Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


At first glance, a judge saying the iconic Civil Rights anthem 'We Shall Overcome' has the same copyright protection as the iconic birthday anthem 'Happy Birthday' (which is to say, none) doesn't seem that odd. After all, both songs are older than any living person, come from indefinite origins, and are sung so ubiquitously that paying royalties every time a line is uttered seems absurd.

And yet, none of those reasons for denying copyright protections is a legal one, and the path to the public domain for the former song was a bit different than that for the latter.

Courts and the law have long held sympathy for a man who finds his wife or girlfriend cheating on him. There were once exceptions to murder statutes and lesser penalties for a man who discovered his wife "in flagrante delicto" and lashed out violently. While those laws have either been formally removed or are no frowned upon by courts, some states still allow a jilted husband to sue a home-wrecking party.

One such lawsuit was recently revived in North Carolina, where a man is suing a doctor for an affair with his nurse wife.

Some lawsuits you just shouldn't read about until after lunch. The In-N-Out burger trademark infringement case against Smashburger is one such lawsuit, as the juicy details are bound to make burger lovers salivate.

In short, In-N-Out alleges that Smashburger violated their trademark on the phrase "Double Double" which is used to describe one of the few menu selections offered at the burger chain. The allegations rest upon Smashburger's recent menu addition from this past summer, the "Triple Double."

Reddit's Legal Advice section is a treasure trove of tragedy, comedy, and legitimate legal head-scratchers. Among inquiries like "Does 'Educational Purposes' exempt you from crimes" and "There are police officers in my city who sit in a parking lot looking for people speeding ... Is this legal," was this gem: "If I lose a limb in a car accident do I still own the limb?"

We know there are rules about the treatment and disposal of corpses, but what if you lose a limb in a car accident, or need to have a body part removed in surgery? Is it yours? Can you take it home? Can you have it preserved, hire a company to clean and arrange the skeleton, and then scratch your cat's cute widdle face with it?

'F*** you. F*** you. F*** you.'

Not always the most diplomatic tack to take with a police officer, but should it get you arrested? Tracy Smith doesn't think so, but then again, he probably didn't think he'd end up in handcuffs after a neighbor complained about a dog that he didn't own, pooping in a yard that wasn't his.

So what did the Founding Fathers say about dropping F-bombs to the fuzz regarding some furry friend's fecal matter?

It's not hard to imagine walking into a doughnut shop, wanting all those sweet, glazed calories, noticing some fruity options on the menu, and thinking to yourself, "That sounds like a healthy option for my sweet glazed calories -- I'll go with the blueberry doughnut." These could be the thoughts of many doughnut shop customers; those who go to Krispy Kreme and those who go to Dunkin' Donuts.

It's also not hard to imagine that those customers might be disappointed upon learning the blueberries in their sweet, glazed donuts were not actually blueberries. So disappointed, in fact that they would want to sue the doughnut shop, whether it be a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin' Donuts. And you might even imagine attorneys for one of those disappointed customers copying and pasting large sections of one fake blueberry doughnut lawsuit into another.

Cracking open a 24-oz can of Heineken and noting 'a foul taste' is not an uncommon occurrence. Experiencing 'severe abdominal pain followed by vomiting,' on the other hand, only happens to some of us.

It also happened to California resident George Toubbeh back in August 2015. And when his daughter examined the tall can she discovered two small intruders -- juvenile leopard geckos, who, due to their un-decomposed nature, were probably alive and kicking when the beer was poured and sealed into the can. We know the Euro-lager is light on the hops, but geez ...

Pot cafes and pot bars. Spring Break pot tourism and pot churches. Even your grandmother is smoking pot, on YouTube. So perhaps it's only natural that the booming cannabiz industry and the "wedding-industrial complex" (as Bloomberg calls it) collide.

To wit, wedding vendors in marijuana-friendly states are now offering everything from pot plant bouquets to stoner-related party favors and even open cannabis bars. But before you get your best "buds" together for your nuptials, there are a couple legal ramifications to think of first.

The San Francisco real estate market is rather unique and red hot right now. Most homes and properties that go up for sale get multiple offers, and tend to sell anywhere from 10 to over 30 percent over the asking price. If that wasn't silly enough, a single parking space can sometimes run $82,000 in the city. And it's not slowing down.

However, there are ways to get a slice of San Francisco without having to spend a million dollars on an entry level home. One San Jose couple recently went to a property auction where they purchased a private street in San Francisco for the low price of $90,000. They had not seen the property, Presidio Terrace, but believed that it was too good of a deal to pass up. The private neighborhood had not paid taxes on the street for several years due to an error after changing accountants, and never receiving tax notices or even a notice of the sale.

Now, you might be asking: Why would anyone want to buy a street?

Tommy Ray McAdoo wanted one thing when he walked into a Nevada bank last November brandishing a steak knife: a prison sentence. Homeless, "freezing and scared" according to his public defender, and suffering from heart kidney disease, McAdoo didn't want to spend more time on the Reno streets.

With a criminal history stretching back to 1964, the 77-year-old had done several stints in jail and wanted to return to "a world he's familiar with." But even more odd than McAdoo wanting to be re-incarcerated is a federal judge obliging him.