Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

April 2017 Archives

The State of Michigan is considering passing a bill that would remove protections for police officers that have sexual intercourse with sex workers during prostitution investigations and stings. The bill was unanimously passed by the state senate, and now must pass through the house and be signed by the governor.

Support for the bill is rather strong, particularly as Michigan is the last state in the country to still have this type of immunity for officers on the books. Proponents of the bill explain that the immunity from criminal liability for officers having sex with an alleged sex worker during a prostitution investigation further victimizes sex workers, who are frequently the victims of pimping or human trafficking.

Last week, a California woman was arrested, 'Whip-it' in hand, inhaling laughing gas in front of a police officer. The woman was in her car, in a hospital parking lot, when an officer arrived at the scene due to a report of a woman in a car with a handgun. In addition to charges related to drug use, she may also be charged with carrying a concealed weapon, which was found in her car.

Although nitrous oxide, Whip-its, laughing gas, or similar chemicals and gases may not be illegal to possess, using these and other legal products as inhalants to get high usually will violate the law. Whip-its, for instance, are commonly used by bakers and hobbyists for purposes that do not involve getting high. However, the laughing gas filled cartridges are frequently abused due to their ready availability, which often confuses individuals into thinking that it's actually legal to use Whip-its as a drug.

The State of Texas is considering legislation to impose criminal penalties against individuals who falsely claim their pets are service animals. While this is a tragically common occurrence, the Texas law is nothing new. Under federal law, and many other states' laws, it is a crime to falsely claim a pet as a service animal.

Essentially, by claiming a pet is a service animal, a person is faking a disability to get the benefits that a disabled person is entitled to. The Texas bill would make it a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of $300 and 30 hours of community service. To be found guilty, a person would have to identify their animal as a service animal, and could do so simply by using a typical service animal type harness, or vest, and would need to have done so for the purpose of getting the benefit of having a service animal.

People were fairly creeped out when they discovered their smart TVs were tracking viewing data and could even be hacked to record video and sound wherever the television is located. But it's not just your TV you need to worry about.

A recent lawsuit claims Bose's wireless headphones use an app to track the music, podcasts, and other audio customers listen to, and the company then sells that information without permission. So is it illegal for your headphones to listen to what you're listening to?

Hell hath no fury like a man scorned who has access to an online dating app. A New York man says his ex-boyfriend created a multitude of fake accounts on the dating app Grindr to send 1,100 men to his home over the past five months, all looking for sex as part of a "rape fantasy."

And now he's suing the app, claiming product liability, fraud, and deceptive business practices for Grindr's failure to address the issue.

Making weird news headlines across the country is the recent lawsuit filed against the city of San Diego on behalf of a former mayor and his wife as a result of the wife's trip and fall on a city sidewalk. While this is just one of many lawsuits the city of San Diego has faced due to the poor maintenance of their city sidewalks, it may be the strangest. The plaintiff was walking along a San Diego sidewalk, when she tripped and fell over an unrepaired crack in the concrete walk.

While trip and falls are typical accidents, what's weird about this one is that the mayor's wife broke her breast implants.

But that's not all, it gets even weirder. In addition to the mayor's wife claiming that her fall resulted in two ruptured breast implants requiring surgery and a protracted, and painful, recovery, the mayor is claiming individual damages as well. Unlike the injury suffered by his wife, the mayor is seeking damages for the oft-pled legal claim of loss of consortium, commonly referred to as a loss of sex.

A Montana State University professor has filed a libel lawsuit against Walmart over the job description a Walmart employee entered on the professor's fishing license application. Rather than list the professors actual occupation of college professor, the employee wrote "cleans toilets." The following year, when the professor went to renew the license, the error remained despite the professor again informing the clerk of his occupation.

When the professor showed his license to fellow MSU teacher, the other teacher made a joke, within earshot of other students, about the fact that "cleans toilets" was listed on the license. The professor's lawsuit explains that in his culture, in Zambia, people who clean toilets are considered to be the lowest social class, and are shunned. The lawsuit asserts that the professor suffered embarrassment and shock as a result.

If you were looking to join Bluto, D-Day, Otter, and Boon this semester by pledging Delta Tau Chi, we've got some bad news for you. It looks like Dean Wormer has finally had the last laugh and banned our favorite frat from Farber College.

No, wait -- it was actually Alpha Delta, a real life frat that inspired the Animal House writers, that was banned from Dartmouth's campus. And there won't be a homecoming parade this time around.

A 65-year-old convicted serial bank robber is making headlines for asking the judge for the maximum sentence as well as to be sent to his favorite prison. As wacky as this sounds, the old-timer has his reasons. Fortunately for him, the judge agreed to hand out the maximum sentence, but did not comply with the request to send him to his preferred institution.

Chris Peak was released from custody most recently last year. However, he was told by prison doctors that he had approximately six months to live. That terminal diagnosis happened about two and half years ago. Peak, who has spent more time behind bars than free, asked the judge sentencing him for stealing $347 dollars during the commission of a bank robbery, for the maximum sentence, so that he might be able to die in prison. Peak used a knife to commit the crime, and then threatened a cab driver with the knife to attempt a getaway, but the driver reportedly disarmed peak and broke the blade. Peak received a 63 month sentence.

These days they're teaching kids all kinds of things at school. Thanks to the invention of "drunk goggles," kids can now be taught what it feels like to be drunk and have impaired vision.

Unfortunately for one Salt Lake City teen, one teacher's overzealous use of drunk goggles resulted in a fractured ankle, two surgeries, and one of her legs being permanently shorter than the other. In addition to those injuries, the teen, who used to run track competitively, now endures pain and swelling after engaging in physical activity.

A napping toddler was discovered in a shopping cart in the Walmart on Liberty Highway in Anderson, South Carolina at around 8:30 in the morning last Thursday. The only problem? The child's parents were nowhere to be found.

According to the Independent Mail, however, police who responded to the scene did notice a woman lurking around, who attempted to walk away as officers approached her. The woman turned out to be Ashley Spivey, the young boy's mother, who was quickly arrested and charged with child neglect.