Lawsuit of the Day: It's The Kind of Thing We'd Expect from Jonathan Swift

It’s almost Thanksgiving. It is a wonderful time to reflect on all of your blessings — and maybe spare a coin for those less fortunate.

Or, if you are a lawyer — you could sue those less fortunate; especially if the unwashed masses are hurting your business. Tex Parte Blog has this lovely holiday tale:

A lawyer who owns an office building located near The Beacon, a day center for homeless people in downtown Houston, filed a suit Monday seeking a permanent injunction to shut down the operation on the ground it’s a “private nuisance.” Lawyer Harry C. Arthur seeks a minimum of $250,000 in damages from defendants Christ Church Cathedral and The Beacon to compensate him for the loss of rentals in his building and the loss of its market value.

When I first read this story this morning, I thought somebody was pulling my leg. But I suppose this is what JaKe Emeritus is doing while on winter break in addition to posting comments on ATL.

After the jump, Harry “Scrooge” Arthur makes a modest complaint that would cause Jonathan Swift to blush.

Arthur isn’t suing the beggars and lepers directly. Instead, he’s going after those with the audacity to feed these vagrants:

Arthur alleges The Beacon, which is operated by Cathedral Health & Outreach Ministries, has created a “health hazard” in the area. “The persons attracted by the free meals, free laundry and other services, urinate, defecate and drop trash in the street, sidewalks, doorways and other private property areas of the neighbors,” Arthur alleges in the petition filed in state district court in Harris County. Arthur alleges that on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, when The Beacon is closed, “things are once again quiet and pleasant” in the area.

This sounds like the kind of guy who starts screaming at the Salvation Army Santa for ringing that bell all day. But I bet Arthur could jump at least 3 or 4 homeless people with his skateboard.

The Beacon is in the business of feeding poor people. What does Harry Arthur do for a living? If you guessed “personal injury attorney” you win the Captain Obvious prize! From the welcome page on his website:

INJURED? YOU NEED GOOD COUNSEL!!!!!! Operating with the highest moral principles and ethics, Harry C Arthur, a Houston attorney, has devoted his law practice to helping his clients get what is rightfully theirs. Opening his practice in 1970 after graduating first in his class, Harry C Arthur has created a reputation for a law firm that is well known for its ability to handle a variety of litigations from personal injury to the New Defense Base Act. His Houston law firm has a proven record of success for their clients, helping them receive compensation for pain and suffering resulting from an accident, injury, or wrongful death of a loved one.

Nothing says “moral principles” quite like suing a Christian charity for the crime of feeding poor people.

And what fine institution of legal education can claim Mr. Arthur as one of its valedictorians? That would be the South Texas College of Law:

Harry C. Arthur is a trial lawyer who fights for people. He has devoted his law practice to helping people assert their rights when they have been wronged, whether by another individual, an insurance company or a big corporation. He has practiced in the area of personal injury, wrongfully death, product liability, Longshore and admiralty, and workmen’s compensation law his entire legal career. Mr. Arthur specializes in representing victims in serious and soft tissue cases. Harry C. Arthur received his Bachelor of Arts from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas in 1964. He then moved to Dallas, Texas to work for Republic Insurance Company as an adjuster. Then in 1967 Harry moved to Houston and worked while attending law school. He graduated in 1970, number one in his class as magnum cum laude from South Texas College of Law and received his law degree.

He’s been an insurance salesman and is now a personal injury attorney and landlord. Wait a minute, are we sure that the hungry people are the only ones urinating and defecating all over this area?

Lawyer sues church, homeless day center in Houston [Tex Parte Blog]

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