Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

December 2014 Archives

Top 10 Legal Grounds Stories of 2014

Many legal news stories deal with gravely serious, important issues. Not all of them, though.

This year certainly had its fair share of crudely humorous, laughably oddball, and head-scratching legal stories, from massively popular naked bike rides to significantly less popular farting cops. There were also quite a few unorthodox legal questions that needed answering this year.

For the best of both, here are the 10 most popular Legal Grounds blog posts of 2014:

Zombie Nativity Scene Cannot Stand, Ohio Township Says

An Ohio man has been ordered to remove a Zombie nativity scene from his front yard by township officials.

Jasen Dixon built the homemade 10-by-10-foot structure three weeks ago, reports The Columbus Dispatch. Inside, life-size figures including a zombie Jesus and skeletal wise men re-enact a zombified version of the typical Christmas nativity scene. But officials in Sycamore Township, near Cincinnati, are threatening Dixon with legal action if he doesn't remove the scene by Friday.

What do officials say Dixon did wrong?

Man Falls Through Ceiling, Gets Arrested for Armed Burglary

A 19-year-old man's alleged burglary of a Florida bakery came to crashing halt when he fell through the ceiling of the business, landing on a rack of potato chips.

Chacarion Avant was arrested after being discovered by the bakery's owner, who told WKMG-TV he initially thought Avant was a customer before noticing the hole in the ceiling. Avant was injured in the fall and was taken to the hospital, but not before being charged with armed burglary and giving false information to police.

Why is Avant being charged with burglary if he didn't actually steal anything? Does pride criminal intent come before the fall?

'Night Before Christmas' Retrial Finds Poem Misattributed

After last year's mock trial to determine the true author of the Christmas poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" ended in a hung jury, the City of Troy, New York decided to retry the case again this year.

Following the mock retrial, a six-member jury selected randomly from the crowd in attendance was asked to choose which of two possible candidates was in fact the author of the anonymously published poem, which famously begins with the line "'Twas the night before Christmas."

What were the jury's choices, and who did the jurors ultimately decide was the poem's true author?

Wis. Man Blames 10th OWI on Beer-Battered Fish

A man pulled over for drunken driving had a unique excuse for smelling like booze: a recent dinner of beer-battered fish.

John Przybyla, 75, of Friendship, Wisconsin, was pulled over on suspicion of OWI (operating while under the influence) in October; he also had nine prior OWI offenses on his record. When the arresting deputy approached Przybyla's car, Przybyla allegedly told the deputy that the alcohol smell was due to the beer-battered fish he had eaten.

We can't resist saying that this story smells fishy, but what about the legal meat of the case?

'Comfyballs' Underwear Denied Trademark by U.S. Patent Office

The manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear say that they were denied trademark by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office because the name of their brand is too "vulgar."

Comfyballs is a Norwegian underwear company established in 2013, reports The Telegraph. The company's underwear is designed to reduce heat and restrict movement of a man's testicles as he goes about his daily business. In other words: The company's product purports to live up to the company's name.

What prompted the USPTO to deny Comfyballs' application to register the company name as a trademark?

Woman, 70, Asks N.M. Attorney General to Let Her Play Bingo

A senior New Mexico woman is fighting to get back to playing bingo in her local bingo hall, even attempting to enlist the help of New Mexico's attorney general.

Evangeline Shelland, 70, was barred from playing bingo at the Fraternal Order of Eagles club in Alamogordo, New Mexico, nearly two years ago. According to Albuquerque's KRQE-TV, Shelland has spent most of that time fighting tooth and nail to play at the venue she's attended since 1985.

What is legally keeping Shelland from her passion for bingo?

N.Y. Couple Marries on Subway Train; Is the Law On Board Too?

A New York couple made the most of their subway ride on Friday by getting married on the train.

The unorthodox wedding occurred aboard an N-line train traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan, where Hector Irakliotis, 26, and Tatyana Sandler, 25, tied the knot in front of friends and random commuters. According to the New York Daily News, the train held a special significance for the couple as the backdrop of much of their romantic history.

Can couples actually be married on a subway train?