State representative Wheatley sued over cake-baking contest prize
A Manchester woman and her daughter filed a small claims lawsuit against state Rep. Jake Wheatley over a $200 prize for winning a cake-baking competition.
Denise Robinson, 55, and her daughter LaShae Robinson, 21, said Wheatley awarded them $100 for LaShae Robinson's homemade pineapple upside down cake at the 10th annual Community Appreciation Day at Kennard Field in the Hill District. A flier for the Sept. 8 event said the winner would receive $200.
“It's not about the money,” said Denise Robinson, a paralegal who is a registered Democrat. “He is my state representative. I own my house. I pay taxes and I vote. That was just a smack in the face. If my state rep will breach a contract for $200, then what is he doing for $200,000?”
Wheatley, 40, a Democrat from the Hill District who is running unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election, said contestants were told beforehand that the $200 prize was contingent upon the number of entries, even if the flier didn't say so.
“The whole concept was supposed to be a 50/50 raffle. There was a $10 entry fee and if all slots were paid for, we'd match that $100 with another $100,” he said. “We're not trying to enrich people. We're just trying to make it lively. I never anticipated having to show up in a courtroom trying to defend a prize that we're giving away.”
Duquesne University Chancellor John Murray, who teaches contract law, said that without “an express condition concerning the number of entries required to assure the $200 prize,” Wheatley owes Robinson $200.
“The fact that the event did not transpire the way the organizers would have liked is irrelevant. Every contract includes risks. Some are more profitable than others, but the duty you undertake is not excused because it was not as successful as you would have liked,” Murray said.
The Robinsons used $94 of the $100 they won in the cake competition to file the complaint. They are seeking $1,000. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7.
Denise Robinson said the additional money is for pain and suffering and the humiliation. Small-claims court does not award damages for pain and suffering.
“It's a matter of principle,” Denise Robinson said. “If he puts out a flier, he should honor that.”
LaShae Robinson, a senior sociology major at LaRoche College in McCandless, said she was disappointed after staying up the night before the competition to bake.
“I hope that justice is served,” she said.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning News carries latest books by Boarts and Creel
- Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
- Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
- Penguins 4th line is showing promise
- Small Business Saturday events set in Connellsville
- Despite injuries, Penn State’s Nelson ‘thankful’
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Western Pa. dairies get creative to ensure eggnog supply
- Yahoo investors losing patience with ‘star’ CEO Marissa Mayer
- Four helicopters respond to Route 51 crash in Rostraver