Legal Humour Blog


April 2017

United...You Fall

Apr 24, 2017 7:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     I come to bury United Airlines, not praise them. Actually United has done a great job of burying itself in a morass of PR and financial quagmires.  The forceful and brutal removal by United Air, or perhaps by thugs at the friendly airline’s request, evokes several areas of the law.

    Firstly, there is employment law.  I see United's CEO is saying nobody is getting fired.  The inference is that nobody at United did anything too wrong. I suppose the mandarins in the boardroom had a conference:

                 “This incident by aircraft staff caused the company shares to plummet one hundred million dollars.  The entire world is ridiculing us and the passenger is suing us for gazillions.  We have to stay united.  As CEO, I move that the staff involved each get a hefty bonus.....all yeas? Oh, there's a nay....security!"

    Then there are contract law issues.  The good passenger paid for his seat. He was comfortably seated.  There is an offer, acceptance and consideration.  And part performance to boot. Which part of a valid contract eluded United?  I can just imagine the legendary late British judge Lord Denning being the trial judge in this one:

                "It was a beautiful spring morning.  The Toronto Maple leafs were just celebrating their first entry into the playoffs in 13 years. Meanwhile the good doctor Dao headed to the Chicago airport with a view of flying from Chicago to Louisville where he was to see patients the next morning.  Traffic en route was moderate.  The seagulls were flocking at the airport car park.

                 Dr Dao liked his aisle seat and had no complaints.  He did not request more legroom or a special meal.  When he purchased his ticket the defendant never told him that there may be airline staff who might covet his seat and that he would have to deplane, graciously and with a smile.  Nor did they tell him in the unlikely event that he should refuse any such request to volunteer his seat, he would be subject to be pummelled. United disputes this fact, saying all passengers know or are deemed to know they should do as they are told failing which airline staff may invoke the nuclear behaviour policy and proceed to have such unruly passengers pummelled..."

    And perhaps, this case even visits the law of torts.  Perhaps.  Actually from the looks of it this case brings into play an entire edition of Salmond on Torts. I suppose the airline will argue contributory negligence and volenti. After all wasn’t Dr Dao just asking for it when he was requested to take a hike and he likely responded, "What?"  And their CEO did initially say that the passenger was “belligerent”.

    I wish the good doctor a super recovery of his injuries and the best of luck in his legal action.  As for the Leafs, It seems now they celebrated a bit prematurely.  Better luck next year.

I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour and avoiding trouble at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

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March 2017

Pssst…Need a Lawyer?

Mar 19, 2017 11:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

I just returned from a trip in Florida.  What caught my eye most is not the great weather, nor the kilometres of super beaches, nor the cultural scenes.  What really hit me was lawyer advertising.  You cannot open your television or walk around the block without getting slapped by yet another personal injury lawyer ad.

In fact you don''t even have to open your television to get smitten by these ads.  When I checked into my hotel room I opened my night table drawer and I noticed a yellow pages directory.  On the front cover there was an ad that listed a law firm's name and info, including "Injured in an accident? Call us first.  You can check out the Gideon bible later".

They even have easy to remember phone numbers.  You will see some that read like, 1-800-111-1111.  In our jurisdiction that number will more likely get you a pizza.  I even saw one that read something like, "Injured?  Just call 1-800-not-pain." I am sure some in your face high profile outfit that is rougher than the roughest will soon come up with the ultimate contact: "Injured? Call any phone number.  You will reach us".

            I even saw a bus or rather a number of municipal buses in Fort Lauderdale bearing a full bus ad for a personal injury firm.  These lawyers take ambulance chasing to a new dimension. They use buses to chase ambulances! 

And many of them boast about having offices throughout Florida.  Just call us.  If there is no office near where you live, we'll open one for you.

And then they have the sub-specialists. While driving on the highway I-95 I saw a billboard that read, "Motorcycle accident?  Call the lawyer who rides a Harley."

Another ad reads, "Chosen by Super Lawyers Magazine".  I have heard of great lawyers but what in the world is a super lawyer?  He puts on his robe in a phone booth?

The phone book ads appear not under "lawyers" but rather under "attorneys".  After gazing through these ads for a few minutes, I needed a break and so I flipped back a few pages and just before attorneys I came across "asphalt ."  I saw an ad for a "Dr Asphalt".  This was rather refreshing. At least he did not boast, "as seen on TV", "want a second opinion" or "chosen by Super Asphalt Magazine."

I have recently retired from the practice of law, choosing now to amuse rather than litigate.  If you like my stuff, and want a speaker/humourist to entertain and enchant your group, please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

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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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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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