Weirdness

A prophet, who now goes by the name “Rael,” once encountered space aliens who told him the secret of life. Later, his followers, “the Raelians,” set up an advocacy group to expose pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church. But the group’s work was frustrated when Pope Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joe Ratzinger) covered up the crimes of Catholic priests, in an effort to discredit the Raelians and suppress their message.

If I were writing fiction, this would be about the point where Tom Hanks holds a black light up to a window in Washington National Cathedral to reveal the precise location of Area 51. But before he can tell anybody, Al Pacino (heretofore unobtrusively sitting in a pew, drinking a glass of orange juice) makes Hanks an offer he can’t refuse.

But this isn’t fiction; this is the real world. In the real world, there is only one way to handle this kind of massive conspiracy, cover-up, and intrigue: a lawsuit.

And so it is that today, on the thirteenth of September in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, that Pope Benedict XVI finds himself sued in the High Court of Justice: Queen’s Bench Division, for tortious interference with business…

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It’s time to announce the winner of our most recent caption contest….

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Last week, we asked for possible captions for this strange photo:

Vote for your favorite from the eight funny finalists, after the jump.

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This is one of those situations that looks odd out of context, but there is a reasonable explanation. This is going to go to court, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on the reason behind each item.

Kym Rivellini, the attorney representing Dennis Hobbs, who has been charged with stalking his own daughter.

(Hobbs was found driving around his daughter’s shelter in a car with a loaded gun, a video camera, a notebook recording his daughter’s whereabouts, and a wig. He was also dressed in black and had his face painted black when found.)

The photograph for our latest caption contest is a bit odd. And we’re not going to give you the backstory until the end, so as not to stifle your creativity.

In all honesty, this pic might not make for good contest fodder, due to to its sheer strangeness. But you haven’t disappointed us in the past with your wit and inventiveness.

So let’s see what you can come up with for this photo….

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This one is going to get really weird, really quickly. See if you can spot the civil rights violation.

Issue 1: City council of Alexandria, Virginia, approves a permit for a new barbecue restaurant.
Issue 2: The restaurant will have an open-air, gas grille.

Did you see the potential violation? No? Well, you’re just not thinking like a lawyer — or, at the very least, you’re not thinking like an insane person. The Alexandria Gazette Packet reports:

Del Ray Attorney Ed Ablard is challenging the restaurant as a violation of his civil rights. Because the gas-fueled smoker will release particulate matter into the air, his suit charges, his civil rights will be violated.

Is a white man claiming that a barbecue joint is somehow racist towards white people? No, it’s way more crazy than that…

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Looking for confidential minded person that is a people person and well manicured. We do some work with the adult entertainment business so it is not for everyone. Looking for the classic super manicured secretary at a younger progressive firm.

– a Craigslist ad for a legal secretary in northern New Jersey

Donald Duck tends to be cranky; he’s not the most friendly of the Disney characters. But a Pennsylvania woman, 27, contends that Donald got way too friendly with her during a 2008 trip with her family to Epcot Center.

In a complaint posted by the Smoking Gun, April Magolon claims that she asked Donald for an autograph — who actually asks people in costumes for autographs? — and that he then grabbed her boob, “molested her,” and then made gestures “indicating he had done something wrong.” Magolon’s suing in excess of $50,000 for negligence, battery, and infliction of emotional distress. More bad news for Donald: We’ve heard that Daisy Duck is considering filing for divorce.

Gawker picked up the story and pointed out that creepy behavior on the part of Disney’s costumed characters is a bit of a trend.

The legal papers includes [sic] a helpful list of other Disney character transgressions, like the time Tigger molested a 13-year-old girl. In other news, a guy just wrote a memoir about dealing drugs while costumed as Winnie the Pooh at Epcot, and how his co-workers were furries who liked to have kinky sex in their costumes.

Disney characters are not without their defenders, though. As Mickey Mouse has not appeared to put in a good word for his furry and feathery friends, William Saletan at Slate stepped in and did some investigative reporting. He says that this may in fact be a false Tigger trigger…

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The alleged foot tapper

A pair of motions are bouncing around email inboxes this week, thanks to the “foot-tapping lawyer.” (This has nothing to do with Larry Craig, so read on without fear.)

It all started in July, when Florida law firm Rasco Klock sent a paralegal to Wilmington for a deposition. The firm is representing a plaintiff suing an insurance company, but one of their lead attorneys, Juan Carlos Antorcha, had to remain in Miami and conduct the deposition by video, with the paralegal handling the exhibits in person.

During the deposition of a witness for the defense, a strange noise caught the attention of the Perceptive Paralegal. After hearing clicking, he peeked beneath the table and saw a defense attorney’s foot tapping the foot of the deponent. He snapped a photo with his smartphone and sent it to Antorcha, who confronted the defense and halted the deposition. Rasco Klock then filed a very angry motion for sanctions, accusing the defense attorney of coaching the witness through foot tapping.

From the motion:

Before accusing a lawyer of acting in an unethical and unprofessional fashion, a fellow lawyer must think long and hard. Was the breach intentional? What were the circumstances? Was there any sense of contrition? Could the offending lawyer believe that his conduct had been appropriate?

The lawyer accused of foot-tapping is Brown Sims shareholder Kenneth Engerrand. On every single page of the 13-page motion for sanctions against him is the incriminating footsie photo…

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But not because they brought a megalomaniacal murderer into the world. We’re not talking about Adolf Hitler, the deceased German dictator, but about Adolf Hitler Campbell, a little boy living in New Jersey.

The idea of some poor kid running around with the name “Adolf Hitler” might be amusing on its own, but the story here is also serious and sad. The AP reports:

A New Jersey couple who gave their children Nazi-inspired names should not regain custody of them, a state appeals court ruled Thursday, citing the parents’ own disabilities and the risk of serious injury to their children.

The state removed Heath and Deborah Campbell’s three small children from their home in January 2009. A month earlier, the family drew attention when a supermarket refused to decorate a birthday cake for their son, Adolf Hitler Campbell.

First they won’t let him have Leningrad; now he can’t get a birthday cake. Poor Adolf Hitler just can’t catch a break.

So what did the New Jersey appellate court decide?

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