Legal Humour Blog


January 2017

The Jury Has Spoken- Too Bad

Jan 8, 2017 12:35 PM
Marcel Strigberger

A jury in Toronto recently found nobody liable for an accident where an allegedly drunk driver ran a red light and smashed into the plaintf’‘s vehicle, making a left turn.  The jury should have rendered a liability split of sorts but failed to do so, saying the split was zero/zero. This did not help the plaintiff too much.

The noble six pack of people representing a random cluster of folks standing in line behind you at a Tim Hortons once again showed us what juries can do to our judicial system.

I cannot think of any other profession where lay people are called upon or rather forced to show up kicking and screaming to a hostile forum and render a decision that can affect a person’s life big time.

Take the world of medicine  I can just imagine a hospital sending out random notices to residents demanding that they attend for a 3 week period at which time they may be called upon to do their duty and assist in surgeries.  The notice supposedly might have an exemption area where the recipient can note why he or she should not have to attend for compelling reasons, like maybe he is a hypochondriac.

And how would jury selection take place?  I suppose the head nurse can draw the names of potential jurors out of a bedpan.  The surgeons would then agree or challenge. To wit:

    Scrub Nurse: “Number 237, George Langley, baker”

    Dr   Hendrix: What kind of baker is he?

    Scrub Nurse: Your are not entitled to more information doctor.   

    Dr Hendrix: OK, I am content.

    Dr Williams: Hold on there.  This patient is skinny.  The baker may be biased.  I challenge.

I suppose the jury would also decide on how the anaesthetist proceeds.

    Anaesthetist: Members of the jury, should I use Diazepam or Protofol?

    Jury Foreman:   Neither.  I heard eating turkey makes you sleepy. Can you give the patient 100 grams of a drumstick?

    Patient: Hey, I’m a vegetarian.

    Jurors in unison: You stay out of this. What do you know about medicine?

Naturally the surgeons would turn to the jurors for directions along the way.   

    Dr Hendrix: Haemostat please.

    Juror A: What’s a Haemostat? Is that in case it gets cool in the room?

    Juror B:       I have one. I got it at Home Depot.

    Dr Williams: No, no. It’s an instrument used to prevent massive bleeding.

    Juror C:       Bleeding? Nobody said anything about there being blood.  I can’t watch this. What am I doing here?

At the conclusion of the surgery the medical team has to defer to the jury on some questions.  

    Scrub Nurse: Members of the jury, I shall now charge you.  One question you must answer is how many sponges do the surgeons have to remove from the patient’s abdomen?  Dr Hendrix in his closing statement urged you to find the number to be 14.  Dr Williams asks you to find the total to be between 3-5.  The decision will be yours only.  You are the masters of the facts.

Don’t we all fell great knowing that since the Magna Carta, we have the privilege at trials of being judged by our peers!  


I practice civil litigation and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com.  Does anyone get the feeling I am not crazy about the jury system in civil matters?

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December 2016

Incorrect Politically Correct

Dec 23, 2016 12:39 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The politically correct fanatics, university division, are at it again.  This time the target was Sandor Dosman, the operator for 4 years of a cafe for graduate students at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.  His war crime was posting a humourous ad for help. The ad started out seeking, "A new slave...and the pay being crap unless you're really good then it's just OK."

Some student supposedly was obviously traumatized by the ad and anonymously, courageously tweeted a complaint. The graduate student KGB summoned Dosman and terminated his contract on the spot, having two security guards escort the guy out forthwith, graciously allowing him the opportunity to remove his cash till and accessories.

As comedian Jerry Seinfeld says, you cannot perform comedy at universities anymore as the audience finds everything offensive.

I agree. I decided to open a dictionary at a random page expecting to find words that would be offensive to these P.Cs.  By chance I came across the word "ball".  Reader discretion advised as I run with this one.  Should you find it too disturbing, I understand there is some government 800 number you can call for professional psychological support.

What comes to mind first to me is baseball. My mind then runs to Cleveland Indians. We all know how this name has these people running to that safe place.  I then think of football and coupled with baseball, I see Americana.  This leads me to President Elect Donald Trump.  The very mention of his name crosses a red line.  To spare the potentially threatened, we shall not talk about judges wearing "make America great again" hats.

Then let us look at “ball” as in a royal ball.  I know this will be repugnant as it will remind many victims of the prince's ball in Cinderella.  If that story isn't sexist, elitist and misogynistic, nothing is. The part where the prince's lackeys scour the kingdom for the foot belonging to that lost glass slipper will trigger an incurable case of post traumatic stress disorder across university students unions globally.

And please note, the word ball creates an emotional tsunami just in its singular use.  I have not even discussed where the plural form of this word might take us.  I cannot even dare utter it.  That would take balls.

The holiday season is upon us. I wish one and all, ladies and gentlemen, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year and whatever else you may be celebrating.  Actually I just know that there is something possibly verboten in this holiday greeting.

I practice family and personal injury law. Please visit www.striglaw.com.  No humans were harmed in penning this blog.




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November 2016

Judges with Hats

Nov 20, 2016 8:33 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    All hell is breaking loose following Ontario Court of Justice Judge Zabel entering his Hamilton courtroom after the U.S. election, wearing a Donald Trump red campaign baseball hat reading, “Make America Great Again”.  

    Naturally there has been  an uproar from the usual suspects claiming that the judge’s actions compromised his judicial impartiality.  Some are suggesting the Judicial Council take action as this conduct calls for nothing less than to have His Honour judicially tarred and feathered.

    Zabel J, on the bench for 25 years, has actually issued an apology saying, “I wish to apologize for my misguided attempt to mark a moment in history by humour in the courtroom following the surprising result in the United States election.” He noted his act was not intended to be an “endorsement of any political views and in particular the views and comments of Donald Trump.”

    That does not satisfy his accusers. Nor should it. I say draw and quarter the man. If this type of conduct goes unchallenged where can this lead to?  More humour in the courtroom! The next judge might go one further and hide a whoopie cushion on the seat of the witness stand.  Or to outclass that act, another judge, while no one is looking, might open the exhibit envelope and sneak in some fake doggie poo.  And as December approaches, what if a judge raises the ante and comes into the courtroom sporting a Santa Claus hat?  How offensive would that be to a number of groups?  Bring me a Valium.  There is no room in the courtroom for humour.  The world of justice must be solemn and serious. We needed judges to look stoneface like the Sphinx. Amen!

I also wear a second hat, namely that of a lawyer practicing personal injury and family law. Please visit www.striglaw.com .


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October 2016

Halloween...Some Costumes Still Allowed

Oct 30, 2016 8:06 PM
Marcel Strigberger

As Halloween is approaching, Brock University’s student union has put out a hit list of costumes that are prohibited as they are not, perish the thought, politically correct. These costumes include bonnets with feathers, robes worn by Arab men, Japanese Geisha outfits etc.   They are all Verboten!

    Anyone entering the campus wearing any such costume will be escorted to a space where they will be given the choice of removing the costume or leaving the premises.  I dread to even imagine what would happen to someone foolish enough to attend wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform.  I don’t think he will win first prize for best costume.

    This business is not exclusive to Brock U. The University of Florida issued a memo saying that if a student encounters an offensive costume, he or she can submit a “bias incident report” and seek counselling.  This is serious.  I can certainly visualize some revellers coming to a Halloween party wearing a turban or a skull cap or dread locks and a group of party goers take one look at them and instantly swoon, waking up with an incurable case of post traumatic stress disorder.

    Excuse me but did I just say, “he” or “she”.  Psych professor Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto has just been raked over the coals by administration for refusing to use gender neutral pronouns.  The university p.c. police even sent him a letter saying he must not continue to even comment on this issue. Mum is the word.  Or is it “mum” or “dad” or maybe “mum-dad” or “dad-mum” or no name-pronoun call it “he/she/it all of the above whatever you want”, is the word.

    Even wearing a Donald Trump mask could be a problem.  A representative of the “Student Justice Centre” has suggested that the Halloween constabulary would be able to interrogate this person and ask what his/her/it’s intention is.  If this individual would be able to satisfy his interrogators that he is only wearing a mask but he has no intentions of letting his hands wander inappropriately, he would supposedly likely be admitted.  (Feel free to change pronouns.)

    Tufts University also has a similar policy threatening sanctions to anyone donning a costume that is “controversial” and ergo offends people.   

    So what kind of costume can you wear these days?  Can you come dressed as a clown?  Not a great idea unless you want to have everyone diving for cover.  A soldier? Soldiers these days are symbols of war.  An animal costume like a gorilla or a panda or a tiger would no doubt be offensive to the animal rights groups.  A lawyer? That might actually work.  Then again given the sentiments many have towards our profession, I imagine anyone attending the party gowned up and tabbed to the nines risks getting pelted with eggs.  Maybe actually the safest thing to do would be to come dressed as an amoeba.

    Jerry Seinfeld summed it up not long ago when he said that he does not play colleges anymore as they are too politically correct.

    If I were a university student invited to a Halloween party these days, I would likely just stay home and watch the World Series.  Whoa! I don’t know if that is correct either. After all, let’s not forget who the Chicago Cubs are playing.

Please visit my personal injury and family law pracatice website, www.striglaw.com.  No dress code in place.


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Let’s Play Ball...Cleveland Whatevers

Oct 23, 2016 10:58 AM
Marcel Strigberger

The big legal event this week has to be the motion to the Ontario Superior Court , before Justice McEwen, by activist Douglas Cardinal to restrain Rogers , the owners of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre  et. al. from  allowing game 3 of the championship series to go ahead unless the Cleveland Indians refrained from using their name and their logo, chief Wahoo.  The motion hit the courtroom suddenly and rush rush, just hours before the crucial game.  

I note there were about a dozen lawyers present in court representing all interested.  I believe perhaps this use of the court’s resources could have been prevented. In my view, given that we are dealing with Rogers, the communications giant, Mr. Cardinal could have done what we all do to get some action from Rogers, namely telephone them.  I imagine the following conversation would have ensued:

ROGERS:  Hello. Your call is important to us. I am William. Please say what this call is about.  I understand full sentences.

CARDINAL:  I want Rogers to stop game 3 of the American League Championship Series unless the Cleveland Indians change their name and logo immediately.

ROGERS:  I see.  I can help you with that.  You want to add the Sports Network to your cable package.

CARDINAL:  No you fool.  I want you to stop the Jays game against the Cleveland Indians. The name and the logo are insulting.  Chief Wahoo has to go.

ROGERS:   Yahoo? This is Rogers sir, not Yahoo.

CARDINAL:  I want to speak to a live person.  Get me one immediately.

ROGERS:   OK.  You want to watch the ballgame live.  With Rogers's premium package, you get to see 162 regular season baseball games, live.  

CARDINAL:  Let me speak to an agent.  Now.

ROGERS:  I see.  Is there any other way I can help you sir?

CARDINAL:  Damn you... (Pause)

ROGERS:   Hello, this is Sean, how can I help you.

CARDINAL:  I want Rogers to stop game 3 of the American League Championship Series unless the Cleveland Indians change their name and logo immediately.

ROGERS:   No problem sir.  Please go over to your Rogers Nextbox and hold down the power button for 3 seconds.

CARDINAL:   That won't do anything Don.

ROGERS:    Sean sir.  If that doesn't solve your problem, we can send over a technician next Friday between the hours of 8:00 and 12:00. Will you be home then? ... (Line goes dead)

CARDINAL:  Hello? Hello?

I cannot say this approach would have brought about the desired result. Then again did Douglas Cardinal really believe he had a chance of a snowball in hell of getting the restraining order immediately? It would not surprise me if after the motion Justice McEwen went to the ballgame.

Interestingly, Mr. Cardinal did get the relief sought 2 days later when the Jays imploded and lost their final game of the series.  The Cleveland (whatever you want to call them) aren't coming back to the Rogers Centre that soon.  Imagine all the legal bills that could have been saved.

I practice personal injury/insurnance and family law.  Please also visit my practice site, www.striglaw .  And feel free to call me anytime to discuss baseball.


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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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