Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Legal Procedures Category

We've noted before that, while Reddit's legal advice section was a decent source of humor, it's not such a great source of legal advice. So when we saw one humorous looking post, we couldn't resist taking a look at the ensuing legal advice.

"[M]y mom has power of attorney for me (im in my mid twenties) [sic] and now because I haven't cleaned my room I'm on the verge of being kicked out of the house, sent to a group home, and having my phone turned off," wrote one user. "She locks the refrigerator and freezers up because 'she can't trust me to not eat everything in the house.'" So what did the legal experts on Reddit have to say?

Velcro's marketing department scored a huge victory this week, as their heavily bleeped music video featuring actual in-house attorneys imploring consumers to say "hook and loop" rather than "Velcro" went viral. If not, these company lawyers explain, Velcro may "lose our circle R," or trademark on their own company name.

Known in intellectual property law circles as "genericide," a trademark can be deemed to be abandoned if the mark becomes the generic name for the goods or services on or in connection with which it is used. While that fate has befallen brands like Hoover, Jacuzzi, and Frisbee, Velcro is hoping to avoid being the next victim. But is it really up to consumers to protect a company's trademark?

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.

One New York man is making headlines after his arrest for first degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Darwin Barnes, of Rochester, New York, has somehow managed to have his driver's license suspended 46 times. What makes this even more shocking is that Barnes is only 51 years old. Hold off on doing the math for a minute.

On Monday, Barnes was pulled over doing 30 mph over the speed limit. When officers ran his information, not only did they discover that Barnes' license was currently under suspension, but that his license had been suspended 45 other times over 17 different occasions. Assuming he started driving at 16, he is averaging 1 occasion of suspension every 2 years (with each occasion averaging 3 license suspensions). Believe it or not, Barnes still has 20+ suspensions to go before he catches up to the thirty-something year old Paul Wheeler from Indiana.

In an odd case of becoming the thing you hate, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has been assigned to serve as defense counsel on a criminal case by the state's public defender office. This is the same public defender's office whose budget he's been slashing for the past seven years.

In response to these budget cuts, Director of the Missouri State Public Defender Michael Barrett invoked a previously unused state statute that gives his office authority to assign cases to private attorneys. Gov. Nixon, previously the state's attorney general, was Barrett's attorney of choice.

Salma Hayek's Neighbor Admits to Shooting, Killing Her Dog

Salma Hayek's dog was killed by a neighbor in the Seattle area in mid-February and the shooting was ruled justified by the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, NBC News reports. Nonetheless, the county will send the case of the actress's shot dog to prosecutors for review, said spokesman Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.

Hayek's neighbor, who is an animal lover and dog owner, has expressed deep regret over Hayek's dog's death. She wasn't aware that it belonged to the actress, or even that the dog was dead. Here's what reportedly happened.

We know, we know: no one actually reads the terms of service. Well, someone must've read through Amazon's terms of service for its game-development software, because it turns out those terms can be disregarded in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Does this mean Amazon Prime members can finally get drone delivery if society collapses because reanimated human corpses are transmitting a widespread viral infection by feeding on living flesh?

New York Man Legally Changed Name to Darth Vader

People are crazy about the movie "Star Wars." They will wait in line weeks to get a ticket to the premiere of a new franchise release and cry when they finally see it on screen. True devotees are many and they are committed like few other super fans.

The Star Wars frenzy is reaching new heights with the recent opening of "The Force Awakens," and geeks everywhere are competing to show they're the most into the movie. But no one will beat what Darth Vader already did last year. A New York man legally changed his name to that of the movie villain, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Sometimes, you have to look out for number 1.

While some reports call her a snitch, Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz avoided prison by helping prosecutors go after five conspirators in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. However, this doesn't mean she gets off scott free. Cotellessa-Pitz must serve 250 hours of community service, has forfeited all her assets, and was ordered to forfeit a symbolic $97.3 billion is restitution.

That's $97.3 billion with a "B." She's a secretary.

What Color Is #TheDress? Why Eyewitnesses Can Be Unreliable

Within a day, a single Tumblr post about the color of a dress had been viewed over 28 million times. Caitlin McNeill, who attended a wedding in Scotland, asked an innocent-enough question: Is this dress white and gold or black and blue?

With all the strong opinions floating around social media (using the hashtag #TheDress), you'd think she asked if it was OK to strangle a puppy. But, no, war broke out over how people perceive the color of a dress (your author thinks it looks white and gold, by the way, though my editor disagrees).

People can perceive things in wildly different ways, which isn't just a problem for a woman trying to buy a dress. It also influences our criminal justice system.