I thought 2013 was one of the strangest years yet for wackiness in the legal system, with some of the weirdest lawsuits and litigants we’ve seen in years. But judging from the legal stories that have emerged so far in the new year, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for legal oddities.
Consider the following:
What Part of “Divorce” Don’t You Understand?
A British woman is trying to sue her lawyers for malpractice in connection with the handling of her divorce. Jane Mulcahy claims that the two law firms that represented her didn’t make it clear to her that a divorce would cause her marriage to be over. Seriously?
Mulcahy, a Roman Catholic, argued that her lawyers should have advised her about the finality of divorce, and recommended a “judicial separation” (a step down from full divorce) as an alternative.
The allegations were rejected by a trial court and just recently by an appellate court as well, which found it “most striking” that Ms. Mulcahy wouldn’t comprehend that divorce proceedings meant that her marriage would inevitably end.
Geekiest Resignation Letter Ever
David Waddell, a town councilman in Indian Trail, N.C., was fed up with what he saw as runaway development in his town and problems with how Indian Trail handled its residents’ requests for public information. So, the “Star Trek” fan decided to resign—by writing his resignation letter in Klingon.
Waddell, whose first term would have expired in December 2015, wrote in the language of the “Star Trek” warrior species, “Perhaps today is a good day to resign.” Waddell used the Klingon translator on Bing.com to compose the letter and explained, “Folks don’t know what to think of me half the time . . . . I might as well have one last laugh.”
Mayor Michael Alvarez, however, was not amused, calling the unusual resignation “an embarrassment for Indian Trail, and it’s an embarrassment for North Carolina.”
Hey, lighten up, Michael. It could have been worse than boldly going where no politician has gone before. He could have challenged you to a ritualistic combat to the death in true Klingon warrior custom.
From Lawyer to Galactic Overlord
And speaking of leaving one’s job in intergalactic fashion, it isn’t often that a lawyer’s resume lists “attorney” on one line, followed by “galactic overlord” on the next. But then, Alex Gianturco isn’t your typical lawyer.
An avid gamer who juggled his career defending white collar criminal cases with playing the space combat game “EVE Online,” Gianturco left his law firm three years ago and in 2012 launched the website TheMittani.com.
The site, which is named for Gianturco’s online character (who is the most powerful among the over 500,000 players devoted to EVE Online) covers all of the action going on in that and other games. Gianturco makes a “comfortable income” from online ads and other marketing, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Evidently, the title “galactic overlord” suits him.
Is It the Shoes? It’s Gotta be the Shoes
Convicted pimp Sirgiorgio Sanford Clardy of Portland is currently serving a prison term in Oregon for, among other things, brutally stomping a man who refused to pay one of Clardy’s prostitutes. Clardy was wearing Nike Air Jordans at the time of the beating.
He has now filed a pro se lawsuit against Nike claiming that the athletic shoe company “failed to warn of risk or to provide an adequate warning or instruction” that their sneakers “are a potentially dangerous product.”
Besides seeking $100 million in damages, Clardy’s lawsuit also asks the court to order Nike to put warning labels on all of its “potentially dangerous Nike and Jordan merchandise.”
While it may be beyond the authority of most judges, wouldn’t it be nice for someone to pimpslap some common sense into this guy?
A Long Walk Off a Short Pier
People blame social media for a lot of things, sometimes for good reason. But let’s hope no lawsuit is on the horizon for a tourist in Australia who was a little distracted by the social networking site recently.
She was walking along the pier beside the bay in Melbourne, paying more attention to Facebook on her mobile phone than to her surroundings, when she fell off the pier and into the chilly water. Although she was taken to the hospital as a precaution after being rescued, the tourist is now fine.
Her mishap did inspire a note of caution from Victoria state police, who noted “With Facebook, or social media in general as far as we’re concerned, if you’re anywhere near the water, just pay attention, especially if you can’t swim.”
Maybe it’s time for this lady to “like” life preservers, or at least to pay attention to where she’s going.