Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

July 2017 Archives

It would be one thing if Afzal Lokhandwala were advertising buckets of KFC as "holy" or posting a sign that said God loves his thighs extra crispy. Instead, Lokhandwala is merely trying to reassure his thousands of Muslim customers that the chicken served at his eight Chicago-area franchises is certified "Halal," or butchered properly under Islamic law. Which it is -- Lokhandwala even registered, at KFC's suggestion, as a dealer of Halal food products with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Still, KFC is refusing to allow Lokhandwala to post signage stating the company's products at his locations are Halal, and threatening possible termination of his franchises if he does. Fearing the loss of customers, Lokhandwala is now suing to make religious claims about the chicken, and keep his stores open.

One of the most iconic pieces of facial hair from the last century was still in "its classic 10-past-10 position," almost 30 years after its wearer was embalmed and buried. That's how Lluis Penuelas, secretary general of the Dali Foundation, described Salvador Dali's impeccably waxed mustache after the surrealist's body was exhumed for DNA testing last week.

His embalmer, Narcis Bardalet, was equally impressed, calling the discovery "a miracle," adding, "Salvador Dali is forever." Whether the artist's genes also live on past his death remains to be seen.

A judge in Tennessee is making national headlines over a new policy he recently approved. If an inmate in county prison wants to take 30 days off their incarceration, men can get a vasectomy, and women can have a birth control device implanted.

The judge was quick to point out that this is not some form of eugenics. Rather, he contends that it's a way to help inmates more easily reintegrate into society after release. He stated that the hope is to encourage inmates to take "personal responsibility" and that "not being burdened with children" would benefit former inmates after their release. Previously, this same judge instituted a policy that would cut two days off a jail term if an inmate took a course on why it's bad to use drugs around children.

When we first heard about the saga of Bud, gray parrot that may have been repeating the last words of his murdered owner, we were skeptical about whether his "testimony" would be admissible in court. Those words -- "Don't f***ing shoot" -- might "come in under Michigan's 'excited utterance' exception or 'statement under belief of impending death' exception," we wrote, but the parrot's evidence would probably be inadmissible in a criminal trial.

But Bud's assertions must have had some effect, as Glenna Duram, wife of murder victim and parrot owner Martin Duram, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the case.

Normally, if you show up on your attorney's doorstep with a dead body, things aren't going to turn out well. But they didn't end up too badly for Bokeelia resident John Marshall, who delivered the corpse of his neighbor, whom he had just shot and killed, to the Harris Law Firm in Fort Meyers, Florida in the back of his pickup truck.

A grand jury declined to indict Marshall, finding no evidence that he committed a crime.

If you put a million monkeys at a million typewriters, eventually, you'll be sued by PETA. However, if one of those monkeys types "it was the best of bananas, it was the worst of bananas," and you publish that breakthrough in random text generation without the monkey's permission, will that monkey be able to sue you for copyright infringement? PETA thinks so.

Currently, whether a primate can even hold a copyright is being decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Spoiler alert, the court is more likely than not going to say no. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit over the now world-famous macaque selfie back in 2015. PETA is seeking a court order not just awarding the copyright to the primate, but also wants to be authorized to control the proceeds earned from the photograph, on the animal's behalf.

In a story that's too strange to not be true, one South Carolina inmate escaped from prison with a little help from a drone. Fortunately, the inmate is back behind bars, but authorities found him, literally asleep in a Texas motel, with nearly $50,000 in cash, along with a couple guns, and multiple cell phones, just a few days after his escape.

Jimmy Causey, who was sentenced to life for kidnapping, allegedly received wire cutters and a cell phone from a drone. Then, around 8 p.m. on the fourth of July, Causey used the wire cutters to get through four fences and escape. He was not noticed as missing until the next afternoon as it is reported that he made a dummy that he left in his bed so that he would still be counted.

While southern California surf towns, like Laguna Beach, might be known for being full of hot air, liberal people, and progressive notions, there's no shortage of anti-tobacco sentiment. In fact, in May 2017, the city of Laguna Beach actually banned all smoking in all public places. Even outside a bar, late at night, after a few drinks. Even for vapers, e-cig users, marijuana smokers, and midnight tokers.

The Laguna Beach smoking ban prohibits an individual from smoking anywhere in the city except on their own private property and in their cars. A first offense can result in a $100 ticket, with subsequent offenses leading to an increased fine.

One resident of the Trump Palace tower in Miami, Florida, has filed a lawsuit against the condo tower. However, unlike most lawsuits these days against a Trump entity, there's nothing political about this one. The case is due to a cleaning crew that threw away 15 paintings, which were worth approximately $80,000.

According to one report, the plaintiff, Ronny Lustigman, is an art dealer and collector. Last year, he had the paintings delivered to his condo. Rather than store the paintings inside his unit, the paintings were stored in a hallway where residents often store items. Unfortunately, the cleaning crew allegedly mistook the paintings for garbage and hauled them away. Sadly, it's reported that Lustigman only recovered one of the paintings, since, luckily, the driver of the garbage truck saw the paintings and took one home. The rest were hauled away. Presently, it is unknown what became of the other 14 works.

For the first minute, and each minute after that, a phone-sex operator has filed a lawsuit claiming that her employer is violating minimum wage laws. While expectant customers can pay $5 per minute, the operators, shockingly, only make between $0.10 to $0.07 per minute. That means, at best, operators are making $6.00 per hour and potentially only $4.20 per hour. Other services are equally unimpressive.

The lawsuit alleges that the company, Tele Pay, which operates the nation's leading phone-sex network, systematically pays workers below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The lawsuit explains that Tele Pay does not claim to be employing individuals but rather claims to be acting as a talent booking service looking to connect entertainers with individuals.