Southeast Texas Record

Monday, March 30, 2020

Legally Speaking: You say Grenada, I say Granada and other true tales of legal weirdness

By John G. Browning | Jul 22, 2014

Browning john 2013

Have you ever had the fear while boarding a plane of being on the wrong flight and winding up at a completely different destination?

American dentist Edward Gamson now knows what it feels like. Gamson was on vacation in Europe, and he decided to extend that vacation with a visit to the historic Spanish city of Granada and its beautiful palace the Alhambra.

Once on board his flight from London, however, Gamson noticed that he was actually bound for Grenada, the island in the Caribbean; his electronic tickets issued by British Airways showed no airport code, destination country, or even flight duration. Upon landing in Grenada, Gamson claims the airline refused to put him and his wife on a flight back to London en route to their desired destination in Spain.

So he’s suing British Airways, saying he made it “absolutely clear” that he wanted to go to Granada in Spain, not Grenada in the Caribbean.

And lest you think that this is a case of “potato, po-TAH-to,” it’s not the first time this has happened. 62 year-old cancer patient Lamenda Kingdo had a trip to Granada on her “bucket list,” and booked a flight with British Airways over the phone-only to end up, like Mr. Gamson, about 4,000 miles from her intended destination.

Unlike Mr. Gamson, Ms. Kingdon was reimbursed and promptly put on the correct flight, a U.S. judge has already rejected British Airways’ attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed. In doing so, Judge James Boasberg wrote “This one proves the truth of Mark Twain’s aphorism that ‘the difference between the right and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug? Except here only a single letter’s difference is involved.”

Oh well, to you say “po-TAY-to,” I say “po-TAH-to”-let’s call the whole thing off.

In other weird legal news, some days in court can feel like the movie “Groundhog Day,” or perhaps just karma catching up with you. That might be how lawyers at the Massachusetts law firm of Connolly, Geaney, Ablitt & Willard feel these days. The firm earlier this year employed roughly 150 people, but has since fallen on hard times and let go most of its lawyers, paralegals, and staff.

It also allegedly failed to pay employee insurance premiums, and apparently the rent for multiple months; as a result, Connolly Geaney is now facing eviction proceedings.

And what kind of law, you may ask, did Connolly Geaney do? For years, the firm specialized in foreclosures, helping banks foreclose on Massachusetts homeowners. That’s karma, baby.


Ashley Nicole Chiasson also had a “Groundhog Day” moment. The Louisiana woman had been mistakenly arrested, extradited to Florida, and jailed for nearly a month before it was discovered that she was the wrong person.

The real perpetrator has the same first and last names, but a different middle name, different Social Security number, and is 5 inches taller than Ms. Chiasson. But after the mistake was realized Ms. Chiasson was released, she had to return to court for a status hearing before the case against her could be dismissed.

And what happened at that hearing?

You guessed it-Chiasson was arrested a second time by the same Florida law enforcement agency for yet another crime attributed to the real perpetrator!

This time, she was  in jail less than a week before authorities realized they’d made the same mistake all over again. Now Chiasson is planning to sue, claiming she “lost everything,” including her home, as a result of the unwarranted jail stints.

Apparently, the concept of looking at photographs of suspects or comparing fingerprints is a foreign one to law enforcement in Clay County, Florida.

History also repeated itself for Francisco Canseco of San Diego, but the 18 year-old only has himself to blame. While awaiting a hearing on graffiti vandalism charges in a San Diego courtroom on April 24, 2014, Canseco apparently got bored.

After the hearing, a court deputy noticed fresh graffiti, complete with Canseco’s “tag,” on benches in the courthouse hallways and on the wooden backs of courtroom chairs. Authorities used Graffiti Tracker software to match the graffiti to Canseco, and he now faces 5 felony counts of vandalism for his courthouse tagging.

I guess he made his mark-just not the way he may have hoped.


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