Legal Humour Blog


January 2015

Stand Up and Live.

Jan 25, 2015 10:51 AM
Marcel Strigberger

             A paper published in the Annals of International Medicine has concluded that sitting for the most part of the day boosts your risk of death by 20%. Even exercising does not counteract this ominous risk.  What does this mean? Easy.  Chairs are dangerous.

             I can see the government banning or at least drastically restricting the use of seating equipment. It will not be too long before we see an amendment to Criminal Code reading:

                     "Anyone trafficking in seating paraphernalia is liable for an offense punishable by way of indictment and is subject to imprisonment for up to      10 years".

            The last thing we need is to arrive at a Canada Customs booth and the officer asks, "Are you bringing in any chesterfields?"

            If you say no and the officer is suspicious, he calls in Charlie, the chair sniffing beagle. In a worst case scenario, they could do a body cavity search.  You never know where resourceful smugglers can hide a La-Z-Boy.

             And comedy clubs beware. We are not far from the days where the police will raid the club and seize the comedian's stool.  Even worse they might raid a seniors' home and confiscate all the rockers.

            All of this of course will encourage the usual suspects, namely organized crime, to get involved in illicitly peddling this contraband.  We'll soon read stories about Rocco “Big Seat" Bonano getting arrested for illicit activities including money laundering, racketeering and being caught with a truckload of tuffets.

            There would also be a barrage of civil actions.  I can easily envisage some guy who has Maple Leafs seasons tickets who dies suddenly only to find his estate suing the Air Canada Centre.  They'll claim the Leafs scored so few goals the man had no reason to stand up and cheer. Then again the defendant's response would likely be that the man died from embarrassment.

             Even judges will refuse to sit.  The bench will become obsolete.  Judges will be appointed to the air.

             And Parliament will have to change its terminology.  When the honorable members arrive at the House of Commons, they will have a big surprise when they get to their desks.  They will very well win a seat but not get one.  This will add a new dimension to the expression, "stand up and be counted".

             It also suddenly changes how I now visualize a one night stand.

            Make no mistake about it. I am taking this medical story seriously; I am writing this narrative on my feet.




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Toto Too

Jan 18, 2015 6:55 PM
Marcel Strigberger

I can watch "The Wizard of Oz" umpteen times.

I saw it again recently and this time I focused on a scene of great legal significance.

That mean old Myra Gulch comes to auntie Emm and uncle Henry's house and she declares that she has come to take their vicious dog Toto to the sheriff to have him destroyed. Dorothy is besides herself and she says to uncle Henry,

"You won't let her destroy Toto will you uncle Henry."

Uncle Henry replies confidently, "Of course we won't."

Then Myra suddenly whips out a "sheriff's order" authorizing her to confiscate Toto forthwith.

An argument ensues when predictably Dorothy refuses to hand over the prisoner. Myra admonishes the family that they had better hand over Toto forthwith, "Unless you want to go against the law."

Uncle Henry scans the order for about two seconds and after a puff of his pipe he nods stoically and says, "I'm afraid she's right."

Vociferous protests by Dorothy who calls Myra Gulch an ugly old witch don't get her to change her mind about the extinction of Toto.  Uncle Henry reluctantly hands Toto to Myra who carts him away in a basket.

After this sequence I did some thinking. Orders made without notice scare me, almost as much as barking dogs.It occurred to me that surely there must have been some provision to set aside this order of the sheriff. A special motion perhaps.

     OZZIE J.: This is a motion by Dorothy Gale to set aside the ex parte order obtained by the respondent Myra Gulch from Twister County sheriff Charlie Farley.

The order was obtained pursuant to the provisions of the Dogs That Annoy Fine Folks Act.

Miss Gulch alleges that Dorothy's dog Toto frequently used to enter her garden and harass her. When she recently politely asked Dorothy to remove Toto, the dog lunged at her biting Miss Gulch in the shin. The learned sheriff, after hearing the evidence ordered the accused removed from the Gale residence and brought before him an order to be destroyed by means of a lethal injection.

Dorothy alleges in an affidavit that Toto is a fine dog really. She denies that Toto ever entered the garden and pleads that the complainant startled both her and Toto as they passed by suddenly jumping in front of them with her broom and cackling.

An affidavit sworn by Emma Gale, (Auntie Emm) alleges that Myra Gulch feels that she owns the entire county and that that for twenty three years she has wanted to tell Myra Gulch a few things, but being a Christian woman she couldn't say them.

After reviewing all the evidence I find that Toto did indeed take a nibble of Myra Gulch's shin. Not only did the complainant suffer physical pain but she was also forced to endure emotional trauma after the bite when Dorothy started singing.

The question now however is whether or not this order should have been sought with notice to Dorothy. And to Toto too.

Section 4 of the Act provides as follows:

4. The sheriff may issue the order without notice if:

a) The dog or owner cannot be readily located;

b) There is a likelihood that upon receiving such notice the dog or owner might abscond from the jurisdiction;

c) There is a likelihood that upon receiving such notice the dog or owner might bite the sheriff.

There is no doubt that the original application fails to meet the first leg, so to speak, of the test. Both Dorothy and Toto could readily be found at the Gale residence talking to the farm animals.

There is some skimpy evidence with respect to subsection "b" applying. Myra Gulch insists that had they received notice, both Toto and Dorothy would have been out of here like a tornado. She claims that Dorothy was always singing to herself a weird song about being off to see the wizard.

Gulch argues that there was furthermore good reason to believe that provision "c" was a likely contingency.

I disagree. The evidence of uncle Henry is that the Sheriff often came over to the Gale farm to pitch horseshoes with uncle Henry. When they were done Toto then used to engage Charlie in a vigourous game of checkers over a plate of Auntie Emm's chocolate fudge. I cannot see how Toto would have bitten the Sheriff had he attended to serve him papers. Perhaps he would have licked his hand. But that's it.

I find that the order of the sheriff should not have issued without notice and I set it aside. I award costs to Dorothy; and to Toto too.

I practice family and personal injury law.  Please visit my website www.striglaw.com .  My office is conveniently located in Thronhill, not Oz.



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December 2014

Saskatoon Snakes and Some McPorno

Dec 14, 2014 8:22 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    This is a good a time to talk about fast food places.  In Saskatoon, two young men entered a Tim Hortons and ordered sandwiches that included onions. One of them wanted the onions diced. The worker refused the request. This did not sit well with the customer.  He responded predictably, by pulling a snake out of his friend’s pocket and tossing it over the counter at the worker. All hell broke loose and the staff and customers bolted out of the store.

    Police of course laid charges.  I believe in fact there is a little known provision in the Criminal Code, section 487 A, that deals with throwing snakes at Tim Hortons staff.  This provision was proclaimed about 20 years ago after a public outcry following a rash of these snake throwing incidents at Quebec restaurants, where angry patrons threw snakes at staff in response to not getting the right flavour of poutine.  That's understandable.

    All I know is that I shall keep a sharp eye out in my practice for potential clients of this ilk. If a client ever tells me about his matrimonial problems and then asks me if I can get him an order of diced onions, I'm out the window.

    Speaking of snakes, a McDonalds in the town of Zuchwil Switzerland one evening recently was running a sports station on its overhead television. Suddenly the sports station switched to porno, and customers were treated to a bit more than cross country skiing.  Customers did not complain as they were downing their fries and McNuggets.  McDonalds staff however quickly shut the monitor when they noticed that the screen was showing everything, but the Graubunden League football scores. This incident certainly might add a new dimension to the term, "Big Mac."

    I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com. My office is definitely scent free, smoke free and serpent free.  


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November 2014

Robbery Does Not Mean Robbery

Nov 30, 2014 6:10 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     It seems words sometimes do not always mean what they mean. Ask the judge in the case of R v Jose Luis Oliveiros Ortega.  JLOO went to a Toronto bank a while back, and handed the teller a note saying, "This is a robbery; give me your money". She gave him $600.00.  Police charged him with robbery. However the judge found that the accused was not guilty of robbery.  The learned reason was that the teller had sympathy for the guy and did not feel threatened.

    The crown did come up with the brilliant argument that, hey,  the note even says "robbery".  The judge suggested that you cannot take that word literally in this case.  He noted that "robbery" can have different meanings, like when a sport team "robs" the other of a victory.

    I cannot imagine the teller not feeling threatened. Who did she think the pathetic rogue was, Jean Valjean?

    His Honour did however find the man guilty of theft under $5000.00 .  I can just see the sentencing.  The judge fines the guy $50.00.  The man pays in Monopoly money.  He gets back before the judge again charged with who knows what (does it really matter anymore?) and the judge says, "No problem. It's OK, I never said real money. "

     I suppose the other side of the coin is where some smart ass comes to a bank with one of those stunt guns you see in the movies, where you pull the trigger and a flag pops out reading, "Bang". The guy "fires" the revolver.  The teller freaks out saying, "I saw a shot".  What would that judge do?  Then again he'd probably let this guy walk too, saying the word "bang" can have different meanings and the accused is really a scientist who came to the bank to discuss the popular theory of how this earth started.

    This case reminds me of Through the Looking Glass, where Humpty Dumpty says, “Words mean what I choose them to mean. “  

    I hope I have not given any potential rogues any ideas.  

    Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com . I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  I am all for continuing education and expect to be reading  Through the Looking Glass, shortly.

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Insects, Worms, and Other Louses

Nov 9, 2014 8:54 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    A university in Belgium, has become the first commercial kitchen to serve a creepy crawly feast of worm burgers and worm nuggets. In fact worm products are even finding their way into some supermarkets in Belgium.

    Producers say these delicacies provide us with a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.

    Until now, when you say Belgium, you think of chocolates, French fries and Stella.  After reading this story, I am considering now passing on the first two and switching on the third to Heineken.

    If this delicacy gains popularity in these parts, it will probably impact on lawyers’ work.  I mean if some sap buys some worm jam at Bills No Frills and doesn’t like it much, will he sue?

    What will his statement of Claim read like:

        “4. The plaintiff bought a 250 gram jar of Willie the Worm chutney.  Upon tasting it, he noticed that the product contained worms. As a result, he     suffered severe nervous shock...”

     I can think of lawyers who might take on a case like this. I shall however keep my thoughts to myself given the ongoing case of Jian Ghomeshi...never mind.

    And the ass of the week award has to go to the City of Fort Lauderdale, where 90 year old Arnold Abbott was charged for feeding the homeless in public, contrary to a very recent by-law.  The arresting cop said to Abbott, “Drop that plate right now”. If convicted, the good Samaritan can get up to 60 days in jail.

    Fort Lauderdale sees nothing wrong with its actions. In fact its mayor announced that it also intends to proudly twin itself with Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The city’s actions start making the alleged BDSM activities of Jian Ghomeshi look not too bad.

    Bon appetit.

    I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  Please visit my practice site, www.legalhumour.com.  No insects were harmed in writing this blog.


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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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