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Eureka: Ridiculous but possible legal cases
by Jay Gutman
2018-06-28 07:08:16
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Food for thought for law students. There are cases that comedians like to joke about, but that could happen in court. Let's get to them, in no particular order.

-Is a hot dog a sandwich? Imagine that a caterer gets an order from an organization. An organization is hosting an event like a conference, a seminar or a reception. The organization orders three thousand brownies, four thousand cupcakes, and say, four thousand sandwiches, without specifying what kind of sandwich they expect. The caterer delivers the brownies and cupcakes, and sends four thousand hot dogs as sandwiches. The organization sues because they believe a hot dog is not a sandwich. The caterer believes a hot dog is a very legitimate sandwich. The judge has to decide whether a hot dog is a sandwich.

legal0001_400-Is a bicycle a vehicle. There's a road at the end of a downhill slope that says there's a speed limit of say 50 kilometers per hour. A bicycle goes there speeding at way over 50 kilometers per hour. Traffic law says that vehicles are not allowed to speed over 50 kilometers per hour for safety reasons. So is a bicycle, or a skateboard for that matter, a vehicle. The judge has to call on that one.

-Did he pick his nose or did he scratch it? A famous comedian is caught somewhere and a picture is taken of him where he seems to be picking his nose. A tabloid publishes the picture with the caption comedian so and so picks his nose. The comedian sues because he argues that there was no pick, that is was merely a scratch. Did the comedian pick his nose, or did he scratch it? The judge has to rule on this one.

-Can you plagiarize in a closed-book test? A student memorizes entire books and shows up for a test. The test is a closed-book test with essay type questions. The student jots down the answers from the book word for word. He gets an F for plagiarism. He argues that since the test was closed-book and not for publication, that he did not plagiarise and should get an A+. The judge has to decide whether reciting passages from a book on an essay-question type test is plagiarism.

-Can dead dogs hand down property and who gets what? A dog lived with a family and owned a diamond collar. The dog dies. Two brothers or sisters argue about what to do with the diamond collar. One wants to keep it, the other wants to sell it. One brother argues that he really took care of the dog, while the other argues that they should get an equal share of the property. If a dog dies and leaves property behind, who gets to keep what? That's a good one for the judge to decide.
-Can a company apply religious law? A company hires a young woman for a job. She does great work, but then the company finds out that she lives with her unmarried boyfriend. Her bosses become obnoxious with her, company staff becomes very rude with her and she eventually gets fired from the job. She has the feeling that the company, who has firm religious beliefs, sabotaged her because she acted in ways contrary to religious values in the privacy of her own home. Can a company apply religious law? One for the judge to decide.

-Is telling lies legal? A and B are best friends but A likes to tease B. Both are law school students. There's a test on Monday, but A tells B that Monday's class has been cancelled and that the test is the following Monday. B believes him and is a no-show on the test, gets an F which largely affects his GPA, thus affecting his chances of getting a scholarship for future studies. Is telling lies legal in this case? One for the judge to decide how far free speech can go.

-Finally, and in the same spirit, can you call a sacred object “toilet paper”? Comedians often refer to sacred texts and objects in degogatory words. Some will call sacred objects or scriptures vulgar or obsene things. Is that legal, or is it in the same spirit of lying and misrepresentation? One for the judge to decide.

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