Legal Humour Blog


November 2014

CAUTION: Adult Content- Childish Conduct

Nov 2, 2014 9:03 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    This is a good time to talk about Jian Ghomeshi. He is that radio star whom the CBC fired after learning about his BDSM activities some of which were allegedly not performed with 100% consent of a number of women.  Jian however denies all wrongdoing, saying he never indulged in this type of sexual activity. In his Statement of Claim he is seeking $55 million, costs on a substantial indemnity basis and leave to give the CBC boss 75 lashes.

    The other night was Halloween. For those who were tricking and treating in the area,  Jian’s house, was readily identifiable. It was the one displaying an illuminated leather pumpkin.

    In fact he hosted quite a Halloween party. Amongst other activities, his guests enjoyed  bobbing for handcuffs.
    It is a mad mad world indeed.  Michael and Linda Thibodeau are in the news again. You might recall back in 2009 they flew on Air Canada and Lynda T asked a unilingual flight attendant in French, for a 7-Up. Unfortunately the Anglophone flight attendant did not meet up to the task and she served Lynda a Sprite.

    This traumatic event lead the Thibodeaus to sue Air Canada.  The Federal court awarded them $12,000. The Federal Court of Appeal awarded them a lower amount. The other day the Supreme Court of Canada reduced the award to nothing, saying that violation of their French language rights did not qualify them for monetary compensation.

    I always thought the SCC only heard matters of public importance.  Interestingly enough the decision was 5 to 2. Two justices thought this event merited monetary compensation. This scares me. What made them so sensitive to this issue?  I would hate to work at a Seven- Eleven and one of these judges comes in and asks for a Pepsi and I mistakenly give him or her a Mountain Dew. How would he react? Not nearly as volatilely I suppose as Jian Ghomeshi.

    I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit www.striglaw.com . Suitable for all ages.



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October 2014

Jesus Is Coming to This Diner

Oct 26, 2014 7:29 PM
Marcel Strigberger

   We know Jesus saves. The question is, does he pay?  A Kristi Rhines ordered food at a Lawton, Oklahoma restaurant but then said she couldn't pay.  She told the staff that her husband Jesus Christ, would be by shortly to pay her bill. This did not sit well with management who called police, who proceeded to arrest the lady on fraud related matters.

    I looked into this story further and discovered the following.  About an hour later, a gentleman appeared wearing a long white robe and sporting shoulder length reddish hair and a  beard.  He asked a waiter if his wife Kristi had been here as he wanted to pay her tab.  The manager, rather awe struck, advised the gentleman that he was late and that police had arrested his wife. The man said that the police "kneweth not what they dideth".  

    He left the premises but before doing so, he took out five loaves of bread and two fish from a Safeway bag.  He uttered a few chants and turned the fish and loaves into 500 portions of rib steak with fries and cole slaw, enough to feed all the patrons in the restaurant.

    He then left abruptly, refusing however the manager's request for an autograph. He did however tell the frustrated manager that he forgive him.   

    I believe there is a moral to this story somewhere.

    Please visit my practice site, www.striglawcom . I practice family law and personal injury law. I would however volunteer to take Kristi's criminal case pro bono.


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Ethics R Us

Oct 5, 2014 12:22 PM
Marcel Strigberger

      As of  October first Ontario lawyers have been facing amended Rules of Professional Conduct. In my view these rules will make lawyers’ lives more complicated.

      For example, they provide for a new definition of the word, "client".  In short, X is your client if he (or she) has consulted you and either retained you or has “a reasonable expectation” that he retained you.  This can be fun.  If you meet someone on the subway and they tell you about their accident 22 months ago, beware.  You have been consulted. And if you say, "Uh huh, sounds nasty," you may have been retained.  Client's choice.

       There is also a rule on getting unretained.  Even if the client dismisses you, you still have to write to the client to confirm you are no longer acting. So if a client says to you, " You are an incompetent, cretin of a scumbag shyster; you're fired", you have to write back and respond,
    " Dear Sir,
      This will confirm your instructions that I no longer represent you."  

       Otherwise you might still be this fan’s lawyer.

       Then we have confidentiality. We are to maintain confidentiality even if someone threatens to put bamboo strips up our fingernails.  This includes extends even to that guy we just met on the subway.

    I think we would all like to see an end to this strict onus. I say if a client does not pay our fees in a timely manner, that we be free to tell the world. We should be allowed to post it on Face book. Isn't that more equitable than having to get off the record and then assess our accounts?

    We can just post online, "My client, Gordon William McKnish, residing in Richmond Hill, owes me $4000 for all the hard work I did for him and he is stiffing me."

    Actually McKnish is not a real client. I say that in the event that there is actually a Gordon William McKnish in Richmond Hill, that he realise that I selected that name totally randomly.  So to you, William Gordon McKnish, of Richmond Hill, if you exist, you are not my client and you do not owe me a penny. If however you want to give me $4000.00, I’ll take it.

    There are also provisions on conflicts of interest.  This does not make sense to me at all. I think it would be much more economical if we could indeed represent both sides to a dispute.  Wouldn't this result in a quicker and cheaper resolution?

    Finally there is a rule on inadvertent disclosure. What do we do if say opposing counsel accidentally sends us some confidential documents that once we read them, his case is toast. The rule expects us  call the other lawyer and to utter the words, "Woe is me", beat your breast, and flagellate yourself with a tire chain.

    I would have preferred a rule that says something like, "Baby, if you ever luck out to get such a package, grab it like a Venus flytrap".

    I say, where is all the fun in practising law?  William Gordon McKnish, what do you do for a living?        

I practice family law and civil litigation, emphasis on personal injury.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .Even before October 1st, my professional conduct has always been beyond reproach.



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September 2014

Hello Again. It’s Us, the Robbers

Sep 21, 2014 6:47 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    In my hometown, Montreal, 4 robbers hit the jackpot the other day.  They robbed a bar at gunpoint, hopped into their truck and got lost in the area. They ended up returning to the front of the bar they just robbed whereupon the surprised police arrested them. At the time of arrest the hoods were still wearing their masks.

    I'd say the driver of the truck must have gotten an earful from the other three:
        "Hey Jean Claude, do you need a GPS to drive away from the bar we just robbed? Which part of 'far' don't you understand?"

    However I think they should easily get bail. After all, what are the chances they'll be able to successfully abscond?  Then again, they may get lost en route to the courthouse.

    I think when the driver gets out of jail one day, he could readily land a job, driving a truck for the post office.


    I practice family law and civil litigation and mediation.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . I wonder whether the 3 robber passengers have a case for negligence against the driver .



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The Gondolier and the Lawyer

Sep 9, 2014 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

   We just returned from Europe which included a couple of days in Venice. It was a fine summer evening and we decided to do what comes natural in this charming city, namely take a gondola ride. I asked the gondolier how much. The Venetian air was charged with romance and passion and price of course was of no concern. The good fellow replied, "150 Euros (aka $225 Canadian loonies) per hour sir".

    I said "Thank you sir" and we decided instead to settle for chocolate gelati. This also comes natural.

    While strolling along St. Mark's Square consuming our gelati, Shoshana and I discussed  the gondolier charging 150 Euros per hour. Many lawyers would only wish to make this much, or more than double what Legal Aid pays per hour. I asked myself why should a gondolier charge more than a lawyer? What do they have that we don't have? I decided to make a comparison.

    Firstly I considered the popularity factor.

    People generally have fantasies about gondoliers being romantic minstrels who wind and sing their way through the canals. A ride along Venice's labyrinth of waterways can often be a fairy tale experience.

    A visit to a lawyer evokes a slightly different atmosphere. The greatest similarity to the aforementioned experience one can draw is that many clients will claim that lawyers have taken them for a ride. I don't know about the singing part but I am sure that if you ask an Assessment Officer none will tell you that clients have ever suggested that their lawyer, while conducting an examination for discovery broke out singing "O Sole Mio". We are however known for singing the blues.

    As for the romantic part there are however some lawyers whose love life would leave even the most colourful gondolieri drifting far behind on the Grand Canal. But this article is not about Bill Clinton.

    And both lawyers and gondoliers are popularized prominently in the arts. Gilbert and Sullivan wrote an operetta about the enchanting life on Venice's canals entitled, The Gondoliers. William Shakespeare wrote, "Let's kill all the lawyers".

    Then there is responsibility. If we mess up it is likely the client will sue us. The gondolier's position is relatively claim free, short of him running his gondola into another at all of 5 kilometres per hour.

    Gondoliers probably do however have some form or errors and omissions insurance. You never know when some disgruntled client might turn around and sue the gondolier for screwing up "Funiculi, Funicula".

    Then there is training. I find that although we invest years as students we constantly have to pursue professional development.

    A gondolier can remain at his comfort level indefinitely. After all what is left after the teacher shows you how to stand upright in the back of the gondola and push your oar? I don't imagine there was a newsflash in the Gondolier's Newsletter recently, which proclaimed:

                          "Gondolieri! Those black and white striped shirts you have been wearing since the year 1542 are no longer valid after October 1st. After that date you

must switch to sleeveless white undershirts."

    And perhaps the best part of the job as compared to lawyers is that all gondoliers get paid in cash immediately. Over the barrel.                            

    Or should I say over the paddle. After Lorenzo says "arrivederci" to you, he has already pocketed your 150 Euros. With lawyers, in most cases unless you get all your money up front, you can calmly say arrivederci to your money. You will have a receivable that will be as useful as an umbrella in Pompeii the day Vesuvius erupted. This may however sometimes still be better than a Legal Aid certificate.

    So what are we lawyers all waiting for? We have choices. Anybody know where you can get a good deal on those striped shirts?

Although tempted to make a career change, I still practice personal injury/insurance and family law in the Greater Toronto Area. 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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