Legal Humour Blog


September 2013

The IKEA Monkey- Final Chapter

Sep 15, 2013 5:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       On or about December 9th 2012 Darwin, a pet monkey dressed in a little fur vest and pair of trousers, and belonging to Toronto lawyer Jasmin Nakhuda, escaped from her car parked at an IKEA parking lot, and sauntered into IKEA to the surprise of staff and shoppers.  Authorities were summoned and Animal Services took Darwin into custody.  From that day on, stories of the legal battle to determine who gets the monkey back have been making front row center appearances in the media around the globe.

    The matter has finally ended with Superior Court Justice Vallee rejecting Nakhuda’s claims that the monkey was like her child and stating that the monkey was a chattel, rightly now owned by “Story Book Farm”, a local animal sanctuary, where Darwin was placed. It should be noted that Ms Nakhuda signed a surrender form relinquishing ownership, though she claimed later she did not understand the consequences.

    In short the judge found that possession of a monkey is 9 tenths of the law.  

    A few lessons emerge from this case.

    Firstly, never leave your wild animals alone in the car when you go shopping.  If for example you just have to get some Rice Crispies at your local Walmart and you take you pet elephant along for the ride, bring Babar into the store.  One thing for certain, those Walmart greeters will accord him their usual sincere greeting without batting an eyelash.  

    Secondly, never sign away ownership on the spur of the moment of any animal.  Possession is indeed 9 tenths of the law.  If therefore Animal Services ever grabs your giraffe, call a lawyer immediately.  I for one have extensive experience in these cases having saved many pet owners from losing their rhinoceroses, anteaters and hyenas.  In fact, as we speak, I have to return the call of a client who was just shopping at Price Chopper when authorities arrested Harry, her hippo.

    Finally, what I learned is that it only took about 9 months for this case to go through the courts, endingwith a grand finale 4 day trial. This is much quicker service by the courts than a family law child custody case would receive.  I don’t know how the lawyers achieved resolution with such dispatch.  Maybe in future when I start a family law case, I’ll use catchy names in the title of proceedings, like Re Dumbo.  

       It baffles me totally how they pulled it off. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

       I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .  As I said, please keep a close watch on your lions and tigers and bears. If authorities should nab them, call me, not some real estate or tax lawyer.


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Sourtoe Cocktail? Not Quite Rum and Coke

Sep 2, 2013 12:28 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       Just when you thought you have seen it all, here is a story about a bar in the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon that serves a unique product: the “sourtoe cocktail”. It involves drinking a shot of Yukon Jack liquor in a glass containing a floating, real human toe.  The toe has been preserved for about 40 years during which about 60,000 customers have paid for the privilege of buying the drink where they must  touch the toe with their lips.  The hotel then issues them a certificate confirming membership in the exclusive Sourtoe Club.  I guess other folks have to resign themselves to just being members of Mensa.

      What happened recently though is an American visitor, one Josh Clark, actually swallowed the toe, deliberately.  The posted penalty for swallowing the toe is $500.00 cash which Josh immediately plunked down, using his intended rent deposit.  The establishment has now upped the fine to $2500.00

       A number of potential legal issues surface here.  One is, what if Josh Clark would have refused to pay the fine?  If he wanted he could just have quietly tip toed out (sorry!). Would they have sued him in Small Claims Court?  The statement of claim certainly would have been refreshingly different:

                    ..."On or about August 15th 2013 the defendant drank a toe belonging to the plaintiff hotel.”

       For that matter does the act leave Josh Clark open to some criminal charges?  Maybe. Perhaps the Dawson police missed something. Maybe they just were not on their toes. (Sorry again!)
       The good news is the hotel happens to have a stand by extra toe. The tradition can continue although they are asking for a donation of a back up digit. Good luck.  I just did quick search and I did not see any toes for sale on eBay. And I doubt that Craig will part with any of his.

        I don’t know if there will be any volunteers but I would get very suspicious as to the source of same if a new toe was suddenly delivered by Josh Clark.  Just the thought of it makes my toes curl. ( No apologies. It’s true!).


I practice family and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com. My aim is to resolve all cases amicably, avoiding acrimonious and costly litigation.  In short, I go out of my way not to step on any toes. ( no apologies. it's very true.)


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August 2013

Vanishing School Supplies

Aug 27, 2013 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

There ought to be a law against August ads for school supplies. Come August you cannot visit a store without running a gauntlet of “back to school” stuff. This phenomenon creates kiddy school supply junkies.

After all, just weeks earlier in June, the kids finished school with all their supplies. What happened to all their stuff?  Did it all suddenly vanish over July?

While sitting my neighbour’s deck recently sipping an ice tea, Leo’s kids were hounding him for must have school supplies.

His daughter Melissa demanded if he had bought her new school knapsack yet.

Leo asked her whether the Elmo knapsack he had tripped over in June was still around? .

Melissa replied, “But I need one with Spiderman. That’s only fair.”

Her comment I thought certainly added a new dimension to the fairness test.

Meanwhile his son Josh pleaded that he absolutely needed to buy a dozen red pens. When Leo queried where Josh’s June stash was, Josh responded, “Dad, you just don’t understand.” 

Melissa, interrupting, said, “If you get him more pens, you have to get me that Spiderman knapsack.  That’s only reasonable”.

Her argument was unassailable I thought.

During their heated debate, my mind drifted, visualizing research on the subject, like a study undertaken by a professor Jean-Jacques Lemouche, of l’Université de Montreal, who found that pencils do indeed disappear. He was adamant that three boxes of his former pencils had turned into butterflies on July 1 and they were now flying around this summer all over Mount Royal.

Oxford Professor of metaphysics, Sir James Pedley, disagreed with the butterfly theory.  His study concluded that every summer, all supplies simply get sucked into a school-supply Bermuda Triangle.

The issue also caught the attention of Sigmund Freud, who observed that most of his patients were very depressed at the end of summer, as they could never find a pen or a pad of paper.  Although he initially dismissed this neurosis, Freud noted that his own lunch box disappeared every July.

Even Albert Einstein was plagued by this problem.  He ran around frantically one August day repeating to himself, “E=MC@” and shouting, “Quick, I need a pencil.  Where is the pencil cup I had in June?”

I went home and thought about writing to my MPP about these ads, which incite the kids.

But just to hedge my bets, next summer, I am keeping an extra eye open on my own pencil cup.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  I practice family and personal injury and insurance law. We do a great job but we are not responsible for any pens, notepads or umbrellas that may disappear in our office.


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Cronuts and Nuts

Aug 25, 2013 11:08 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    A few dozen people have come down sick after eating this year’s wonder food at the Canadian National Exhibition, namely the cronut burger. I am not sure of all of the ingredients but they include, a hamburger, cheese, jam, bacon etc. sandwiched between a fried half donut half croissant bun.

    I really doubt any one will dare sue the vendor consequent to this event. The seller would easily have an airtight defense of volenti, which is Latin for, “you asked for it”.

    This food item is lethal.  What did the customers expect? Had Rasputin eaten one of these suckers instead of the arsenic laced cakes fed to him by Count Yusupov, it would not have been necessary for the Count to shoot, stab and throw the mad monk into the River Neva .

    I understand the cronut burger was first introduced in ancient Egypt.  Cleopatra was experimenting with painless and quick ways of committing suicide. After testing the cronut burger on a couple of unfortunate criminals, she decided this method of death was too horrendous and she came up with the asp.

    I am not sure if the cronut burger at the CNE was covered in poutine.  I doubt it. That would be as superfluous as tasering a guy who has just been guillotined.

    If any of these victims of food poisoning sues, I ask to be given the defense file. I’ll do the job pro bono. Or for a Timbit.

    From cronuts we go to nuts. In Quebec, the minority PQ party wants to pass legislation banning the wearing of religious symbols in public institutions.  Premier Pauline Marois cites the “need to preserve Quebec’s language, identity and values”

    If these kooks have their way, the wearing of a turban, crucifix or kippa (skull cap) in public institutions will be verboten.  Knowing how enforcers  in these fanatic regimes can take their jobs seriously, I can hardly wait to see how the Quebec’s special preservation police will react when they come across a bishop or a cardinal:

            “OK. You with the crucifix and red skull cap!... Values police. You’re under arrest.  Spread them.  You have the right to remain silent. But first give us the names of      everyone you know who wears a turban.”

    And this is from the province that invented poutine.  I think if the PQ has culture identity problems, they should focus on getting the Montreal Canadians to once again play hockey.

    What’s wrong with the PQ?  Maybe their party members have eaten too many cronut burgers.    

I practice family and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .  If you bought your spouse a cronut burger, I'm your lawyer.




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Send out the Clown (and the Dentist)

Aug 18, 2013 6:45 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     A clown at the Missouri State Fair rodeo has been banned for life for appearing at a rodeo  wearing an Obama mask. The clown whipped the crowd into a frenzy by encouraging a bull to run him over.  The Missouri State Fair Commission however thought the clown's actions were insulting to the President.

    That's funny. Hardly a night goes by without some comedian lampooning the President. I have yet to see Conan or David Letterman being banned for life. But my question is, why do we still have rodeos altogether?  Isn't the real insult here the abuse of helpless animals? What fun is there in watching yahoo cowboys ride wild horses, rope and cuff calves and taunt bulls?  Has anyone asked for the bull's opinion about this incident? I doubt if asked, the bull would say, "Never mind me.  That clown insulted the President. Shame shame.".

    This brings me to dentists. The B.C. College of Dental Surgeons has laid charges against a Tung Sheng Wu, who supposedly has been practicing dentistry for 10 years without being qualified.

    I have trouble visualizing this crime.  How could someone fake being a dentist?  Dentistry is a calling that actually requires knowledge and skill. Just imagine you or I approaching a terrified patient shaking like leaf in the dental chair. I would probably get as far as, "Open wide please."  Then I would be lost.

    Maybe I could extend the act to, "Rinse please"."   The patient might think this advice at the beginning of the treatment as being premature. If he does, I could say, "New protocol from the New England Journal of Dentistry. Rinse early." But that is as far as I could get.

    Tung Shen Wu actually must have successfully filled cavities, treated gum infections and installed crowns.  Non dentists just cannot fake it. I can think of only two occupations where imposters can easily fool the public.

    The first is psychiatry.  Psychiatrists generally do nothing during a 45 minutes interview except go, "Uh huh; please continue."  At 44 minutes and 50 seconds, they'll say, "That's all for today. See you next week."  Anyone of us can impersonate a shrink.

    The other one is, you guessed it, the clown.  Just put on the make up, the floppy pants and the big red nose and you are a clown. You can take a tumble, crash a Volks Beetle, or spray the audience with seltzer.  The audience reaction will be, "Hey, what a funny clown."  You'll never hear someone saying, "Hey, that's only a  man dressed like a clown."  Nothing is out of character.

    For centuries, court jesters have been making fun of the kings and queens with impunity.  

    In fact while at law school,  I was a clown one week at Eaton's (remember it?) in Montreal, during the pre Christmas period, earning some cash by carrying a sign saying, "Open til 9:00 tonight".  For fun I would ride the elevators operated by elevator ladies (remember them?) dressed in smart uniforms, and I would giggle and pull off their blue berets.  I don't think I could have gotten away with these actions wearing a lawyer’s robe.  

    I guess this universal and eternal license for clowns does not extend into the Missouri State Fair.  I say ban rodeos for life.       


I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit my website,  www.striglaw.com . And yes, I have actually represented  both clowns and dentists.


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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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