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Between the Lines

Posted On: Sep. 17, 2006 12:00 AM CST

A $275,000 shutout

The Green Bay Packers' defense may have failed to protect the NFL team from a 26-0 shutout by the Chicago Bears, but a defensive move by a store owner near Plano, Ill., succeeded in blocking a $275,000 casualty to his business.

Randy Gonigam, owner of World Furniture Mall, had offered a Labor Day weekend special to shoppers: free furniture up to $10,000 if the Bears shut out longtime rival Green Bay in their season opener.

To the delight of shoppers, the Bears blanked the Packers in their Sept. 10 meeting-the first time in 233 games that Green Bay was held scoreless and the first shutout of quarterback Brett Favre's 16-year career.

Fortunately for World Furniture Mall, the business had coverage for the promotion from OddsOn Promotions, a Reno, Nev.-based company that specializes in prize reimbursement for such events as hole-in-one contests at golf outings.

While even the store owner thought it was a long shot that the Bears would end the Packers' streak of putting at least something on the scoreboard, such insurance claims are fairly common, according to a spokeswoman for OddsOn Promotions.

She added that football-themed conditional rebate promotions are just one of the many products OddsOn Promotions sells to help businesses gain publicity and, hopefully, enhance sales.

Inmates create hostile work environment

Penal institutions are not immune from maintaining a hostility-free work environment despite prisoners' inherent propensity toward inappropriate and socially deviant behavior, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The decision, which was handed down Sept. 13 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, stemmed from a 2000 lawsuit filed by a former female prison guard at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, Calif., who claimed she was fired for complaining about being subjected to repeated acts of exhibitionism by inmates.

After the guard prevailed at trial and was granted a jury award of $600,000, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation appealed, claiming it was exempt from such laws as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act because its "distinctive character and problems" created an "inherently hostile work environment." Moreover, the department argued, the guard essentially welcomed such sexually abusive conduct by merely accepting the job.

The 9th Circuit, however, ruled that nothing in federal law suggests that prison officials can look the other way when inmates' actions violate the rights of employees or other prisoners.

Spitzer takes step toward governor's mansion

Insurance industry adversary Eliot Spitzer could become an even bigger force to reckon with after winning the Democratic nomination to run for New York's governor in the November elections.

As the state attorney general, Mr. Spitzer for the past two years led probes into insurance industry business practices, impacting several major brokers and insurers in the industry.

After winning last week's primary, he now goes on to face Republican candidate John Faso in the Nov. 7 general election.