William S. Flippin came right out and said it.
He specifically denies that the Reading Eagle Sports section is "inundated with nasty, filthy whores." To the contrary, he says, "the Reading Eagle does not advertise and promote whores for sale in its local Sports section."
However, after "reasonable investigation," Flippin says he does not know if "time has passed by" his ad sales manager, Lori E. Gerhart, or if "her job has caused her to take leave of her senses."
Those are just a few of the curious pronouncements contained within some of the most hilarious documents I have ever read. In fact, when I tried to read several passages to a friend from the courthouse, I could not do it without busting up laughing.
Reading Eagle Company is getting sued by a strip club!
You did not know this. That's because the Reading Eagle does not publish the grim details when they are hauled into civil court.
This lawsuit was filed last April by W. Thomas Anthony Jr., who operates Goodfellas in Allentown, which he describes as a "gentleman's club." Anthony said he wanted to place an ad in the help wanted section of the Eagle to advertise for dancers, but for some reason Gerhart became a hardass and insisted the ad go under the entertainment heading, which Anthony said is intended for "musicians, actors and such" and would not be seen by aspiring dancers.
Instead of going to Craiglist, like most savvy advertisers do, Anthony, without hiring a lawyer, filed a discrimination suit seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
Associate publisher Larry R. Orkus, who knows a thing or three about lawsuits, says that each time the company is sued it costs a minimum of $10,000 to Stevens & Lee to litigate it. A lawyer pal said that estimate is low and the actual fee is closer to $20,000. There already have been three amended answers to Anthony's complaint, who is not paying a lawyer anything, so you can assume the Eagle has shelled out over 20 grand already. And the case is just getting started.
Remember this is a suit about a teeny classified ad and one unhappy customer.
If the Eagle were truly a family newspaper with a reputation to defend, their hardassness would be understandable. But the paper regularly runs ads for massage parlors of dubious character, including one published the day after it was raided for servicing clients with what some might call "nasty, filthy whores." The Eagle not only accepts ads for Excitement Video, which sells porn, but the store also co-sponsors the "Can You Beat Zeke" football contest and gets its name in lights on the Eagle's electronic billboard.
After several pages of boilerplate legal copy, Anthony gets to the heart of the matter in paragraph 33:
The Reading Eagle does not maintain or possesses the Holy Grail in its newspaper. Not does it speak from the right hand of God, especially when it advertises and promotes whores for sale in the local Sports section (in the display ads for massage parlors). Every 10- to 75-year-old kid reads the sports section, and that section is inundated with nasty, filthy whores. But defendant Gerhart doesn't have a category for those whores. In fact, what she does have is an invisible fence of protection for the whorehouses.
That's where Stevens & Lee, led by Daniel Huyett and his ticking meter, had to spoonfeed Billy Flipp such legal doublespeak as saying he is "without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth" of Anthony's wisecrack that Gerhart has "an invisible fence of protection for the whorehouses."
Anthony goes on to write that "Defendant Gerhart is a wet seal; she makes a lot of noise, but fears the great white shark in the untamed waters."
Guess what? Flippin lacks "knowledge or information sufficient" to say whether or not Gerhart is a "wet seal." He probably doesn't know either if Larry Orkus has gone completely insane, like Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now."
Next paragraph: "Defendant Gerhart is a lady for the ages...It is hard to imagine that the employer of these Defendants would allow them to stray so far from reality and lose touch with the common person." Attorney Huyett would like plaintiff Anthony to define "lady for the ages" to defendant Flippin. (rimshot)
But you must read the entire lawsuit for yourself here. Try not to be drinking any soda at the time so you don't blow it out your nose.
And just think, if W. Thomas Anthony Jr. files an amended complaint and adds Larry Orkus as a defendant, it will cost the company another $10,000.