Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


McDonald's Quarter Pounder Lawsuit

There are real problems, and then there are first-world problems. As first-world inhabitants, we expect things to be exactly as we want. The temperature of the shower is not too hot and not too cold. Our coffees have just the right amount of sugar substitute and steamed soy milk. And our t.v.'s are programmed to let us watch whatever we want, when we want. And we want what we pay for. When these things aren't just right, it's easy to become indignant.

A couple of Florida fast-food fans are taking their own first-world, capitalist grievances to court against McDonald's. They're upset that they're being charged for cheese on their Quarter Pounders, cheese that they either don't want, or didn't receive. They're seeking justice and at least $5 million.

Is a Chimpanzee Entitled to Habeas Relief?

While the Framers of the Constitution probably didn't envision granting legal rights to non-human animals, they probably also didn't foresee canine birthday parties and pet resorts. And let's be honest, you probably feel there are some animals who are more deserving of certain rights than some of our human brethren. Nonetheless, animals do not have the same rights as humans, as a New York court recently explained in a case where lawyers argued that chimpanzees were entitled to habeas relief.

Martino Recchia was homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles, and caring for 20 birds when animal control officers showed up at his tent to investigate complaints about the animals in 2011. Officers found 18 pigeons, a crow, and a seagull in boxes and cages in his home on a sidewalk, all in various states of health, according to reports.

The city decided to seize all of the animals, giving Recchia 10 days to request a hearing to regain custody. But before that deadline was up, a city veterinarian euthanized all the pigeons, claiming they could've been carrying pathogens without ever testing their blood. Recchia sued the city, and his case was dismissed by a lower court. But a federal appeals court revived some his claims, saying his constitutional rights might've been violated.

Caught red-fingered? With his hands in the Play-Doh jar? Any way you pun it, one man's cat burglar-like efforts to thwart anti-theft devices at a Leicester, Massachusetts Walmart backfired in a pretty impressive fashion, leading to his arrest.

The evidence he left behind? A solitary fingerprint in a piece of yellow and red Play-Doh.

A magic tricks (or "illusion" if you prefer) ceases to be magic if the audience knows how it works. And the trick ceases to be valuable to the magician who invented it if other magicians can just steal it.

So what kind of legal protections do magicians have against the exposure or theft of tricks illusions? Not many.

Dr. Pepper Sued Over Ginger Ale Labeling

People say there are a lot of health benefits associated with consuming ginger. From digestion and nausea to inflammation and heart health, it's touted as a wonder root. Maybe that's why some people drink ginger ale, whether on its own or mixed with whiskey.

But what if there's no real ginger in ginger ale? One man is heading a class action suit against Dr. Pepper, claiming their ginger ale doesn't actually contain ginger, despite labeling that says otherwise.

There's a fine line between what you can do during a traffic stop by police and what you should do. Sure, maybe you can flip off, insult, or swear at a police officer, but that doesn't mean you should.

What you should do is not pull up to a traffic stop to pick up your daughter, attempt to pull rank on some local cops as a Port Authority Commissioner, then drop the f-bomb on your way out. Otherwise you can quickly resign from that position.

Airline Passenger Fined $500 for Keeping Free Apple

We've all done it. Whether it's an extra bag of peanuts, that delightful magazine of stuff you definitely don't need, or a complimentary set of earphones, we've all intentionally or accidentally taken free stuff with us when getting off a plane. And it pretty much never matters (until you're stranded somewhere and you find that miracle bag of peanuts at the bottom of your purse).

But whatever you do, don't go through Customs with any fruits or vegetables from your flight. A Delta passenger learned that lesson the hard way when she was fined $500 for having the audacity to cross the border carrying an apple given to her during her flight from Paris.

The happiest place on earth might be in Anaheim, California, or Orlando, Florida, or wherever you might happen across hundreds of knockoff wax Disney figures, each stuffed with about a pound of crystallized ice methamphetamine.

"This is a family-based theme, a Disney theme," DEA Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Robert Murphy told Atlanta's Fox 5, "but there's nothing good about what this would do to any family if this hit the street." We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

Teacher Arrested for Classroom 'Fight Club'

Some stories just leave you shaking your head -- like news about Bill Cosby or anything recent involving Lindsay Lohan. And things take a special turn when the story involves teachers behaving badly or children getting hurt.

After a series of events that combines both, a former substitute math teacher has been arrested and charged for essentially supervising a classroom "fight club." It's hard to see what a fight club has to do with math, but at least the teacher can use his skills to add up the amount of jail time he's facing if convicted.