Cases that may be hard to make
For the last couple of weeks we have been serving up legal humor – if there is such a thing. Here are three interesting cases that are funny, if you are not on the losing end.Pork chop shoesWinner of the “Weird Lawsuit” award goes to the Sydney, Australia case of Bowron vs. Gannalin: Bowron had been playing pool at the Gannalin Inn bar when he saw a guy named Lucock strapping pork chops to his feet. That’s right, pork chops.Lucock was using the pork chops for shoes after being told he would not be served more alcohol (there’s the culprit) because he was barefoot. Lucock had won the meat as part of a raffle at the bar.You know the rest of the story. Bowron said the floor became greasy and when he went to congratulate his pool opponent he slipped and fell. The Australian judge found Lucock not responsible, which is surprising, and found the bar liable for not timely cleaning up the grease. Pork – the other white shoe.Surfers v. AbercrombieThere is a marginal lawsuit in Southern California where seven legendary surfers sued Abercrombie & Fitch over use of their 1960’s-era photo taken at the Makaha International Surfing contest in Hawaii. My partner, Jim Simon, was not in the photo.Abercrombie used the photo, with the permission of the photographer, in its 1999 “Spring Break” catalog to sell beach wear similar to the trunks worn by the hotshot surfers.Apparently one of the surfers, now graying and pony-tailed at 72, violated the judge’s gag order and spoke to the Los Angeles Times. The judge declared a mistrial, forcing a new trial, which offended all of the parties, and then went on to chastise one of the attorneys for “smirking” during the trial.The difficulty for the aging surfers is to prove they had damages, e.g., lost income, made worse by the fact that Abercrombie made virtually no money from the advertised surfing wear.Ugly Politics – Sen. BurtonHastings College of Law, my alma mater, planned to build a parking garage near its campus in San Francisco. The plan was opposed by a coalition of low-income housing advocates. The opponents of Hastings’ plan chanted and whistled and forced the Hastings’ board to reconvene to a safer environment where the board ultimately voted approval of the garage.Here’s the disgusting part.Hours after that meeting, State Sen. John Burton apparently called the school to announce that Hastings’ school operating budget would take a 45 percent hit unless it reconsidered and killed the parking garage proposal.Hastings’ directors denounced Burton’s actions as “political blackmail” and “thuggery.”I don’t disagree.Jim Porter is a Truckee resident and attorney with Porter-Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno.
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