Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

April 2014 Archives

3 Women Arrested for 'Twerking,' but They're Not the 1st

Arrested for twerking? What is this, "Footloose"?

Well, not exactly. Brittany Medak, 20, Christie Valazquez Coura, 20, and Leokham Yothsombath, 22, were arrested in Beaverton, Oregon, but the arrest likely had little to do with the dancing itself. According to The Oregonian, the trio started twerking in the parking lot of Beaverton's City Hall, immediately after one of them paid a fine.

The exhibition wasn't complete, however, as the girls reportedly flashed their genitals at the building before one of them lifted her skirt and urinated between two cars. They were pulled over shortly after leaving. Police officers, shockingly enough, allegedly found marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs in the car, reports UPI.

Med Student Auctions Her Virginity: Is This Legal?

A bidding war is on for a 27-year-old medical student's virginity, with the top bid Tuesday listed at $300,000. Is this even legal?

Going by the pseudonym "Elizabeth Raine," the med student opened the auction on March 31 and plans to close it by May 7. "Raine" told The Huffington Post that she fears "getting kicked out of medical school" if officials discover her "Med School Virgin" identity.

Can "Raine" legally auction off her virginity? And can her med school give her the boot?

AirTHC Bets on 'High' Demand for Pot-Friendly Rentals in Colo.

Weed tourism seems to be a booming business for Colorado, where a new startup called AirTHC is providing pot enthusiasts with legal places to enjoy herb.

The company launched in early April, just in time for the reefer reverie of 4/20. Denver's KMGH-TV reports that AirTHC was inspired to "fill a void" between legal marijuana and a lack of places to legally smoke.

So what's the low-down on AirTHC's high-ly anticipated rentals?

In 'Corpse Explosion' Lawsuit, State Farm Wins Over Condo Owner

No, this isn't a horror movie, but a Florida woman did claim that her neighbor's undiscovered corpse "exploded' and damaged her property, so State Farm, her insurer, should cover the damages.

State Farm disagreed with Judy Rodrigo's exploding corpse claim. At trial, Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal sided with State Farm, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

For insurance purposes, the court ruled that a decomposing body was not an insurable explosion.

Squatters Invade Soldier's Home; Will Legal Battle Ensue?

A soldier previously deployed in Afghanistan was surprised to learn that his Florida home had been invaded by squatters who have no intention of leaving.

While currently stationed in Hawaii, soldier Michael Sharkey asked a friend to check up on his house in New Port Richey, north of Tampa, only to find out that "strangers broke in, changed the locks, moved in and they refuse to leave," reports Tampa Bay's WFLA-TV.

Do these squatters have any legal claim to the soldier's home?

Defendant Wants 'Murder' Neck Tattoo Covered Up Before Trial

A Kansas murder suspect wants to cover up his "MURDER" neck tattoo prior to trial, but there are some legal and logistical problems in his way.

Jeffrey Chapman has been charged with the 2011 murder of Damon Galliart, whose body was found by hunters, reports Wichita, Kansas' KWCH-TV. Chapman and his attorney worry that the tattoo may prejudice jurors in his upcoming murder trial.

While it may be difficult to muster up sympathy for a murder defendant whose tattoo literally screams "MURDER," Chapman isn't without options.

Patient Sues Doctors for Making Fun of Him During Colonoscopy

Medical procedures may hurt physically, but what about hurting your feelings?

A colonoscopy patient in Virginia is suing his doctors for defamation and infliction of emotional distress after the medical professionals made fun of him after administering anesthesia, according to United Press International.

The doctors allegedly joked about "firing a gun up [the patient's] rectum," and it was all caught on a phone recording.

Woman Sues Over '8THEIST' License Plate Rejection

A New Jersey woman is suing the state's Motor Vehicle Commission after being denied an "8THEIST" license plate.

Shannon Morgan filed suit against the Commission in federal court Thursday, claiming that the denial of her application for a license plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Does Morgan have a right to be "8THEIST" on the road?

Long-Haired Woman Sues Walmart Over Shampoo-Related 'Suffering'

A long-haired woman is suing Walmart after a shampoo purchase allegedly forced her to cut several feet of her hair.

Jennifer Fahey, 30, of Portland, Oregon, alleges that she bought a bottle of Equate Everyday Clean Dandruff Shampoo at Walmart and was dismayed to find that the product made her long-grown locks "irreparably tangled." Fahey is suing Walmart and the shampoo's manufacturer for the suffering caused by her de-coifing.

Can Fahey's hair-related suffering make Walmart pay out?

Stop Using ALL CAPS to Email Kids, UK Court Tells Dad

You may think that using ALL CAPS in emails may get your point across better, but some courts around the world have told people to just STOP already.

For example, in England, a judge told an "insensitive" father that he has to stop emailing his children in all capital letters because it looks like he's yelling at them. Apparently, the all-caps emails were hurting his role in a custody dispute, according to UPI.

Besides emails to your kids, can all-caps emails get you in trouble at work?

Are Airbnb Rentals Turning Into Hooker Hot Spots?

Airbnb is already on thin ice in many cities, but New York City sex workers are turning these short-term rental apartments into brothels, according to a new report.

The New York Post says at least one escort service has turned to Airbnb for a "more discreet" and cost-effective alternative to hotels. The rooms are rented by each individual escort who then pays the rent with a pre-paid debit card, leaving the owners unaware of the "business" that went down in their homes.

What's up with these Airbnb rentals (allegedly) becoming hooker hot spots?

Video of Drunk Lawyer in Taxicab Leads to Arrests, Lawsuit

A strange and provocative taxicab interaction has landed a Louisiana lawyer with a misdemeanor battery conviction. And the cabbie who captured the incident on cell phone video is now suing the police.

Jennifer Gaubert, 33, is a New Orleans attorney and ex-host of a legal call-in radio show called "Law Out Loud." She's alleged to have filed false accusations against cab driver Hervey Farrell, claiming that he was trying to blackmail her with the video. Gaubert claimed that Farrell had recorded her sexually propositioning him and threatened to release the video unless she paid up, reports The Times-Picayune.

But prosecutors didn't buy it, and have charged Gaubert with a felony for allegedly filing false statements. What exactly was going on between Gaubert and her cabbie?

Is Ohio Bully's Public Shaming a Sign of the Times?

Many people think that bullies need to be publicly shamed, and an Ohio judge certainly felt the same way.

South Euclid, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams-Byers ordered Edmond Aviv, 62, to stand at an intersection while holding a sign saying that he bullied disabled children, according to Judge Williams-Byers also sentenced Aviv to 15 days in jail, seven months probation, and 100 hours of community service and counseling.

Aviv's public shaming stems from a disorderly conduct charge.

God, 26, Sues Credit Agency for Rejecting His Name

A Brooklyn man is suing Equifax over the right to use his given name: God.

God Gazarov, 26, owns a jewelry store in Brighton Beach and was outraged when the credit-reporting agency suggested that he change his name in order to obtain his proper credit history, reports the New York Post. Gazarov, a native of Russia, is named after his grandfather. His lawsuit seeks to force Equifax to accept "God" as his proper name.

Can Gazarov sue to make "God" a part of Equifax's business?

Nursing Home Stripper Lawsuit Claims Woman, 86, Was 'Shaken'

First there was a senior prostitution ring at a nursing home, now a nursing home is facing a lawsuit for a stripper show.

Bernice Youngblood, 85, a patient at East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New York, and her family are suing her nursing home for urging her to participate and view a strip show against her will, according to the Associated Press.

The rehab center said the show was requested by the resident committee.

Laptop Thief Caught Thanks to Viral Video, Tweeting Tipster

A programmer in San Francisco got some justice after posting a viral video that showed her smartphone and laptop being swiped from a neighborhood cafe.

Police arrested Paul Raynal, 32, on Monday, after a tweeting tipster who'd seen the viral video spotted the alleged perpetrator at a nearby Starbucks -- wearing the same outfit seen in the video from three days earlier.

Can social media and stupidity combine to fight crime?

Squirrel-Cooking Lawsuit Seeks $2M for Apartment Fire

Using a propane torch in a small apartment is never a good idea. But using it to prepare a squirrel for dinner and then leaving the torch next to a plastic plant holder that causes a fire is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Khek Chanthalavong, 38, and his live-in girlfriend Barbara Pellow are being sued by an insurance company after Chanthalavong's squirrel roast allegedly caused a fire that destroyed a building at their apartment complex, according to Grand Rapids, Michigan's WOOD-TV.

Pellow is claiming that she had nothing to do with the fire, but the insurance company says their lease makes them both jointly liable for the fire.

Text Message Breakup Costs Man $53K Engagement Ring

A man who broke up with his ex-fiancee by text message has lost his legal claim over a $53,000 engagement ring that he wanted back.

A New York judge ruled that Louis J. Billittier Jr., 55, couldn't get the expensive ring back from his former would-be-wife because of what he said to her during the text-message breakup, reports The Buffalo News.

Did a loose-lipped text crush Billittier's engagement ring case?

Breast Milk Morphine Death: Mom Gets 20 Years; Appeal Likely

A South Carolina woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing her infant daughter by an overdose of morphine that was transmitted through breast milk.

Stephanie Greene, 39, a former nurse, was found guilty of homicide by child abuse. Greene apparently had a history of using painkillers to combat chronic pain caused by a car accident and other health issues, reports The Associated Press.

Greene's lawyer says she plans to appeal her conviction, but on what grounds?

Pot Cookies a 'Significant' Factor in Tourist's Death: Coroner

While marijuana is usually known for mellowing users out, a college student visiting Colorado for spring break jumped off a balcony after eating pot cookies and died, a coroner's report states.

Levy Thamba, 19, wanted to try out the "legal" pot in Colorado, investigators say. But what was slated to be a fun trip turned tragic when Thamba jumped off his hotel's fourth-floor balcony after a bad reaction to pot cookies, The Denver Post reports.

There are many legal questions yet to be answered, including whether anyone can potentially be held liable for Thamba's death.

Priest Gets Busted for DUI, Firearms, Pot Possession

An Alaskan priest is facing DUI, firearms, and pot charges after a less-than-pious stunt on the Parks Highway.

Father Sean P. Thomson, 52, was pulled over for weaving into oncoming traffic and speeding, after which the officer discovered he was packing both heat and weed, reports The Associated Press.

Priests may be forgiven, but Thomson will need more than penitence before a judge.

Viral 'Instant Karma' Road Rage Video Gets Driver Arrested

Viral video of an incident entitled "Redneck Road Rage / Instant Karma" got the attention of Florida law enforcement, and landed the alleged road rager behind bars.

Jeffrey White, 33, was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, and not wearing a seatbelt, according to Tampa's WTSP-TV.

Turns out legal karma is a b---- too. But what about the other driver who captured the video on a cell phone while behind the wheel herself?