Shear Outrage

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Kids bring lots of things home from school, like graded papers, uneaten lunches or even the class pet. But an Oregon mom was livid when her son came home one day without something–most of his hair.

Sally Miller of West Linn was surprised when her 8-year-old son Kelton arrived home in October with “next to nothing” on his head. The boy, a special education student at Cedaroak Park Primary School, had been singled out by a teacher and a teacher’s aide who took it upon themselves to cut his hair.

Miller complained to the school district but was dissatisfied with its response. She hired an attorney, Roger Harris of Lake Oswego, who sent the district a demand letter citing grounds of federal civil rights violations, section 1983 personal privacy rights violations and special education claims under state and federal laws.

The district “immediately started making excuses,” says Harris, and was “less than forthcoming.”

The district’s lawyer, Peter Mersereau, says the employees in question decided “the hair was interfering with [his] ability to learn,” and that a previous discussion with the boy’s mother gave them implicit permission to cut his hair.

Harris disagrees. “This was not some mistake or misunderstanding. … There were no health issues and no education issues. The child was not being impaired by his hair.” Mersereau concedes “the teachers exercised poor judgment,” but says the school district acted appropriately.

Miller received a $10,000 settlement from the district in March. Details of disciplinary measures taken against the two employees were kept confidential.

You Sure that’s Drywall?

Couple Sues Homebuilder, Claiming Workers Treated Their New House Like an Outhouse

Part of the American dream is to own one’s own home. And watching that home being built is a thrill that is tough to equal. An Ohio couple, though, claimed to be less than thrilled with their unfinished house. Though they had a contract and had dotted every “i” and crossed every “t,” they said they wanted out because of pee.

In a lawsuit filed in Clermont County Common Pleas Court, Bradley and Margaret Parker allege that workers for Ryan Homes urinated in several areas of the house being built for them, making it unfit for habitation. The Parkers’ attorney, Douglas May of Cincinnati, says the damage was extensive.

“Urine was in a linen closet on the second floor. It dripped [onto] a doorway threshold over the kitchen,” he says. “[There was] saturation of the dining room to the extent it was on both sides of the wall in the dining room and the kitchen. We believe it would have affected the basement ceiling.”

James M. Sack, who represents Ryan Homes, says the alleged damage to the home never occurred. “We dispute the ‘facts’ entirely,” Sack says. “We believe the plaintiffs are seeking an excuse to get out of the contract. [The allegations are] intended to be a bargaining chip.”

May finds it “interesting” that Ryan Homes disputes the facts of the case. “They have acknowledged there was damage. They did make repairs and indicated the incident was ‘inexcusable.’ ”

The Parkers seek the return of their $5,000 deposit, as well as treble damages, attorney fees and rescission of the contract.

Based on stories by The Oregonian, Cincinnati Enquirer.

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