Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

February 2017 Archives

Beer lovers sure do love craft beers. In addition to being known for quality, the potent potables often have eye-catching packages and witty names. In an effort to capture some of this rapidly growing niche market, Walmart partnered with a Costa Rican brewery to manufacturer the following allegedly American craft beers: "After Party Pale Ale," "Cat's Away IPA," "Red Flag Amber," and "Round Midnight Belgian White."

When one craft beer loving Walmart consumer discovered he'd been duped into buying faux-American beer that was labeled and designed to look similar to other American craft beers, he filed a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that Walmart intentionally deceived consumers by labeling the products as American craft beers made in Rochester, New York by the Trouble Brewery, when none of these statements on the label were true. The lawsuit seeks refunds for consumers as well as punitive damages against Walmart for deceiving customers.

It's one of the oldest tenets of common law: He who streams son's birth live on social media forfeits any subsequent copyright claims to such video. Maybe not, but we can't be so sure that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan didn't rely on that exact principle when he dismissed Kali Kanongataa's copyright lawsuit against ABC and Yahoo after media companies aired segments of his Facebook Live stream of his son's birth.

Kaplan did not include his reasoning in his written order dismissing the case, so we're left to speculate. And we're guessing the judge either accepted the "fair use" argument or the "dude you posted it on Facebook" argument.

In what can only be described as a real life episode of Scooby-Doo, only without the talking dog and extended mystery plot, an art thief was caught by three college students almost immediately after the end of this year's Super Bowl. Based on reports, it sounds like the art thief would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids. Obligatory Muttley laugh.

The three students, just barely old enough to buy a drink, were out in Boston just after the Patriot's Super Bowl win, when they spotted the thief as he tried to escape with a Picasso and Rembrandt from the Galerie d'Orsay in Boston. They saw the thief run out of a smashed gallery window holding several pieces of art. When they shouted out after the thief, he tossed the artwork, valued at approximately $50,000 and ran. The three students then chased him down, and restrained the thief until police arrived to make the arrest.

People say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but according to one Sacramento woman, her picture is apparently worth $2.2 billion. In her recently filed lawsuit against Chipotle, she is seeking the $2.2 billion due to the burrito behemoth's use of an unauthorized photograph of her on in-store displays.

The lawsuit alleges that the woman was photographed while eating alone in a practically empty Chipotle restaurant in 2006. However, the woman did not file her case until more than two years after she discovered her photo was hanging in a Chipotle's restaurant in December 2014, which could present a statute of limitations problem.

In Russia, slapping your spouse might not get you much more than a slap on the wrist, if even that. Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted the country's "slapping law," under which a first-time domestic abuse incident that doesn't result in serious injury is more of an administrative offense rather than a crime.

The law, intended to promote "traditional family values," has received stark criticism from human rights groups and staunch support from Russian politicians.

After First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, filed her $150 million defamation lawsuit against the Mail Online, legal commentators were shocked by the language used to describe Mrs. Trump's financial damages. In short, a plain reading of Mrs. Trump's lawsuit leaves a reader with the impression that Mrs. Trump has plans to profit by using her new-found elevated position in society.

While Trump's attorney asserts that Melanie Trump has no intention of profiting from her position as First Lady, business filings, though unimpressive, seem to belie this fact. However, there is no specific law that prevents a First Lady from profiting while in office, assuming she does not leverage the power of her presidential spouse (which could raise concerns of nepotism).

Although parents should teach their kids how to drive, one mother was arrested for starting way too soon. Kwanique Glenn, 25, of Altamonte Springs, Florida, would have gotten away with it too, if only it weren't for that pesky thing called social media.

Back in October 2016, when Glenn arrived at the bus stop to pick up her son, she decided to let her 7-year-old boy take the wheel and drive them home. When police discovered what had occurred, thanks to Officer Social Media, Glenn was taken into custody for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and allowing an unauthorized person to drive. As of last week, Glenn pled no contest to the charges and was convicted and sentenced to a year of probation.

The electric company might not have known what Bishop William Marshall was doing the past few years, but the Lord certainly did. And now the United Illuminating Company and Bridgeport Police Department know as well.

Marshall was arrested on third-degree larceny charges after investigators discovered he was siphoning power to his barber shop and tattoo parlor. When God said, "Let there be light," we're not sure he might by illegally reconnecting your shut off electricity meter.

When a person dies, the deceased may still have some legal rights when it comes to how their body is handled and treated. In most if not all states, there are criminal penalties, as well as potential civil liability, for desecrating a dead body.

An Arizona bill that would make it legal to shoot snakes, rats, and other pests again within city limits passed the state house and is headed to the state senate for approval. The bill, which still has not become law, would provide a limited, permissible reason to fire off a gun within city limits, which is currently prohibited except in very limited circumstances.

The current prohibition is the result of a surprising tragedy that happened nearly two decades ago. In 2000, a Phoenix teen was killed by a stray bullet that had been fired off up into the air in celebration. Soon after the incident, a law was passed that made it a felony to fire a weapon within a city's limits in the state of Arizona. An unanticipated result of the ban was that property owners were no longer as free to use their firearms to shoot rats, snakes, and other vermin.