Archive for October, 2010

Who says appellate judges can’t be literate — and hilarious.

Fisher v. Lowe
122 Mich.App. 418, 33 N.W.2d 67 (1983)

Syllabus

    A wayward Chevy struck a tree
    Whose owner sued defendants three.
    He sued car’s owner, driver two,
    And insurer for what was due
    For his oak tree that now may bear
    A lasting need for tender care.The Oakland County Circuit Court,
    John N. O’Brien, J., set forth
    The judgment that defendants sought
    And quickly an appeal was brought. 

    (more…)

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Columbus Not Bringing Syphillis To the Queen

Explorer, conqueror, and, to some, the carrier of syphilis back to Europe from the New World, Columbus’ reputation seemed set in stone for eternity. Now some nifty forensic archeology may have exonerated the Admiral of the Ocean Sea from responsibility for the scourge that was first documented in Europe two years after his return from the West Indies. Researchers digging in an old church cemetery in East London say they’ve discovered bodies from the 13th and 14th Centuries which show tell-tale signs of syphilis like rough patches on the limbs and skulls of the corpses. Bodies interred with the disease two centuries before Columbus’ voyage would seem like exciting proof to Anglo scientists. However, the Brits managed to contain themselves: “We’re confident that Christopher Columbus is simply not a feature of the emergence and timing of the disease in Europe,” Brian Connell of the Museum of London said.

Now all that we know for sure is that the Europeans gifted diseases like smallpox and measles to the native populations but got precious little in return, that little island at the mouth of the Hudson River notwithstanding. Vikings are now the chief suspects for bringing the epidemic.

Source: AOLNews

Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

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God Hates Figs

No, really: “Mark 11:12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”

H/T boingboing

-David Drumm (Nal)

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Cummins’s SuperValu in Ballinrobe, County Mayo enjoys a well-deserved reputation for fresh beef. Now we know why. Stunned shoppers watched helplessly as a bull methodically walked the aisles. “The bull ran down one aisle, and into the store area, where he had a good look around and came back out again. He then charged down another aisle, and out the front door again,” said owner, John Cummings. The only damage sustained was to – you guessed it- the fruit and vegetable stand.

Source: Digital Spy

Ok, Ok, I only posted it so you could hear this beautiful rendition of “Song for Ireland” by the bonnie Mary Black:

-Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

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Vaccine Awareness Week

November 1-6 has been declared “Vaccine Awareness Week.” What a great idea. Especially with the whooping cough epidemic in California. The epidemic is the largest outbreak in more than 60 years and has claimed the lives of 10 children. Over 6200 cases have been reported since January. A perfect time for vaccine awareness, right?

Let’s dig a little deeper …

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Bernie McDaid, a man from Massachusetts, will be leading a rally outside the Vatican on Halloween. McDaid, who was an altar boy in his youth, joined a lawsuit against Cardinal Bernard Law and other officials of the Catholic Church in 2002. The suit alleged that McDaid and a number of other altar boys at St. James Church in Salem had been abused by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham, a serial pedophile, in the late 1960s.

McDaid and Gary Bergeron, co-organizers of the rally, chose October 31st “because of its powerful symbolism: It is the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Germany, an event that helped trigger the Protestant Reformation.”

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Blowing Smoke?

We have previously discussed the cafe owner who was ordered to remove the exhaust fan, here. The fan was ordered removed because it blew bacon odors that were offensive to Muslims.

Seems like another story of accommodation, but …

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Peter Crotty has some peculiar ideas about his job responsibilities. Crotty, a waiter at Buffalo Wild Wings, in suburban Skokie, Illinois, takes waiting tables and the “Wild” in “Wild Wings” very seriously. When three area teens decided to skip out on their $51.00 bill, Crotty did his best Olivia Newton John (no, not ‘Let’s Get Physical,” it’s “Grease,” silly) and leaped aboard the roof rack of the teens’ SUV. Our earnest garçon rode the vehicle for eight blocks until the vehicle went behind a building and Crotty jumped off. Dutiful as ever, Crotty ran back to the restaurant and finished his shift. Cops were called and made arrests. And you wonder why there are no car-hops around anymore.

Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Source: UPI

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My daughter and her husband have a Labrador retriever named Jack. Jack is mischievous and quite rambunctious. Whenever I talk to my daughter on the phone and ask how Jack is doing, I always get the same response: “He’s out of control!”

Jack is truly lovable–but he can be exasperating…as I found out recently when my husband and I dog-sat for him overnight. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time running after Jack and playing tug of war as we struggled to take things—my sandal, an area rug from the front entryway, a bathmat, a blanket I had brought with me, and a beautiful shamrock afghan my daughter bought when she was on her honeymoon in Ireland— away from him.

In addition to shoes, bathmats, rugs, blankets, and afghans—Jack likes to chew on chicken bones ($400 veterinary bill), underpants, socks, TV remotes, cell phones, beanbag chairs, and poison ant cups. And Jack LOVES the water—the muddier the better. Can’t let that dog loose near a mud puddle or a pond or a lake or a river or the ocean! You’ll have a hard time retrieving that retriever from the water—as his owners have learned…to their chagrin.

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Norfolk, Virginia, Police Detective Robert Glenn Ford had a reputation as a hard-nosed cop who handled most of the City’s high profile criminal cases. Now he’s got another one but it’s his name “across the v” from the Government. Ford was convicted in federal court in Norfolk of extortion and lying to federal investigators. Specifically, the Government alleged that Ford took money from criminal defendants in exchange for helping them get lighter sentences. Ford maintains his innocence and vows to appeal.

Ford handled 200 homicide cases including the infamous “Norfolk 4″ case which resulted in four convictions for the rape and murder of  an 18-year-old wife of a Norfolk sailor. Ford was accused by lawyers for the “Norfolk 4″ of planting jailhouse snitches near in the men’s cell blocks to solicit confessions.

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Run, Buddy Tough, Run!

Edwin Fry, 73, is quite the dog lover. When his pet poodle, aptly named “Buddy Tough,” was nabbed by local police for running “at large,” Fry decided to pull his best Steve McQueen. Refusing to pay the enhanced fine of $100.00  due to Buddy’s repeat offense,  Fry leaped aboard his riding mower and headed straight for the canine hoosegaw where the chain link was no match for the bolt-cutter wielding pet owner. Sadly, the police took a dim view of animal rescue– Fry-style– and arrested him on complaints of second-degree burglary, trespassing, and destruction of city property. He is also facing a misdemeanor charge for (insert drum roll)…. allowing an animal to run at large. Sadder still, Fry got his own pen and Buddy was euthanized.

On a happier note, this “Born Free” attitude is not limited to our shores. Australians love it too as we see here.

Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Source: WPOC 93.1 Website

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There’s nothing like a little hysteria to get one’s heart pumping. Lately, we’ve seen people in our country who’ve been whipped into frenzies by the following things: the belief that Sharia law could be instituted in the United States, the proposed building of a Muslim cultural center not far from Ground Zero, and stories about Americans being beheaded in the Arizona desert. All this modern-day hysteria got me to thinking about the Salem witch trials, which took place here in my state more than three hundred years ago. It gave me the idea to write about Giles Corey. Corey was an elderly Massachusetts man who was accused of being a witch in March of 1692.

Here’s a poem by an unknown author that summarizes the story of Giles Corey:

THE MAN OF IRON

Giles Corey was a wizard strong, a stubborn wretch was he;
And fit was he to hang on high upon the locust tree.

So, when before the Magistrates for trial he did come,
He would no true confession make, but was completely dumb.

“Giles Corey,” said the Magistrate, “What hast thou here to plead
To those who now accuse thy sould of crime and horrid deed?”

Giles Corey he said not a word, no single word spoke he.
“Giles Corey,” said the Magistrate, “We’ll press it out of thee.”

They got them then a heavy beam, then laid it on his breast;
They loaded it with heavy stones, and hard upon him pressed.

“More weight,” now said this wretched man. “More weight!” again he cried;
And he did no confession make, but wickedly he died.

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Since I am off to Paris in a few hours, I am posting this list a day early.  Happy Halloween to everyone and good luck to our guest bloggers — Elaine, David, and Mark — who will be blogging from today until the 6th (and possibly the 7th if they have any material left!)

While some cities may be banning teenagers from trick or treating, Halloween remains the favorite holiday of not just of Christine O’Donnell but for all torts professors and personal injury lawyers. Few people know it was invented by Slipitus Fallus, an ancient Roman personal injury lawyer. Common carrier hay rides, lighting vegetables on fire, handing out foodstuffs without a permit . . . It’s the most wonderful day of the year. So, with no further ado, here is this year’s annual Spooky Torts list of actual cases from Halloween (with our past winners).

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A consumer-conscious Uniontown, Pennsylvania man called local police to complain about the quality of the marijuana he just purchased. When police arrived, the 21-year-old complained that the pot was “nasty.” A field test by the officers revealed the stash was not marijuana at all, but our boy-genius is not off the hook. He could still be charged with possession of a counterfeit controlled substance. No word yet on whether  the seller takes returns.

I’ve often wondered why possession of  a “counterfeit” controlled substance is a crime at all. Certainly, attempting to sell or selling the counterfeit substance could be punished as criminal fraud, but what is the public policy reason to prevent possession of , say, oregano?  Do we want really want to criminalize even more conduct as we fight the Drug War?

– Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Source: AP

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In what must be a first, Brazilian Judge Joao Ghisleni Filho ruled that a former franchise manager must be paid $17,500.00 because he gained 65 pounds while working for McDonalds Restaurant for over 12 years. The unnamed employee claimed he had to sample food each day to meet quality standards and to appease “mystery clients” that McDonalds hired to secretly inspect the restaurant. The unidentified man’s biggest gripe — McDonalds had the audacity to offer free lunches to employees.

U.S. consumers spend about $150 billion dollars on fast food that is marketed to children and to lower income adults. McDonalds claims it presents healthy choices along with its high fat-high sodium offerings. In 2003, a New York family sued the hamburger giant alleging that, by manipulating the taste of food, fat and sugar content, and its aggressive marketing to children mislead consumers about the nutritional value of its food and led directly to their daughter’s obesity.  A federal judge threw the suit out of court, but the Industry responded with a so-called “Cheeseburger Bill” to ban such suits in the future. The Bill passed the House in 2005 but stalled in the Senate.

Over one half of all American adults are considered obese, and hundreds of thousands of deaths are attributed to obesity. Will “Big Fat” become the next “Big” like “Big Tobacco” and “Big Oil.” If we’re looking in Brazil, the answer might be just wait and see.

–Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Source: Yahoo News

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