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Monday, June 8, 2009

'Lowering the Bar'

I recently found this very funny, interesting law-related blog written by a lawyer in the San Francisco area called Lowering the Bar.
In it he writes about ridiculous lawsuits and brings up great points about how people are idiots.
What's not to like?

Here are a couple recent favorites:

Reasonable Consumer Would Know "Crunchberries" Are Not Real, Judge Rules

"On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.

Cap'n According to the complaint, Sugawara and other consumers were misled not only by the use of the word "berries" in the name, but also by the front of the box, which features the product's namesake, Cap'n Crunch, aggressively "thrusting a spoonful of 'Crunchberries' at the prospective buyer." Plaintiff claimed that this message was reinforced by other marketing representing the product as a "combination of Crunch biscuits and colorful red, purple, teal and green berries." Yet in actuality, the product contained "no berries of any kind." Plaintiff brought claims for fraud, breach of warranty, and our notorious and ever-popular California Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act."


UPDATE: Taster's Choice Case Goes to California Supreme Court

Taster "The California Supreme Court is hearing argument today in the case of Russell Christoff, a former model who, in 2002, happened to notice his own face staring back at him from the label of a Taster's Choice jar, and sued Nestle USA for using his image without permission.

Christoff had posed for some photos for the company sixteen years before, for limited use in Canada. A Nestle employee apparently pulled that photo out of the archives in 1998 and, unbeknownst to Christoff, made him the new Taster."


Gambler Threatens to Sue the Venetian for Bad Feng Shui

"The Venetian casino in Las Vegas is reportedly being threatened with a lawsuit by a Taiwanese man, identified only as "Yuan" (which should really narrow it down), who blames "feng shui sabotage" for a two-million-dollar losing streak last year. According to the report, Yuan contacted the Venetian through his attorney after he returned to Taiwan, and said that he intended to sue if the casino did not come up with a "reasonable solution" to the matter."


More E-Mail Tyranny: No "Out-of-Office" Replies, Says Partner

"A partner in the London office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has told lawyers in that office that it is unacceptable to fail to answer an e-mail message at any time, except possibly when a lawyer is on a long flight and therefore actually unable to receive messages. In that unfortunate event, said Mr. Raj Panasar, the "out-of-office" automatic reply (which he detests), must indicate the time zone to which the lawyer will be traveling and when, exactly, he or she will once more be able to respond."


Texting in Court Equals Jail for Utah Woman

OK, really? Apparently this is happening more and more frequently across the country. Can people not stay off their phones for more than a few minutes?

"A woman who sent two text messages from a Utah courtroom got 30 days in jail for contempt of court, sources reported recently. While pretty much every court prohibits the use of cellphones while court is in session, 15 days per text is unusually harsh for an offense that normally results only in a glare from the bailiff (one glare of variable length per incident)."

"The court was likely not too concerned about the first update, "It doesn't look good," probably just an accurate report of how the proceedings were going. But the second update, "They're coming for the Polaris Ranger," was interpreted as a possible signal to hide assets (or at least one asset), and that seems to have been the problem. Actually, the problem may have been Susan's inability to keep silent while texting -- one report says that someone sitting near her in the gallery saw her texting while the judge and attorneys were discussing repossession of the Ranger, and was allegedly close enough to hear her say under her breath, "We will just move it. They are not getting it." "


UPDATE: Former SF Official Gets Maximum Despite Brain Claims

"Former SF supervisor Ed Jew was sentenced today to 64 months in jail by a judge in SF federal court. Judge Susan Illston apparently rejected the claim that the defendant had been afflicted by childhood head injuries that first manifested themselves by causing him to take bribes 40 years later.

She also does not seem to have bought the argument that Ed actually intended to use the money to help the citizens of his district. I guess he was keeping the money in his freezer so it would still be good when he got around to doing that.

The sentence is actually seven months longer than prosecutors had requested."


What Not To Call 911 About, #3: Missing Shrimp

"A woman called the emergency hotline in Haltom City, Texas, on Monday to demand police intervention after she did not get extra shrimp in her fried rice at a local restaurant. In the call, released Tuesday, the woman can be heard expressing her frustration to a dispatcher. "[T]o get a police officer up here, what has to happen?" asked the seafood-deficit sufferer. Apparently she had requested extra shrimp, which were not forthcoming. "He didn't even put extra shrimp in there," she said, suggesting "he" had done something wrong before the extra-shrimp issue even arose."


Muslim Clerics Issue Cell-Phone Fatwa

"A panel of Muslim clerics in northern India have issued a fatwa prohibiting the use of cellphones, at least in certain un-Islamic ways.

The clerics object to this because people tend to answer the call midway through the verse, cutting it off. "Listening to aayats partially is anti-Islamic," said one of the clerics, identified only as Mr. Ghyasuddin. "People should abstain from these practices. it would leave a bad impression on young children." Also disrespectful to Allah is letting the phone ring in the bathroom. "If the phone rings and an aayat can be heard in the toilet," Ghyasuddin said, "it is a sin.""


And last but certainly not least:

I Pity the Fool Who Does Not Strike Mr. T From The Jury

"As I've mentioned before, one of the most popular searches that leads people to this site is something like "how to get out of jury duty," and here's the latest idea for that -- be Mr. T.

Mr. T jury dutyT, born "Laurence Tureaud" but likely not called that in some time, was called for jury duty on Monday at Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago. He spent about five hours in court during voir dire for a criminal case, but ultimately was not chosen. Asia Cartwright and her sister Temeka said they recognized T right away and got their pictures taken with him. Asia said she didn't know why T had not been chosen for the jury, but it might have something to do with the fact that their mom was the defendant and they had posed for pictures with a potential juror.

Or maybe it was something to do with T's reputation for pitying fools."

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