Legally Weird - FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


British bride-to-be Alex Lancaster was shocked when she got the call from her future father-in-law telling her that her American fiance Tucker Blandford had committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a car.

But Lancaster was no less shocked when, upon calling Blandford's parents house only a few hours later, she discovered that Tucker was actually quite alive, reports the UK's Daily Mirror. Blandford had apparently gotten cold feet about the couple's engagement. But instead of calling off the wedding, he decided to call his fiance and pretend to be his own dad; not exactly the most well-conceived plan.

Beyond just being a bad idea, is faking your own death actually legal?

Relatives of a living man who was legally declared dead have been told they must pay back the benefits they received from his "death."

Donald Miller Jr. was declared legally dead in 1994 and again in 2013, but the 62-year-old Ohio resident is still very much alive. According to The Courier of Findlay, once the Social Security Administration learned of Miller's not-so-dead status, it demanded repayment of death benefits paid to his children, totaling more than $47,000.

How can Miller be legally dead but still alive enough for his children to owe the SSA money?

It's either one heck of a way to celebrate "Shark Week" or some good old fashioned synchronicity: A church in Texas cooked up 75 pounds of shark meat taken from a whopping 809-pound tiger shark donated to the church earlier this month.

The meat fed about 90 homeless and needy parishioners at Timon's Ministry in Corpus Christi, reports The Associated Press. The 12-foot shark was the largest fish ever donated to the church, and took the fisherman who caught it more than seven hours to reel in.

But while the shark feed was certainly a noble gesture (except in the eyes of the shark, perhaps), was it legal?

An Arizona transgender man, known by news outlets as "Pregnant Man," has been granted the right to divorce his wife by an Arizona appellate court.

Thomas Beatie, 40, legally changed his gender to "male" in Hawaii before he married his wife in 2003, reports The Arizona Republic. Although Beatie could still bear children, and Hawaii prohibited same-sex marriage, the state considered his marriage valid. However, after Beatie and his wife moved to Arizona, they found they could not get a divorce because of the state's refusal to consider their Hawaii marriage valid.

What why did the Arizona Court of Appeals decide to grant "Pregnant Man" his divorce?

A California man shot with a stun gun by a park ranger after being detained for having his dog off-leash has taken his lawsuit against the United States Government to trial.

Gary Hesterberg brought suit against the government for battery and false imprisonment following a 2012 incident on a San Mateo County running trail managed by the National Park Service, reports Courthouse News Service.

How did Hesterberg's leash-law violation take such a "stunning" turn of events?

A Florida man accused of killing his roommate used his iPhone to ask Siri how to hide the dead body, according to evidence presented at trial.

Strangely, the Palm Beach Post reports that Siri actually responded to Pedro Bravo's request, giving suggestions like: "Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps."

Aside from wondering what Apple's programmers might have been thinking, can this sort of Siri "testimony" be evidence against Bravo?

A Colorado inmate accused of falsely complaining about finding a hair in his food is facing felony charges after police say he planted the hair himself.

Earlier this year, Summit County jail inmate Ray Wolfe told jail staff that he found a long, dark hair mixed in with the beef stroganoff he was served for dinner, reports Denver's KCNC-TV. Jail officials launched an investigation to discover the source of the hair -- and found surveillance footage that they claim shows Wolfe placing a hair in his own tray.

Wolfe may have bit off a little more than he can chew, however. He is now facing up to 24 additional years behind bars for his allegedly false claim. What is he being charged with?

A Colorado man is suing after he allegedly got high, and sick, from chocolate he ate at the Denver County Fair's "Pot Pavilion" -- which, despite its name, was supposed to be pot-free.

Jordan Coombs filed a lawsuit in state court on Thursday claiming that he was essentially drugged by free chocolates offered at the Fair by a company called LivWell. The Associated Press reports that after ingesting the chocolate, Coombs started vomiting and emergency room doctors informed him he had "overdosed on the drug."

Can Coombs sue the fair for getting him high?

A model who was arrested for taking part in a nude body-painting exhibition in New York City's Time Square has filed a lawsuit against the city and the New York Police Department.

30-year-old Karla Storie's lawsuit claims she dropped her underwear just seconds before the area was covered with paint by artist Andy Golub during the artist's 2011 Time Square public exhibition, reports the New York Post. Nevertheless, she was arrested on charges of public lewdness and exposure. The charges were dismissed in 2012

Was Storie's stripped-down stunt really against the law or does she have a legitimate case?

A selfie taken by an Indonesian monkey with a wildlife photographer's camera is raising some interesting copyright law questions.

British wildlife photographer David Slater was in Indonesia in 2011 when he set up his camera equipment to photograph a crested black macaque monkey, reports The Huffington Post. The monkey then grabbed Slater's camera and began taking photographs, including a surprisingly decent selfie.

When this monkey selfie was posted online and began going viral, Slater assumed that he owned the copyright to the image. But one of the Internet's largest websites is now claiming that the monkey selfie actually belongs to everyone. What gives?