Trick, treat, or travesty? Tales from the legal crypt

Posted: October 30, 2017

It’s fun to be spooked when it’s candy-hunting kids in costumes but kind of creepy if you find yourself in a twisted legal situation. To mark the holiday, here’s a smattering silly or strange stories from our world:

Witchy Deposition

One of the more popular destinations for Halloween fright is Salem, Mass., home of the famous 17th-century witch trials. Recently, a rare find, one of the transcripts from the trial of accused widow Margaret Scott, went to auction and sold for $137, 500.

Now that’s bewitching!

Simple Frights 

Think your job is a grind? Try deposing this guy, a county official being pressed to provide more public record access to taxpayers.

Q. During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder’s office, has the Recorder’s office had photocopying machines?
A. When you say “photocopying machine,” what do you mean?

This single towering ontological question consumed nearly 10 pages of transcript.

Read it. You’re guaranteed to laugh, cry or lose your mind.

Strange Selfies

We’ve seen a lot of duckfaces in selfies, but never a … smiling monkey? PETA filed a lawsuit trying to claim a female macaque monkey should have copyrights to a selfie it took on a stolen camera…

That’s some scary monkey business…

War of the Worlds in a Deposition

On Halloween Eve, 1938, Orson Welles and team aired War of the Worlds, which caused great panic and concern among citizens who listened to the radio program and believed Martians were invading the Earth.

As Smithsonian Magazine reported, depositions told some of the story: In a 1960 court deposition, as part of a lawsuit suing CBS to be recognized as the broadcast’s rightful co-author, Welles offered an explanation for his inspiration for War of the Worlds: “I had conceived the idea of doing a radio broadcast in such a manner that a crisis would actually seem to be happening,” he said, “and would be broadcast in such a dramatized form as to appear to be a real event taking place at that time, rather than a mere radio play.”

Take that, reality TV!

Ghostly Grievance

Reader’s Digest reported on a lawsuit filed against a haunted house for being too scary. There were several appeals before the case died. As the judge declared, “Who would want to go to a haunted house that is not scary?”

Would you dare to visit?

Beware the Bananas

Lawsuits over costume copyrights are more prevalent than ever, and lately the banana is the plaintiff.

Be careful of bananas saying boo!

Say what?

A graduating law student was interviewing with Dewey & Leboeuf and politely asked, “how is the firm’s name actually pronounced?” Fair question. The answer came back… “Jones Day.”

The student had gotten his interview schedule confused.

Wonder if the interview was supposed to take place on October 31?

A consumer’s nightmare

A guy bought a new car. First time it rained, the car’s interior flooded. He brought it to the dealer, got it looked at, and experienced the same problem the next time it rained. He ended up taking the same car to the same shop for the same problem with the same result some 27 more times.

Finally, he called his lawyer and sued. Turned out a crucial part was missing. Why did it take so long?

“The dealer was a nice guy.”

Now that’s a true case of insanity.

When Depositions are Chilling

Earlier this year one attorney used her iced coffee to douse opposing counsel after he suggested she needed to take a break during a deposition. She denied “throwing” the cold coffee even though witnesses in the room corroborated the opposing counsel’s story. She was sanctioned by a judge and ordered to pay a $250 fine.

Luckily, it wasn’t a cauldron of steaming brew.

As you can see, litigation can be quite scary even when you’re not betting the company. We hope all your horrors are happy ones!