Legally Weird - FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


The expansion of religious liberties under the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling has found a new home with Satanists, who are hoping to use the decision to defeat certain abortion laws.

The Satanic Temple (TST) believes that the human body is "inviolable subject to one's own will alone," reports The Huffington Post. TST has begun a campaign to defeat abortion laws that require a woman to read informational materials which critics claim are designed to dissuade a woman from terminating her pregnancy. And the Temple is using the recent Hobby Lobby case to do it.

Are these Satanists unholier than thou? Or will the law give the Devil his due?

The "Ground Zero cross" gleaned from the wreckage of the World Trade Center can remain at the 9/11 memorial site despite concerns about church-state division.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 ruling allowing the steel-reinforced cross to stay at Ground Zero, finding that despite its likeness to the Christian symbol, its purpose is secular, reports Reuters. An atheist group has been fighting the inclusion of the "cross" as a publicly funded religious symbol in state and federal courts.

Is the Ground Zero "miracle cross" here to stay?

An Alabama man claims he woke up in a hospital to find that his penis had been amputated, but all he had wanted was a circumcision.

Johnny Lee Banks Jr., 56, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham never told him why it was "necessary to remove his penis," reports Reuters. A spokeswoman for the Center denied the merit of his claims, but by all accounts Banks is still missing his penis.

What recourse does Banks have for the allegedly mistaken mangling of his member?

A New Hampshire woman recently learned the hard way that state police don't consider rescuing baby ducklings worthy of the "emergency" status required for stopping on the state's highway medians.

Hallie Bibeau, 33, of Newfields, was driving on New Hampshire's Route 101 when she saw a mother duck and a group of ducklings trying to cross the road. Bibeau slammed on her brakes and pulled to the side, but the mother and several of the ducklings were hit by another car, reports Manchester's WMUR-TV.

When Bibeau noticed that several of the ducklings were still alive, she got out of her car to try to do the right thing ... or at least, so she thought.

Are you trying to sell a murder house, but finding it hard to keep its homicidal history a secret? Well in Pennsylvania, you needn't worry about things like that. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that homeowners have no duty to disclose such tragic incidents to potential buyers.

According to PennLive.com, the state's High Court ruled this week that the sale of a house that was the backdrop of a murder-suicide didn't require the owner to tell the buyers about it.

So why are Pennsylvania homeowners allowed to keep murders and other tragedies secret from potential buyers?

An Ohio vet's unconventional form of therapy is ruffling some legal feathers: He's been cited for owning therapy ducks.

Iraq veteran Darin Welker of West Lafayette is facing a minor misdemeanor for owning 14 ducks, despite the fact that he claims they are therapeutic for his PTSD and back injury. The Marion Star reports that while the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) was willing to pay for Welker's back surgery, it didn't cover any physical or emotional therapy.

So what legal quack said it's wrong for Welker to keep his therapy ducks?

Anyone who has rented out their house or apartment through online home-sharing service Airbnb has probably asked themselves, at least rhetorically, what's the worst that could happen?

Well, a San Francisco woman's experience with an unruly Airbnb tenant in her Palm Springs condo is illustrating the dark side of the burgeoning sharing economy. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Airbnb tenant stopped paying rent 30 days into his stay, but now refuses to leave and is using California's tenant's rights rules to remain in the woman's condo rent-free.

What led to this woman's nightmare scenario, and why has it been so difficult to get this Airbnb squatter to leave?

Imprisoned ex-dictator Manuel Noriega is suing the makers of "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" for allegedly harming his reputation and using his name and likeness without permission.

The Activision Blizzard Inc. game, which has made more than $1 billion in worldwide sales, includes a mission in which the protagonists must track down Noriega and capture him, reports Gamespot. Noriega's lawsuit claims the game portrays him as a "kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state" and used that virtual vilification to profit.

Does Noriega have a case against his fictional portrayal in a video game?

A shoplifter who broke his ankle while getting arrested was awarded $510,000 by a jury this week for his injury.

Even more noteworthy: This is actually the third time the man, 50-year-old Kevin Jarman, has gotten a payout from New York City in a case against the New York Police Department. Two previous court cases were settled before trial for $15,000 and $20,000, according to The New York Post.

What earned Jarman his biggest payout yet, and how do you go about suing the police in court?

Disneyland's 59th Anniversary is today, which makes it a great time to reflect on all the joy (and pain) Disney has brought its fans.

From injury suits to employee beard bans, the company has enjoyed a wide range of legal issues from its employees, intellectual properties, and customers.

It really is a small legal world of Disney, but these 10 legally weird Disney incidents capture the magic of the iconic company: