practitioners, and said there does not have to be a “victim.”

Hiendlmayr went on to say in the interview that the statute does not specifically target massage therapists, and includes such professionals as herbalists and folk remedy practitioners.

He says Lundeen faces possible penalties ranging from a letter of admonition to a fine to revocation of her right to practice.


Stories by, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul); research by Wendell LaGrand

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