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Archive for September, 2012

Outrageous Court Cases

September 21, 2012 by admin No Comments »

Sometimes the law gives us something to laugh about, not least when it involves a frankly absurd judgement on a case. Take the case of Carl Truman, a 19 year old from Los Angeles, who was awarded $19,000 damages after a neighbour ran over his hand in a Honda. Truman was, at the time, in the process of stealing the hubcaps. Then there’s Amber Carson, awarded over $100,000 in damages after slipping on a drink on the floor in a cafe and breaking a bone – the very drink that she had thrown at her boyfriend just seconds before.

The Trapped Burglar

A favourite we have come across is the case of Terence Dickinson, who decided to burgle a house in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Leaving via the garage he found the garage door would not lift, and the door back into the house locked as he closed it. Worse for Dickinson was that the family was on holiday. He was trapped for eight days, survived on dog food and a handy case of Pepsi, and successfully sued for the mental anguish his captivity had caused him. The sheer cheek of the man in actually taking the case to court has to be admired!

Avoiding Payment

Like many a young lady, Kara Walton of Claremont, Delaware, attempted to avoid a $3.50 entry charge to a nightclub by climbing in through the bathroom window. Unseated, she fell in ungainly fashion to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. Miss Walton duly sued the club for damages and, amazingly, was awarded $12,000 damages and full costs for the necessary dental treatment she endured.

Forcing a Change

Perhaps the most famous of all recent cases is one that actually forced a manufacturer of motor homes to change its
operator manuals. Bear in mind that this is not urban legend. Mrs Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, was lucky enough to be able to afford a 32 foot Winnebago. These magnificent beasts are coveted the world over, and are very capable machines. Now, Mrs Grazinski clearly had her head screwed on when, with the cruise control set to a sensible speed, she headed to the kitchen area to make a sandwich. Of course, the inevitable happened: the Winnebago could not steer itself, crashed and overturned. Mrs Grazinski successfully sued Winnebago on the grounds that the user manual had not warned her that she could not do what she had. She was awarded $1,750,000 and a new motor home.

 

More Odd UK Laws

September 13, 2012 by admin No Comments »

The law in the UK has evolved over hundreds of years and, to this day, includes some archaic and irrelevant laws that are still in force. Of course, few are enforced – you are not, after all, going to be charged with not carrying out your longbow practice for two hours each Sunday – but it would be interesting to see someone try and put them through the courts. For instance, next time you stumble across a whale on your local beach be aware that the tail belongs to the Queen, as she may need the bones for her corsets.

Drunk on Licensed Premises

Being drunk on licensed premises is against the law. This is one very old law that still resonates today, for landlords can face serious fines if they serve anyone who is inebriated. Also, next time you take a cab, remind the driver that he or she is obliged to ask you if you smallpox or the Plague, for they are legally required to check. Furthermore, they are forbidden by law from carrying rabid dogs or corpses, so no money saving funeral ideas there. One for the ladies – you cannot eat chocolates on public transport, it is illegal in the UK.

Impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner

This is strictly illegal; impersonation of a Chelsea Pensioner is a heinous crime that is very much frowned upon. It was, at one time, punishable by death. Impersonating police officers is also against the law, unsurprisingly. In fact, we can surmise that impersonation of others is going to be illegal in many cases. There is also a law that means you can be punished for damaging Westminster Bridge, but contrary to what many believe it is no longer a crime to commit suicide; the law was repealed some years ago.

Do Not Build that Pigsty

Especially for Londoners, who are prohibited from having a pigsty in front of their house. Also, it is illegal for a boy younger than 10 to set eyes upon a naked mannequin. For men who are caught short, bar in mind that it is perfectly legal to urinate in public, but only if you do so on the rear wheel of your vehicle and keep your right hand on the vehicle all the time. It may pay, in this instance, to make sure you have a witness. That’s the law, a strange an often unfathomable beast, but one that is the very fabric of our democracy.

 

Strange Laws in the UK

September 5, 2012 by admin No Comments »

The legal system has evolved over many hundreds of years, drawing on precedence and past cases to define the laws of today. Back in the 1960’s there was a drive to rid the statute books of many archaic and unused laws; however, there are still some that remain today that raise a chuckle every now and again. For instance, did you know that a London Hackney Carriage – the ubiquitous black cab – is required by law to carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats? It’s a law that remains on the books to this day.

Shooting Scotsmen

One ancient law that has been hotly contested states that, within the confines of the city of York, it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow. Similarly, Welshmen may find themselves shot with a bolt within the walls of Chester, as long as it is night. This may be partly due to the fact that Welshmen are not allowed into Chester after sunset or before sunrise. A more prosaic law states that it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament, although quite how you would go about prosecuting the perpetrator is anyone’s guess.

Watch what you eat

When you partake of that mince pie at Christmas be aware that you are breaking the law. This one stems from the puritanical reign of Oliver Cromwell, who effectively banned Christmas itself. Be careful when putting a stamp on a letter or parcel, for if you apply it upside down you are committing an act of treason. Hanging your washing across the street could net you a £1000 fine, and beating or shaking carpets, rugs or mats outside is also illegal. Doormats are exempt, but only after 9am. Finally, one for drivers everywhere: it is illegal to leave your car keys in the vehicle when it is unoccupied. The law can be a very strange game!