Lawyers and Other Reptiles

From the May 1 issue of Liability & Insurance Week comes this quirky story.

A California lawyer has filed a $100,000 libel lawsuit against GTE Directories Sales Corp., alleging that the publisher listed her name and phone number in at least one yellow pages directory under “Reptiles”.

Linda K. Ross, who practices family and probate law in Fullerton, California, claims the damage spread far beyond the 260,000 circulation of the directory itself. She says somebody clipped out the page and sent it to Jay Leno, who joked about it on his late night talk show last December. Paul Harvey and others picked up on the item, too, she says.

Ross says the error has held her up to disrespect and contempt.

“She is subject to a great many joke and hostile phone calls, hissing sounds as she walks by and other forms of ridicule,” according to the lawsuit filed April 20 in Orange County Superior Court.

Ross says the mistake apparently originated because her phone number previously had been held by a reptile show. As late as last week, a query on the GTE Directories web site searching for “Reptiles” and “Fullerton, CA” turned up a listing for “Reptilian Nation” with Ross’s telephone number.

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