A few interesting vignettes from the legal kingdom (or is it a fiefdom?)
By AJ Wagner
Morgan Crutchfield, a student at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law, is seeking $750,000 in damages for the schooling she received. She claims that the law school allowed her to enroll despite the fact that she had yet to complete her bachelor’s degree. She had one more language course to take to complete her undergraduate degree at Penn State University when the new law school suggested that if she could finish her degree prior to graduation from the law school she would get her Juris Doctor degree.
When Ms. Crutchfield applied to take the Tennessee bar exam, however, she was denied the exam because of a rule that requires the completion of a Bachelor’s degree prior to law school admission. Ms. Crutchfield sued Duncan School of Law because they failed to so advise her.
Although she left the school before graduating, she did learn enough to get a lawsuit filed.
Alan Berger went to Wicked Willy’s in Greenwich Village to play a little beer pong. On his way home he was struck by a car, mostly due to his “diminished capacity.” Berger sued the bar saying they should have monitored the backroom game.
To the dismay of Berger, and many a University of Dayton student, a judge threw the case out saying that although a bar can be liable for injuries caused by a person to whom they serve too much alcohol, the person who drinks too much knows the consequences of such activity and is responsible for his own injuries.
Mark Byron was not happy with his wife who was divorcing him. He had been ordered by the court to not cause his wife physical or mental abuse, harassment or annoyance. Byron went to Facebook to complain to his friends, “If you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him completely – all you need to do is say you’re scared of your husband or domestic partner and they’ll take him away.”
The court thought this was intended to “generate a negative and venomous response toward her from his Facebook friends.” Accordingly, Byron was sentenced to 60 days in jail for violating a court order with an option of posting 30 consecutive daily apologies to his wife on Facebook to avoid the jail. Byron quit after 26 postings because he felt his free speech rights were violated and he was tired of lies but the judge let it go at that.
Between his first post and his apologies, guess which got the most “Likes.”
Joshua Thompson took one for the rest of us. He tried to get movie theaters to lower concession prices by suing them under Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act for grossly excessive prices. Despite the big cheering squad, he was doomed to failure. The Consumer Protection Act doesn’t apply to regulated businesses and theaters are regulated in Michigan. Nonetheless, he gets two thumbs up from theater goers everywhere.
Jose Hernandez flew into space for NASA in 2009 on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station. Now he’s running for Congress and the Republicans have sued the aspiring Democratic officeholder for using the term “astronaut/engineer/scientist” as his ballot designation. California law provides that candidates for political office can list a ballot designation that tells voters something about themselves. Hernandez left NASA two weeks into 2011 and now works for a private engineering firm on space projects. Rules require that to carry an occupational ballot designation one must have worked in that occupation during the past calendar year.
The judge ruled that, although he hadn’t been to space since 2009, two weeks into 2011 Hernandez was still with NASA as an astronaut so he could carry that designation through 2012.
Ironically, Hernandez’s opponent, Congressman Jeff Denham, has been an elected State Senator or Congressman for almost a decade but carries the ballot designation of “farmer.”
A California physicist used science and a little creativity to fight a traffic ticket. Dmitri Krioukov got a ticket for failing to completely stop at a stop sign. The physicist fought the citation with a four-page paper explaining his knowledge of angular and linear motion. The scientist convinced the judge of his innocence.
The paper explained that what the officer “thought” he saw, he didn’t really see. “Therefore my argument in the court went as follows: that what he saw would be easily confused by the angle of speed of this hypothetical object that failed to stop at the stop sign. And therefore, what he saw did not properly reflect reality, which was completely different,” opined Krioukov.
In Dayton, by the time he finished his explanation, his car would have been towed.
Disclaimer: The content herein is for entertainment and information only. Do not use this as a legal consultation. Every situation has different nuances that can affect the outcome and laws change without notice. If you’re in a situation that calls for legal advice, get a lawyer. You represent yourself at your own risk. The author, the Dayton City Paper and its affiliates shall have no liability stemming from your use of the information contained herein.
A.J. Wagner is an attorney with the law firm of Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman and Swaim at 15 W. Fourth Street in Dayton. A.J. and his firm would be glad to help you with all of your legal needs. You can reach A.J. at (937) 223-5200 or at AJWagner@DaytonCityPaper.com.