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Legal Humour Blog

 

October 2017

Of Judges and Jedis

Oct 3, 2017 9:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     A seemingly not too notorious criminal case made its way into the news.   Twenty four year old Lavinia Woodward, a student at Oxford University, stabbed her boyfriend in the leg with a bread knife.  She was apparently angry at him for telling her mom she had been drinking.  She pled guilty to unlawful wounding. The offence carries a max jail time of 5 years.

    The judge however, Ian Pringle, just gave her a short suspended sentence noting there were mitigating factors. These included that she had no previous criminal convictions and that she was, “genuinely remorseful”.  Some British newspapers complained that the sentence was much too lenient and that she received special consideration given her connection to the elite university.  I agree.

    Parsing the decision, the judge is saying, “You have never done anything like this before.  That’s a novel consideration.  And you tell me your are really sorry and you will not do it again.  That’s good enough for me.  Mitigating factors.  Given these circumstances we shall overlook the fact that you attacked your boyfriend with a bread knife, replicating that iconic scene from Psycho”.

    To be fair, Pringle J also found that she had some eating disorder.  Then again she did not plead not guilty by reason of insanity It’s not like the evidence was that she took out that bread knife and approached her boyfriend with intent to slice him up believing that he was a double rye.  This would be a different story.

    I wonder as well, re that eating disorder, if she garnered some sympathy given that the judge’s name was Pringle.  Who knows?  (Personally I prefer Miss Vickie’s).

    This event certainly adds another dimension to Stephen Leacock's  classic humourous essay, “Oxford as I See it.”

    There is another story out of Saudi Arabia, where somehow someway some high school textbooks ended up photo-shopped a bit, containing an image of the late King Faisal signing the U.N. Charter in 1945 BUT sitting next to him is Yoda.

    Naturally a senior official has been fired.  Were this official to start a wrongful dismissal action,  I don’t give him the chance of a snowball in the Sahara.  I am sure there would be a finding of just cause.  In fact it would also not surprise me that there is even some legal precedent where an employee gets canned for allowing infiltration into a school textbook of a photograph of a king sitting next to a Jedi master.  I have not done a Quicklaw search.

    The education minister is totally besides himself saying it was all an “unintended mistake.”   I don’t know what will happen to him.  Given the egg on his face, he might stand a good chance for some leniency if he would appear before judge Pringle.

 

   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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

And coming soon, my new book,  Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel  
Stay tuned

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

September 2017


Sitting is the New Smoking-The Government Cares

Sep 25, 2017 11:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

             It looks like the Ontario government will be in charge of selling legalized marijuana.  Legal weed will be sold just like liquor in special LCBO shops .  The result will now be that just like gambling and booze, the government will have a monopoly and consequent golden goose tax on pot. What is next?

            Since sitting has now been linked to a reduction in life span, ergo dangerous, like smoking and the aforementioned vices, will the government turn its sights to regulating sitting?

            The not too distant future might look like this.

           The government commissions a pricy study which concludes that sitting indeed is the new smoking.  It is therefore harmful to your health.  It must be regulated.   Sitting per se therefore becomes illegal unless the act of sitting complies with government legislation, namely the Hey You, Get Up Act.

            Firstly, most seats are removed from public transit vehicles.  Seats are located in specially designated areas, but riders must be of a certain age to sit.

            Foremost we have to protect the children. To therefore be allowed to sit, you would have to show you are over the age of 19. The government would issue to eligible riders, for a fee of course,  “non student” passes.  Special security non uniformed personnel would patrol the transit  vehicles to ensure nobody under 19 is seated.  Violators would be subject to a fine. As well they would have to take a rehabilitation course, including viewing a film called, “Stop smoking. Rise.”

            Another especially vulnerable group is the elderly.  After all their potential lifespan is less than that of the kids and naturally they too would have to be protected.  Therefore on transit conveyances there would be large signs reading, “Attention seniors. If you are seated stand up immediately and give your seat to a millennial.”

            However given that the sitting scourge is widespread and not only confined to public transportation, and given that the potential for government tax revenue is infinite, seating elsewhere, such as in theaters would also fall under government scrutiny.  These establishments would have to post notices in front of theaters reading, “Caution: Non seniors entertainment.  Theater contains seats.”

            Should any of golden agers still purchase a ticket, they would be herded to a designated standing area.   There, for an extra government issued pass they would be given a grab bar to hold onto. For their convenience, the grab bar would have a receptacle in which they could place their popcorn.

            There will no doubt be violators; those who think they can step around the law. Like with gambling, liquor and pot, the police will be there to ensure nobody breaks the law.  Enforcement officers  will have the right, if they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a sitting offense is taking place, to come along and enter such establishment of ill repute.

            The day may not be far where the local police batter down a door to a kindergarten class and arrest the teachers for allowing the kids to be play musical chairs. The police would pin a note for the parents on the shirts of the offending children, warning them of the sitting consequences and admonishing them that next time, they will deem these kids to be in need of protection and they will be reporting the offensive conduct to Children’s Aid.  At least one of the kids, i.e. the one who misses out on landing a chair, will get off scot free.  He loses yet he wins.

            And of course, like with the usual vices, a big concern will be organized crime.  The mob no doubt will try to corner a large section of the sitting market. The last thing the owner of a Tim Hortons will want is for some scar face goon to attend at his outlet and say, “ My boss is waiting for your next order for chairs. I’ll be back tomorrow for your answer. And oh yes, give me a double double.”

            Indeed as sitting may be the new smoking,  it may not be too long before La-Z-Boy becomes a crown corporation.

            Do we want further government interference? Take a stand.

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

          And coming soon, my new book,  Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel  

         Stay tuned.

  

I Tip My Hat for you, Your Honour

Sep 18, 2017 11:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

             The  Judicial Council has come out with the ruling suspending Justice Zabel for 30 days for briefly wearing a Trump “Make America Great” hat in court the day after the U.S. election.

            The council convened as a result of 81 complaints being filed about the incident.  The judge did apologize for this incident saying it was really a gag, an attempt at injecting some humour into the courtroom.  He was adamant he was not endorsing Trump’s views.

            My concern now is that judges will be terrified to use any humour at all in the courtroom.  There could be a snowball effect whereby judges go out of their way to emasculate and muzzle their sense of humour?  Judges may even bend over backwards to demonstrate they are not kidding or laughing about anything.  For example when the Registrar announces at the beginning of a session, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, come forth and ye shall be heard”, I can readily see a judge saying, “Did I hear chuckling? There is nothing funny about the word oyez”.

            To make sure their sense of humour is not cocked and ready to fire, some judges will likely read the morning papers, looking for a depressing news item.  I can see a judge who is chipper and buoyant but just before he heads to the courtroom, he grabs a newspaper, muttering to himself, “Court starts in 3 minutes.  There has to be a story in here about hurricanes. “

            In the unlikely event that he does not find one, he can always look at the sports section to learn the score in the last Blue Jays game. That’s an easy fix.

            There is always the risk of course that while scanning the newspaper the judge’s eyes might notice the comic strip.  Life has its risks.

            If the news does not work, the judge can simply examine his latest hydro bill.  After a minute or so, he can go into his courtroom saying to himself, “Great. Now I feel like crap.  I’m  safe.”

            But what about those judges whose mood is almost always at a high.  I imagine there will no doubt be sharp entrepreneurs who will cater to judges who have trouble losing their sense of humour and becoming depressed and glum.  These motivational speakers will offer seminars to the judiciary, such as, “Tap your inner genius.  Get depressed in 3 easy steps.” Or “Humour is no laughing matter.  Giggling is the new smoking.”

            I am certain if a judge’s mood in the courtroom does not plummet, he or she will get a visit from the chief justice who will likely admonish the happy judge, saying, “Harry, we have had some complaints about you. You were seen smiling several times this week.  It has to stop. Here, read this immediately. I’m leaving you my copy of Hamlet.

            Are we heading in this direction? Better yet, do we want to head there?    

 

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

And coming soon, my new book,  "Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel  "
Stay tuned

 

Judicial Nonsense, zero tolerance  
  

A Connecticut Courthouse for Sale by Yankee Arthur King

Sep 14, 2017 8:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    George Beckwith of Goodman Missouri, got a surprising phone call recently from a lawyer, informing him that he soon would be an owner of a 19th-century courthouse in Connecticut.

    Seems back in the early 1800s his family owned the property and the deal was that if the structure ever stopped being a courthouse, the building, built in 1889, complete with clock tower, would revert to the family’s descendants. Courthouse activities indeed ceased recently and here we are.

    The lucky beneficiary had no use for a courthouse and he was actually was able to find some non profit preservation trust, that agreed to buy the property at a bargain basement price.

    I ask, had he not located this purchaser, how would he have disposed of this legacy? I imagine he would have had to list it for sale with a real estate agency. Let’s call it Arthur King Realty, a (not too well known) realty company from New York.  I can just envisage the listing specs.


        " Just listed.

        Spectacular property, set in prestigious Litchfield Green, backing onto Jake’s Pond. Nestled amongst the oak trees stretching out of nearby Blackacre  State Park.  Walking distance to parks, churches and Aunt Myrtle’s Diner.

        Contains 4 spacious courtrooms.  Judge’s chambers next to master courtroom has renovated powder room. Courtroom 2 would make a great playroom, easily accommodating a ping pong table and air hockey game.  And the mahogany witness boxes will make a great place for your kids to play hide and seek.

        Fully air controlled with multiple ceiling fans.

        And you can throw your wrist watch away. Building has a Seth Thomas clock tower.

        Historical property. Walk out to back yard where former pillories stood.  One pillory still remaining. Perfect for that guest who comes to your barbecue and complains too much.

        No need to worry anymore about where to lodge relatives you are not crazy about.
        Basement fully finished, with 3 closed concept cells.  Agent has the keys and the handcuffs.
   
        Ideal for lawyers. Your chance to finally sit on the bench.

        Includes all furnishings, appliances and gavels.

       A must see. Won’t stay on the market too long.   Showings by appointment only.  Call Arthur King."


     Maybe next time we get one of those emails from Spain, India or Nigeria saying one of our relatives we never heard of, died without a will and his $10 million estate is there for us for the taking, we should consider it seriously.

     I’ll be watching my emails.

 

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

And coming soon, my new book,  Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel  

Stay tuned.

  

PCs or Macs? That is the Question

Sep 3, 2017 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

            Many offices are considering switching their systems to Apple Macs.  I have a vast knowledge on the subject given that I can match anyone on the planet on the frustration meter.  Here are my thoughts.

            Actually I have both at home.  While still in practice I seriously considered switching from PC to Apple. However I relented as my tech guy warned me not to do it given the likely glitches during the learning curve. He did say it was my choice but if I succumbed and I ever needed his help, his assistant would say he is out fishing, indefinitely.

            Apple is not just a computer system; it’s a culture.  You go to an Apple store and what you see are swarms of clerks or “team members” sporting navy blue or red Apple sweatshirts. They are each distinguishable from one another by the tattoos they sport.  That’s not exactly accurate. You can also tell them apart by their body piercings.

             As expected, the staff are 110% tech savvy.  You enter a store and you’ll be greeted by some millennial, usually with a name like Cal.  You tell him you want to ask a question as you have just spent two hours trying to figure out why the delete button does not delete. Cal refers you to a colleague, usually with a name like Rod.  Cal then sends a quick text to Rod describing your issue.  Rod by the way is standing about one meter away from Cal.  I suppose doing a 90 degree turn and talking is passée.

            They also seem to know everything about you.  Last time I attended and gave Cal my name, he said, “And I hope you enjoyed your scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast this morning.” He apparently got this accurate information after clicking a couple of times on his Apple watch.

            You do get the feeling though that the staff gets a bit condescending if you look like you are over 35 years old.  I have salt and pepper hair. (OK, mostly salt.  OK, no pepper.).  The guy at the front of the mall store, this time by the name of Zac, greeted me like I was an Amish.  The look he gave me clearly said, “I trust you found ample parking for your horse and buggy.”

            I tried to hide my scratch pad and pencil, but it was too late. He asked me, “What are those strange things thee art holding.”

            As for the issues I had, my 8 year old granddaughter Laya instantly resolved the “delete” matter showing me that on Apples you put the curser after the word, not before.  After her demo I certainly had an “Ah huh” moment. This makes eminent sense to me.  I have no clue why Microsoft is so primitive.

            And so if anyone wishes more information on whether or not they should toss their PCs and switch to Macs, feel free to get in touch with me. Just give me a call. I implore you however, please, do not to send me a text. 

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

  

  

August 2017


Big Brother is Watching-Resistance is Futile

Aug 9, 2017 9:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    As the Borg said in Star Trek to some aliens it was taking over, “You will be assimilated” and “Resistance is futile”.

    Nicholas Troller, a Manitoba resident applied for and obtained a personalized license plate reading , “ASIMIL8",  a couple of years ago no problem. Now the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has notified Toller to surrender his plate as it is “offensive”. No reasons given.

    The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is challenging the MPI’s decision with a court Application. Some people are getting concerned about the erosion of free speech.

    If the MPI’s decision is a sign of the coming of “1984",  I believe all our license plates may similarly soon be assailed soon. My own plate, reads, BJXH610.  It is not personalized.  However if you parse it carefully, no doubt some will say it just begs for condemnation.  Take a look:

    B—This stands for bad.  A non starter

    J— Obviously joking.  You cannot joke about too many things these days.  Read the news.  Out.

    X—As in X rated.  What about the children? Need I say more

    H— Conspicuously and blatantly says hate, as in Hitler or Hess or Heinrich Himmler.  Perish the thought.

    The numerals are no less offensive if you examine them carefully.

    6—This is the number of the devil himself. Actually 666 is but it all starts with that first 6.  Please save us.

    1----Now we are getting into religion, the number 1 preaching monotheism.

    0— Still in religion, suggesting atheism.  As well we now have a conflict as “1" is adjacent and in opposition to “0".

    Some people might even view the 1 and the 0 as a “10" as in ten commandments. Offensive?  A court in Oklahoma a while back ordered a monument bearing the ten commandments to be removed.

    I am a Trek fan myself. I remember when we all enjoyed Star Trek and I trust the court will set this one right.  As for the MPI, I suggest, “Scotty, beam some common sense into them”.

    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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

 

  

July 2017


No People Were Used in this Trial

Jul 30, 2017 9:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     We are starting to see paperless trials. I don’t like it at all. I am rather old school. In my view, the greatest invention of the century is the stickie note.

     Be that as it may, as for a paperless trial, I see this as just the tip of the iceberg. I believe it will not be too long til we see a peopleless trial. Like so:

     The lawyers arrive at the courtroom. A voice announces, "Oyez Oyez. Come forth and ye shall be heard"

     In comes a robot, wearing an elegant robe. Justice Robot rolls up to the bench.

JUDGE: Sorry I’m a bit late. I have a slight malfunction this morning. IT should be able to deal with it at the recess.

PLAINTIFF COUNSEL: Shall I call my first witness Your Honour?

JUDGE: You may address me as Harold, madam counsel.

PL LAWYER: Uhh, Harold, I am a male.

HAROLD J: Oh yes of course. You may proceed madam.


PL LAWYER: Uhh mmm, thank you Harold.

     Plaintiff lawyer claps his hands and a video appears whereby his
client gives her pre- recorded evidence in chief.

     Defence counsel soon objects, arguing plaintiff lawyer is leading the witness.

HAROLD J: Let me rule on that one sir and/or madam. Do you want the
short or the more comprehensive ruling? For short please say "One".
For more comprehensive, please say "Two". For French, please say,
"Oui".

PL LAWYER: Oui?

HAROLD J: Le juge Harold va vous rendre son decision tout de suite.

PL LAWYER: No Harold, we want the ruling in English.
HAROLD J: For English, please say "Canadian" or "American".

PL LAWYER: Canadian of course.

HAROLD J: Eh?

PL LAWYER: That’s right Harold.

HAROLD J: I can do that madam. Here is what I found on the web.

PL LAWYER: We require your actual ruling Harold.

COURT REPORTER: I could not hear that at all. Can you please repeat
it. My battery must be running low.

HAROLD: Your comments are important to us mister reporter. For
quality assurance this conversation may be recorded.

PL LAWYER: Harold, looks like the video of my client’s evidence has
frozen. Can you call a recess please?

COURT REGISTRAR: No talking in the courtroom. (pause)...Loading, loading...

HAROLD: I believe a spare battery has arrived for the court reporter.
Registrar, please open the door to allow the delivery drone to enter.

COURT REGISTRAR: The system does not allow me to open the door.

DEF COUNSEL: Let me do it.

PL LAWYER: Harold, I am concerned about the technical problems
presenting themselves in this trial.

HAROLD: I’m sorry you feel that way madam counsel.

PL LAWYER: Can we have a short recess please?

HAROLD: Certainly doctor . And you may order your morning coffee now
from the courthouse café. For mocha java, please say "one". For
cappuccino say "two" For latté, say " three".

REGISTRAR: Fifteen minute recess. Order! All rise.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Ouch! That drone just struck me on my head.
REGISTRAR: Everyone please leave the courtroom. And for your
information, we are locking up. Counsel can leave all their documents
inside.

BOTH LAWYERS: What are documents?

     I think I’ll just watch the development of future litigation practices
from the sidelines, sipping my java.

 

I am now retired from practice after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I wouid be delighted to speak about using humour (humor south of my border), avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse your group at your special event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

And please stay tuned for the release of my upcoming book, :Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Travel"

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

June 2017


The Law is an Ass? Not anymore!

Jun 22, 2017 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     There is reason to celebrate. At last, there is going to be a massive awaited change in legislation.  But, it’s not what you think. I am not talking about amendments to the Draconian provisions of the Insurance Act or the like.  This stuff is huge.

    Parliament this week tabled a bill removing certain offenses from the Criminal Code.

    One such revision is repeal of section 365 dealing with witchcraft.  As matters stand now, it is a crime to “pretend to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration”.

    Actually I would rather this one does not get repealed.  You see, I have a neighbour who I am sure is a sorcerer.  I have admonished him several times to wear a helmet when he cycles but he insists on whizzing along my street donning his conical hat with the stars and moons on it.  I do not like cyclists to start with and I am especially stressed about a biker who can potentially turn me into a frog.

    His wife Hazel is not better. She totally disregards my pleas not to use my driveway as a landing strip for her broom.

    I am considering ratting on both of them before the revisions come into play.  It’s not conjuration. But I say burn them both at the stake in any event.

    Another revision will be to section 71 which bans challenging another person to a duel.  I for one  have often been riled up after a confrontation with some adjustor or defense lawyer.  I can think of numerous times while in practice, where I wanted to go over to his office and slap his face with a glove, challenging the culprit to a duel.  However my only deterrent was this stupid section 71.  Actually I did have another deterrent.  There is no way I can ever get out of bed at dawn.  I am a late riser and a night owl.  Who ever heard of pistols after the eleven o’clock news?

    Under the circumstances those greedy and vexatious adjustors and defense lawyers should consider themselves lucky.

    Another good one is the repeal of section 404, which creates an offence for anyone impersonating someone at a university exam.  I shall confess, I almost got nailed by that one once. Back during my undergrad years at McGill, I attended a physics exam wearing a fake wig and mustache making me a perfect ringer for Albert Einstein.  I believed if I would look and feel like Einstein, I would perform like him. Fortunately the invigilator was not the sharpest tool in the shed. He just said to me, “Good luck Groucho.”

    Isn’t it great to see our Parliament address these crucial areas of the law, while other legislative bodies elsewhere spend their good time yapping about jejune issues such as climate change, terrorism and our neighbour’s president. Oh Canada!

 

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

 

 

 

  

I’ts OK; It’s Art

Jun 4, 2017 11:00 AM
Marcel Strigberger

     Kathy Griffin, is a comedian. She gets paid big bucks to make people laugh.  Her career is now in hot water after posting a photo of her holding a mock bloodied severed head of President Trump.  CNN immediately disavowed, her cancelling her New Years Eve Time Square gig. Others have also followed suit cancelling some of her future performances. She pleads that this act was really an expression of art so it was OK. However when an avalanche of  criticism rained down on Griffin, she did not take long to apologize.  She noted that she may have crossed the line and tweeted, “OBVIOUSLY I do not condone ANY violence.”  Spoken like a true flower child.  Lovely.

    There seems to be an alarming frequency of outrageous and offensive acts perpetrated all in the name of art.

    I can readily see in the near future this argument becoming a defense in law.  It will join the M'Naghten rule test for criminal insanity. Under the M'Naghten rule, a criminal defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity if, at the time of the alleged criminal act, the defendant was so deranged that he did not know the nature or quality of her actions or, if he knew the nature and quality of his actions, he was so deranged that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.

    I can just visualize some guy robbing a bank. He is arrested and comes to court. The judge asks, “How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty”  

    His lawyer responds, “Your Honour, my client relies on the Picasso rule.  He pleads not guilty by reason of having committed art.  At the time of the alleged criminal act, he was so absorbed by his artistic talents that taking money from the bank was not his object at all. He certainly did not know he was doing anything wrong. This was all a staged installation.  To my client, the bank was his canvas.  His 44 Magnum was his brush. His bullets were his paints.  And even the disguise he wore was a vintage Renaissance Venetian mask.”

    After the trial, the judge agrees with the defense and he pronounces judgment:”I find you not guilty by reason of having committed art. You will be confined to the Royal Ontario Museum, for an indefinite period of time, at the pleasure of the Crown. Your case will be reviewed from time to time as necessary by a panel of artists.  I now call for a recess.”

  

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. My content does not cross the line. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  
  

May 2017


Your Feedback is Important to us and Other Myths

May 18, 2017 11:00 AM
Marcel Strigberger

It is becoming increasingly difficult in dealing with large corporations to speak to live people or more so, live people who actually listen and help.

    I bought a case of Alexander Keith’s Ale a while back. I left it somewhere in the house and about a year later came across it again.  I wondered if it was still drinkable. I called some number in Halifax (ie Nova Scotia’s legendary beer, since 1820) expecting to speak to a descendant of Alexander Keith himself, maybe some guy called Fergus.  I hit a customer relations gentleman called Jeremy. After giving him the bottle codes he suggested that though drinkable, I would be wise not to test my body’s immune system with the product.  He took my contact info.

    Two weeks later I received an email from a brewery in St Louis, Missouri.  The email contained a survey, the RE line reading, “Is my beer still good?”.  I was shocked. It seems Alexander Keith’s is actually a brand of this mega brewery. There is no Fergus Keith at all. If there ever was, he or his family sold out.  Shame.

    The survey read something like, “We are never satisfied with our results. We want to make sure you have a positive experience with us.”

    I thought about it and responded, giving an overall comment in the allowable 255 characters, saying, “ A positive experience would be for you guys to send me a certificate for a free case of Keith’s.”  Why not?

    I did not hear from them.  A couple of weeks later I called Halifax again, complaining that I never got a response to my survey comments, and asking about some of that positive experience.

    One Trevor, said he would pass my comments on.

    Two weeks later I received another email from St. Louis, the RE line reading, “I never got a response to my survey comments.” The survey again wanted to know how they could make my experience better as they was never satisfied unless I was.

    I called Halifax again and this time, one Cameron risked all, by giving me an 800 number directly to the St. Louis team associates who should be able to assist me.

    With much anticipation, I called the 800 number.  A voice told me my call was important to them and that they were never satisfied unless I had a positive experience.  A Lee Ann, with a quaint southern drawl, came on the line.  She asked if she could refer to me as Marcel.  I said sure, following which she went to call me, ”Y’all”.

    Lee Ann asked how she could enhance my experience with her brewery.  I told her given that I took my time to respond to the survey, it would be nice for them to offer me a replacement for my aborted case of beer.  I also asked if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax. She asked, “Where is Halifax?”  We were on a roll.

    She told me very sympathetically, “I am sorry for your less than excellent experience. We are definitely not satisfied. I shall pass this on.

    This time for sure I expected a certificate for a nice case of beer. Then again Hillary Clinton expected to win the presidential election.

    Yesterday, I received another email from the “we are not satisfied til you are “ team.  The RE line read, “Customer queries if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax?”

    I give up.  I have gone back to Sleemans.  I don’t give a damn whether or not there was ever a Sidney Sleeman.  I just hope that at least this brand is still Canadian and not owned by say, Miller.

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, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at marcel@striglaw.com.

  

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.

  

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.

  

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?

  

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.

 

 

 

  

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 .


 

  

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.

 

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  
  

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.

 

  

September 2016


I Only Want to see the Game, M'am

Sep 11, 2016 7:35 PM
Marcel Strigberger

             The past week saw my litigation law practice fielding one continuous exciting situation to another extinguishing a host of fires day from the get go to the end of the day. I took a breather at one point, going for a leisurely walk along the peaceful tree-lined streets near my office. As I was sauntering along, I started daydreaming about fantasy jobs. What occupations can be more fun than being a litigation lawyer, I thought.

            After running through the usual ones like airline pilot and train engineer, I concluded that the greatest job hands down in the world has to be a police officer. Not just any cop.  Specifically I am referring to the police who get to go to major league baseball games and enjoy the game while getting paid for this strenuous effort.

            We have all noticed these guys and women and consciously or subconsciously and we have envied them. In the years that I have watched ball games, I have never seen these privileged officers in blue do any police work.  Not once did they suddenly turn around and crack a thriving cocaine ring operating from behind 100 Section seats. And what are the perils of their station? Their worst downside perhaps is stepping on some sticky dried up Coke.

            My question then is, how does a police officer get this assignment?  Do they draw lots at the station?  Is it seniority?  I doubt it as I often see younger officers there.  Probably the answer is that these people were saints in their previous lifetime and they have returned now to be rewarded to a life of living out everyone's childhood fantasy.  Perhaps one of them was originally a passenger aboard the Titanic who helped others get aboard life rafts.  Eventually his soul returned to earth and Providence rewarded him.  The angels upstairs had a chat:

“Gabriel:  What do you say we return this guy to the world as a policeman and send him to the Rogers Centre?  He deserves a cushy, soft, fun job doing nothing and getting paid for it.

Raphael:  O.K. Gabriel, it's either the Rogers Centre or the Senate.”

            On the other hand maybe there is an element of skill in the position and the officers actually practice and compete for it.  I am thinking now about the cops at the Blue Jay games.  In front of each dugout you have two officers sitting on stools watching the game.  They laugh and cheer with the rest of us. Once the half inning is over they stand up and turn around and scowl at the spectators.  Once play resumes they sit back down and continue to enjoy themselves.

            The element of skill here is obvious. They must demonstrate the undisputed ability to be able to sit through a half inning of baseball and then get up instantly, do a pirouette around and scowl.  It's really in the face.  They have to look mean, like a cross between Jaws and Osama Bin Laden. They have to have that look on their face which says, "OK, I know that now that the half inning is over all 45,000 of you want to just get up and charge down to this here dugout.  Well I'm ready for you.  All of you.  Try it.  Make my day."

            When the job advertisement comes up no doubt hundreds of police get into gear and vie for the position.                       

            Firstly there is probably an aptitude test, to assess psychological proficiency.  The questionnaire probably reads like so:

            "24. When the Blue Jays hit a home run, you react by:

                                    a) cheering and applauding;

                                    b) arresting anyone you see not cheering: or

                                    c) turning around and taunting the crowd by boasting about the great free view you had of the event.

            As well they must all practice vigorously for that big interview. They rehearse sitting in front of dugouts at their local parks.  Then they practice the flip around and that scowl, which they do in front of a mirror.

            Only the best cops make it.  And of course the force has to be credited for wise choices to date.  I know of no instance where mobs have descended upon the Blue Jays’ or visitors’ dugouts in between innings and made off with the Gatorade.

            I guess I may have missed my call.  It would have been a fun job.  But I'll just have to stick to practising law.  Yet there is still some hope.  Eventually. I hereby ask that if anyone knows of anybody who needs to be helped into a life raft, please call me. 

 

            I practice family law and civil litigation (primarily personal injury/insurance law).  Please visit www.striglaw.com.  I pay for my ballgame tickets, unless a kind client offers me complimentary tickets.

  

August 2016


Vanishing School Supplies

Aug 17, 2016 9:26 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 a new school knapsack yet.

     Leo asked her where the the Elmo knapsack he had tripped over in June was?

     Melissa replied, “I don;t know dad.  But I need one with Pokemon. 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 Pokemon 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 yellow HB 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.  "I'm sure you'll find my computer mouse there".  lamented the professor.

   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=MC2” 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 pushing for a ban to 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 case.

    Please also visit my law practice site www.striglaw.com.  As of this minute, I have enough paperclips to last me a lifetime.

  

 

  

July 2016


Pilots, Paramedics and Pokemon

Jul 24, 2016 8:19 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Two Air Transat pilots, a Jean Francois Perrault and an Imram Zafar Syed, were about to fly their Airbus from Glasgow Scotland,  back to Toronto when they were yanked out of the cockpit by police and arrested for being under the influence of alcohol.  This is scary.

    I wonder how these pilots thought they could avoid detection of their state.  They certainly were not too discreet. They attracted suspicion initially when they approached the gate humming Scotland the Brave.  The situation got more attention when they checked in with traffic control saying, "MacGregor brothers, ready for takeoff. " What really got one of the flight attendants to sound the alarm was when the first officer lifted up the captain's kilt.

    There were Canadians aboard.

    And in New Brunswick, a lady drove her husband, who was suffering from agonizing backaches, to the E.R. at the Moncton Hospital.  A nurse and security guard refused them attention and told the pair they had to call paramedics to bring him into the hospital.  That's like police showing up by chance at a bank during a hold up and being told by bank employees to leave as the teller had not yet sounded the alarm.

    Though bewildered, two paramedics did eventually show up in the hospital parking lot.  They helped the patient in no problem though one of the medics ended up with a hoarse voice from imitating a loud siren.
    
    Pokemon time. I see the Toronto Transit Commission ( TTC) has announced that there are no Pokemons to be caught on the subway tracks. We are all on notice now. If any of lawyers come across clients who got nailed by a Bloor-Danforth train while trying to nab a Pokemon on the tracks at the Spadina station, think twice about taking on the case.  I'd say the TTC has a great argument on contributory negligence, or even better, volenti.

    Please also visit www.striglaw.com, my family law and personal injury practice site. We take our work seriously, not always ourselves.

  

June 2016


Emergency Pizza Situation

Jun 26, 2016 9:28 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     It takes all types. A lady in St John’s Nfld.  ordered a pizza but was not happy as she found the pizza skimpy in cheese. What did she do? She called 911.  The call went through to the local police.

    The news story does not elaborate on the call but I can only guess how the recording would have sounded:

    911-    Yes madame, what is the emergency? Fire, police or ambulance?

    Victim-I ordered a pizza  and it does not have enough cheese.

    911-     Oh my goodness,  We had better dispatch all three services.

    Victim- How long will it be til they get here?

    911-      Not long. The firefighters usually get there first.  Is the pizza hot?

    Victim- Yes.  It also looks spicy. But definitely too little cheese.

    911-      I understand madam. It is important that you stay calm.  Have you eaten any of it yet?

    Victim- Of course not. How could I? I’m scared.  I feel violated.

    911-      I can understand how you feel. A pizza without enough cheese on it can be terrifying. Can you give us a good description of the offending pizza?

    Victim- It has some mushrooms, green peppers and onion.  Please hurry.

    911-       Just hold please...OK, I just cut off a cardiac arrest call.  Are the firefighters there yet?

    Victim-   I think so. There is a guy with an axe chopping down my front door.  

    911-        Very good.  As I said they usually show up first.

    Victim-   And the police have just arrived also.  They’re putting a couple of slices into plastic bags and marking them.

    911-        Preserving Evidence.  Very good.  I wonder what’s taking those paramedics so long?

    Victim-    They just got here too. One guy is approaching me with a cheese grater and a hunk of Parmesan.

    911-         Super.  You must stay calm... There goes that pesky cardiac arrest guy calling again.  Don’t they understand what 911 is all about!


    I practice personal injury/insurance law and family law while I am not monitoring emergency pizza situations. Please visit www.striglaw.com.

 

  

May 2016


Costco Lawyer

May 1, 2016 9:02 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    I recently penned  comments about how the law offices located at some Walmart outlets market their services.  Lawyers nooks are starting to spring up at a fair number of Walmart branches.

    I went to Costco the other day and the thought crossed my mind as to how Costco were to dispense legal services were they to follow the suit of Walmart.  Who knows, it may do so in the near future.  We have to be ready to face this competition.

    Firstly, Costco is into size. They sell large tubs of mustard, maple syrup or hand sanitiser.  How would they apply this regimen to legal services?

    Would they use big lawyers?  To work there you have to be a member of the Ontario Bar, have at least two years experience and be over 6'6". You would certainly have a leg up on other applicants if your name was Goliath.

    Then again maybe their products would have to be big.  The minimum size Will they would draft would be a 20 pager.  This would add a new dimension to the term, “per stirpes”. We all know there is economy in size.

    Secondly Costco’s products are often sold in larger than one quantities.  Why get just one simple divorce.  Their lawyers would ask a client, “How many wives do you have?  We have a super special if you want to divorce three.”  OK then, maybe this special would only work in Utah. I am not sure if they have Costcos in Saudi Arabia.

    Another feature of Costco are those free sample displays.  I can readily see a booth on the floor with a lawyer standing there reciting Latin maxims.  Then again, I do not see mobs of people lining up 3 deep as they do at the Krispe Kreme stand.

    What I like most about Costco is their amazing money back/ refund policy. Satisfaction guaranteed.   As lawyers, we cannot generally guaranty results but Costco would have no problem.

    Say some client gets charged with robbery, pays Costco $10,000.00 for a defence, and gets convicted.  No problem. He just returns to any Costco, once he is out on parole, say 5 years later. He stands in the refund line, and shows the clerk his bill. The clerk asks, “Was there something wrong with the product sir?”  All the client has to say is, “I got 10 years in the pen.  I definitely wasn’t satisfied with my lawyer’s services. I’m also returning this 12 pack cans of sardines.”

    They give him back his money back with a smile.

    I am not as concerned about paralegals intruding into our livelihood, nor the government legislating us out of personal injury work.  But should Costco ever get into providing legal services, then as far as I'm concerned, our goose is cooked.  Or should I say, our geese are cooked.

    Please visit my law practice site, www.striglaw.com.  I practice family law and personal injury/insurance law when I am not out looking for deals at Costco (big deals).

  

April 2016


Crawlers and Critters

Apr 17, 2016 6:51 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     A judge in Michigan just hammered 27 year old Windsor resident Kai Xu with a sentence of 5 years in jail. His crime? He was caught smuggling 51 turtles which were in his pants, taped to his legs.  He was going to sell them to sources in China.  Five years, including another 19 months in pre trial custody is a long time for illegally shipping turtles without a U.S. permit.

    The American judges are very quick to incarcerate people for relatively minor and victimless offenses. Hey, it’s not cocaine.  I know of no turtle junkies.  I have yet to hear of some lout robbing a bank so he can satisfy his need for a turtle fix.  When is the last time you heard of some Mafia clan fighting a competitor for control of the turtle traffic?

    News flash: RCMP  raids the home of Tony, “The Tortoise” Tomasso.  They confiscate an armoury of weapons, $200,000.00 in cash an 350 turtles.  Not yet.

    But in this case the U.S Customs guys  missed the real catch.  I hear that the turtles were just a diversion. Kai Xu was really smuggling in pants.  

    Here’s more about creepy critters.  I never heard of Norwood Ontario. Maybe some of you did. It is about 2 hours northeast of Toronto. Norwood is the home of  Entomo Farms. This outfit harvests and prepares insects for human consumption. It grows and  processes  roasted crickets and mealworms which it says are more beneficial than meat.  The owners, the three Goldin brothers, claim that insects have double the protein of beef as well as 30 times the vitamin B.

    They say it is a tasty delicacy you can eat like crunchy potato chips or sprinkle on your pasta or salads.

    After reading this story I felt a bit queasy.  I can identify 100% with Mustapha. He’s that plaintiff who sued for nervous shock after just watching a dead fly floating around in his Culligan water tank.  I don’t know about you but I prefer cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels, doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.

    Compared to what Entomo Farms sell, these are definitely a few of my favourite things.     
    And if I want crunchy, I’ll stick to Pringles.   


    I practice family law and personal injury/insurance law. Please visit my website www.striglaw.com .  I listen.  You can always tell me about your favourite things.

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

March 2016


Your Jail Review, Please

Mar 20, 2016 6:19 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     Anders Breivik, the right wing extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011 is spending 21 years in a high security prison, Skien, in Southern Norway, His windowed cell is 32 square meters, and it includes a television, a Sony Play Station and a treadmill. He also has access to distance learning courses at Norway’s main university.

     Anders however is suing the state claiming his human rights are being violated, given that he has limited access to other people, is often searched and is having his mail snooped.

     I think Norwegian prisons should be more sensitive to their inmates’ comfort and convenience.   In fact, prison conditions should be reported on Trip Advisor.  This would give potential inmates the possibility of making an informed decision as to where they wish to be incarcerated.  Reviews of other prisoners on Trip Advisor might look like this:

     "Full European food plan, includes 3 meals a day, served in your cell. Five stars.

     “Been to other jails before. This is a great place for a long term stay. "

     "Not too clean.  Glass separating inmates from guests in visitors’ meeting room was dirty.”

Management Response:

     “Sorry to hear about the dirty glass sir.  Last week our supply of Windex ran low.  We shall do our best to make sure it does not happen again."

                                                        Olaf Jorgensen- warden

 

     "Best location I have ever seen in a prison. Just a few kilometers from super attractions such as Eric's cheese farm. "

"Excellent amenities.  I really liked the business centre.  I spent a few hours daily punching out license plates."

"Place was a bit noisy when I was there.  There must have been a riot a month.  I lost a few good nights sleep.  I would pass on this property."

Management Response:

     "Sorry to hear about the noise sir.  I future we shall suggest to all inmates that if they wish to riot, they be considerate of guests such as yourself and that they riot only between the hours of 2-5:30 P.M.

                                                         Ole Olsen- assistant warden

 

     "They even supply you with free gray uniforms. And the breakfasts usually feature Norwegian Lox.  Awesome."

     "I'm a fitness freak.  The exercise yard was just outside my private cell. "

     "I'm a habitual arsonist.  Been to many prisons before. I would definitely return here.  I was not crazy however spending my working time primarily in the laundry.  Got a cigarette?

Management response:

     Thank you for your feedback sir.  Our facility is a non smoking one. But perhaps next time you check in, you can speak to management directly and we can find you a suitable spot to keep you engaged, like perhaps the prison bakery.

                                                         Inger Bergson- social director

     I am certain that if potential prisoners would have access to comments such as these from  fellow inmates, then they could make their choices voluntarily and we would no longer see legal actions such as the one instituted by Anders Breivik.

 

     I practice personal injury/insurance and family law and mediation. Please visit www.striglaw.com . I do not represent any disgrucntled prisoners

 

  

February 2016


Crazy Cruise Contracts

Feb 21, 2016 7:12 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     I just returned from a cruise.  What caught my attention the most was the Draconian cruise contract. It looks something like this:

     1. Though we are an American company, we fly the flag of Malta.  This means that you can sue us if you speak Maltese.  At our discretion we can change flags in the middle of the cruise.  Should you suffer injury, you have 30 minutes to guess what flag we are flying at the time. 

     2.  Failure to notify your stateroom attendant promptly of the nationality of the flag flying at the time disqualifies you from suing us, by virtue of Article 341(a) of the Rotterdam Convention, 1911. Full details of same are posted in the ship's engine room.  Please note, unauthorized entry into the engine room is strictly prohibited and may result in our staff throwing you overboard.

     3.   By taking this cruise you are waiving all claims against us other than claims for negligence. By clicking "Accept" you are accepting that we are never negligent.

     4. Any law suit started by you must be issued in a court of competent jurisdiction as determined by us, situated in the State of Florida.  We have not determined that there is a court of competent jurisdiction in the State of Florida.

     5. Should you sue us, you may select trial by judge and jury subject to clause 13.06(1). Clause 13.06(1) which reads," The cruise company in its sole discretion, may select the composition of all members of the jury".

     6.  The carrier's monetary liability will be limited in accordance with Article 43(3) (a) of the Athens Convention, 1923, to the sum of 5000 Drachmas.  Payment by the carrier for such amount may be made over a period of 99 years.

     7.  The carrier is only responsible for its own negligence which does not included any acts of malfeasance by any of its crew, not limited to its captain, engineers, deckhands, chefs, waiters, security officers, cleaners, medical staff, tour operators, or other persons who in the event of an accident, utter the words, " Oops, we're crew!"

     8.    Our liability for lost luggage is in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which allows our porters to hold all lost or missing luggage as prisoners as long as they do not interrogate your bags.

     9.  The carrier may deviate from the listed cruise itinerary as is reasonable. Remaining in the port of origin for the duration of the cruise will be deemed to be a reasonable deviation.

    10.  You will notice that the foregoing clauses are an abridged version of the official contract which is written in Latin.  For a complete translation into English of this contract, please visit the engine room. But you know what that means.

         If that is not enough, when you sign in online, they make you tick off a box saying,

        "I have read and understood the foregoing contract."

          And right after that there is another box they make you tick off "yes" which reads, "And you still want to cruise?"

         Well that is not exactly what the contract says. But then again, I cannot tell you exactly what it says as I do not understand Latin.

        When not cruising or worrying about cruise contracts, I practice family law and personal injury/insurance law. Please visit www.striglaw.com

  

January 2016


Walmart-Special this Week: Lawyers

Jan 10, 2016 9:57 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    I read just read a story about a law firm called Axess, which operates out of Walmart stores. They offer cut rate fees for legal services. They have a sandwich board in front of the store and they target unsuspecting shoppers coming to Walmart to buy commodities such as bananas, light bulbs and underwear.

    They operate out of 10 stores so far and, they plan to expand to many more Walmart branches across the province. The founders boast that they can often get the job done while the client is still shopping.

    My mind wanders off as I see where the practice of law is heading off to in the not too distant future.

    Someone slips and falls on some broccoli at the store.  All he has to do is step into lawyer 126's office, at the partition wall next to the optical department.  His file is opened in 15 minutes.  The lawyer's clerk  takes a few pictures of the accident scene.  She's the one with the name tag reading, "Hi, I'm Sandy”

    Within 20 minutes associate lawyer 177  punches out a notice letter and she delivers it to the store manager's office.

    Walmart then dispatches an adjustor, whose office is at the back of the Tim Horton's. The adjustor gets a statement from the victim, and sends him for a quickie medical exam at the walk-in clinic in front of cashier number 11.  The exam is conducted by a veterinarian, who does part time sales at the Pet Value, located in aisle 16.  The Ontario government, after lobbying by the insurance industry, has certified him as being a para physician. Premier Kathleen Wynne says this prevents fraud.

    The lawyer and the adjustor meet over a coffee and within an hour, while the client is waiting to pay for his purchases at cash number 6, the case is resolved.

    The lawyer and the adjustor drink a toast, clinking mugs of beer from the micro-brewery, located at the side of the store, next to the Walmart chapel.

    The adjustor and the lawyer complete an appraisal report on the progress and resolution of the file and email it to the government. Most importantly, fraud was prevented in the process and Walmart's insurance premiums have been drastically reduced.  The lawyers' fee is $44.44.

    I suddenly wake up.  It has all been a bad dream.  So far.

    I practice personal injury and family law. Please visit my website www.striglaw.com. In addition to coffee, I offer my clients snacks, which I buy at Walmart.

 

 

  

December 2015


Corgies, cruisers and cold ones.

Dec 13, 2015 11:21 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     American Airlines screwed last week big time by flying  Bethany, the corgi, from Seattle, instead of to Jackson, Mississippi, to Honolulu, Hawaii.

     The airline is looking into the incident. I can see how that gaffe can readily happen. For one, you have to have hawkeyes to be able to tell apart the names, “Jackson” and “Honolulu”.  I have a hard time telling them apart. After all, they both have an “o” in them.

     And it certainly does not inspire confidence in the level of security at Seattle Airport.  Maybe the error would not have happened had security made the dog take off her shoes.

     And here is a feel good story about a miniature donkey. A lady near Norman Oklahoma found this little critter walking along a rural road. She called police and a kind officer, Kyle Canaan, gave the donkey, which the lady called “Squishy”, a lift in his cruiser.  If nobody claims Squishy shortly, the lady will adopt him.

     But I see where this is going. I expect a lawyer to show up at the station and demand that police immediately release his client.   This will be followed by an action by the donkey against the police for wrongful arrest. Concurrently the donkey will sue the lady for defamation, for calling him “Squishy”.  

     As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

     Speaking of beer, let's talk about Bud Weisser. That is the name of the 19 year old gentleman who has been charged with trespassing after entering a secure area of a St. Louis Mo.  factory, namely Budweiser.  I think he would have gotten off uneventfully had security not asked and had he not given them his name.  At that point the guard probably tasered him. I wonder what he was doing there to start with. I can think of other ways of trying to track your family tree.

     At least his name and the beer giant's name sound a bit more similar to one another than Jackson and Honolulu.

Please visit my personal injury/family law website, www.striglaw.com .  No animals are ever harmed in my practice.

 

 

 

  

November 2015


Judge in Jeopardy

Nov 15, 2015 6:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The big story this week has to be about Justice Robin Camp, the Provincial Court judge, who is being investigated now for deriding a rape victim and acquitting her accused.  He made comments such as “Why couldn't you just keep your knees together", and "Sex and pain sometimes go together. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing."

So far all that has happened is that he has been barred from hearing sexual assault case.

In my view however, a leopard cannot change his spots.  I imagine he will make parallel comments in non sexual assault cases:

BANK ROBBERY          

What do you expect sir?  Banks have all this cash. Surely they will attract robbers.  This has been going on since the days of Jesse James.  If you do not want to get robbed, don’t look like a bank.  Change your name from Royal Bank to Royal Donuts."  As well banks can avoid robberies by keeping their doors closed.

DRIVE WHILE IMPAIRED

Madam Crown, I must acquit this gentleman.  The fault for his driving lies squarely on the LCBO liquor store.  They sold him the booze.  Furthermore just go to any LCBO outlet and you will see the parking lot is full of cars.  It’s obvious that liquor and cars go together.

TAX FRAUD

What do you mean he cheated on his taxes?   He just didn't pay them.  In any event, many people do not pay taxes.  This saves them money and allows them to spend it and put it back into the economy. In my view not paying taxes is simply another form of a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account).

They sure did not have judges like that a couple of decades ago when I practiced criminal law.

And the loser of the week award goes to Kyle Blair, age 25, of Surrey B.C. He tried to hijack a car at an intersection. The problem was the car had two occupants, to wit, two undercover Mounties. 

We will not be seeing much of Kyle for a while anymore. Then again, maybe his luck might change. He could end up being tried in front of Justice Robin Camp.

 

            I am writing this story as I practice family law and personal injury law and I am not concerned about ever appearing before Justice Camp.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .

  

Huh, Hearses and Hello?

Nov 1, 2015 9:02 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    The world never runs out of weird news.

    Harvard recently handed out their annual Ig Noble Prizes, some by Nobel laureates no less, to people who had conducted the wackiest research.

    The prize for literature went to a group of linguists who concluded that the word "huh" is universal and found in every language around the world.

    The chemistry prize went to some scientists who figured out a way of unboiling an egg.

    And the physics prize went to a team that concluded that it takes humans 21 seconds to pee.  Presumably this latter research is based on empirical study.

    What is the message for us lawyers?  If ever you have one of these days when you are wondering if you had an effective and productive day, of benefit to other humans, just think about the Harvard Ig Nobel award winners.  I'd still feel more useful trying to settle a chronic pain case at a mediation with Aviva than standing at a urinal dangling a stop watch.

    This gets me to Khabarovsk. Khabarovsk is a city in Russia near the Chinese border where police pulled over a speeding hearse.  They opened the casket and instead of a corpse, they came across a motherload of a find:  a half ton of caviar.  You see, illicit trafficking in caviar in Russia is a no no.  Or rather a niet niet.

    I wonder what the hearse driver's first reaction was. I don't speak Russian but it would not surprise me knowing what I know now, that his first word was "Huh?"

    Naturally the hearse operator denied knowledge of the caviar and  told police he was asked by some unknown person in Vladivostok to drive his late uncle to his final resting place in the hills of Khabarovsk.  His fallback story was that all the caviar was for personal use.  The problem with that however was that when asked, the driver was unable to come up with all those necessary boxes of crackers.

    And on the eve of  Halloween, a judge in Salem Mass. granted Lori Sforza, a self proclaimed "witch", a restraining order, barring Chris Day, a "warlock", from harassing her.  I believe the judge ordered the warlock not to come within 500 feet of Sforza's gingerbread house.

    I guess the courts in Salem Mass. aren't too busy to be able to deal with cases such as these. Then again, maybe in Salem, witches and warlocks make up a sizeable percentage of the city's population and they often appear in court for one reason or another.  I have no problem visualizing a day in traffic court where the People prosecute some Hazel for doing 60 miles an hour in a 40 mile zone, on her broom.

    I have not been to Salem,  nor am I superstitious.  All I can say is that I would not feel too comfortable going to a Walmart there and getting approached and greeted hello by some lady waving a wand.

 When I do not keep track of weird news, I practice family and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visist www.striglaw.com. Witches and warlocks welcome.

 

 

  

October 2015


Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Officer

Oct 20, 2015 8:10 PM
Marcel Strigberger

         Fellow lawyers.  Want a career change?  I believe the greatest job in the world is to be a police officer. Specifically I am referring to the cops who serve at sporting events and enjoy the game while getting paid for this strenuous effort.

        I remember as a kid in Montreal seats to a Habs game were impossible to get. The best my dad could get were two tickets allowing us to stand 3 rows deep behind the Montreal Forum grays.

        And yet at every game right near the Canadians' bench there was this policeman watching the game for free. He was the envy of my life.

        Now at the Blue Jays games where you have to have the wallet of Warren Buffet to get a ticket, we also see a handful of privileged lawmen enjoying the perils of their profession.  Their worst downside perhaps is stepping on some sticky dried up Coke.

        My question then is, how does a police officer get this assignment? Is it seniority?  I doubt it as I often see younger officers there. Probably these coppers were saints in their previous lifetime and they have returned.  Perhaps one of them was originally a passenger aboard the Titanic who helped others get aboard lifeboats. Eventually his soul returned to earth and Providence rewarded him.  The angels upstairs had a chat:

        "Gabriel:  What do you say we return this guy as a cop and send him to the Rogers Centre.  He deserves a cushy, soft, fun job doing nothing and getting paid for it.

        Michael:  O.K. Gabriel, it's either the Rogers Centre or the Senate."

        On the other hand maybe there is an element of skill in the position and the officers actually practice and compete for it.  I am thinking of the officers at Jay games. In front of each dugout you have two officers seated watching the game.  They clap and cheer with the rest of us. Once the half inning is over they stand up and turn around and scowl at the spectators.  Once play resumes they sit back down and continue to enjoy themselves.

           The element of skill here is obvious. They must demonstrate the undisputed ability to be able to sit through a half inning and then get up instantly, do a pirouette around and scowl.  It's really in the face.  They have to look mean, like a cross between Jaws and Vlad the Impaler.

        Presumably there is an aptitude test, to assess psychological proficiency. The questionnaire probably reads like:

        "24.  When the Blue Jays hit a home run, you react by:

            a)cheering and applauding;
            b)arresting anyone you see not cheering and applauding; or
            c)turning  around and taunting the crowd by boasting about the great view you have of the event. 

        As well I imagine they all practice vigorously for that big interview, rehearsing by sitting in front of dugouts at their local parks. Then they practice the flip around and that scowl.

        Only the best cops make it.  Actually the force has to be credited for its wise selections to date.  I know of no instance where mobs have descended upon the Jays dugout and made off with the Gatorade.

        I guess I have missed my call. I'll just have to stick to practicing law. Yet there is still hope. I hereby ask that if anyone knows of anybody who needs to be helped into a lifeboat, to please call me.

 

         I practice family and personal injury law when I am not busy watching hockey or baseball. Please visit  www.striglaw.com .   

      
 

  

September 2015


Das Auto- Yikes!

Sep 27, 2015 6:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The big story these days is the Volkswagen scandal that saw the automaker rigging its emission test device on its diesel cars to show they were clean when in fact the vehicles polluted big time.

I see VW's president, Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation.  This is about as much of a surprise as Syrian President Basher Assad announcing that this year he does not expect to win the Nobel Prize for peace. 

Winterkorn denies any personal wrongdoing.  That's like Francesco Schettino, the former captain of the Costa Concordia saying, "Don’t blame me. Those rocks in the water should have watched where they were sitting".

My first question is where will Winterkorn get a job now?  Let's face it; he may have some employment challenges.  I don't even know if he could even land a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart. 

 "Hello. Ve hev a special on Heinz pickles today. Not my fault".

One thing for sure, I don't see him getting invited to go on a speaking tour with Dr David Suzuki.

I wonder what else Volkswagen would have done to cut corners and save the company money had the emission gambit not come to light.  Maybe they would have adjusted the air conditioning system next.  When you press "AC", instead of cool air, a voice would have come on saying, "Zis auto is getting cool. You feel it, ya?

And what do the unfortunate owners of a tainted car do now?  Their vehicle is the equivalent of an auto leper. They are no doubt all hoping for some Mother Teresa for Volkswagens to surface. 

I feel sorry for the Volkswagen dealers as well.  I hear they are planning an open house soon.  Come by and enjoy a coffee, a balloon and a free Volkswagen.

And imagine what this is doing to the German economy.  I hear German Chancellor Andrea Merkel telephoned Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asking him for a loan.

I end with an apropos quote from a master philosopher, who just passed away the other day, Yogi Berra:

"They made too many wrong mistakes".  One too many.

I practice civil litigation with emphasis on personal injury, and family law.  Please also visit my practice website www.striglaw.com .  I drive an emissions safe Toyota.

 

 

  

Psycho Cyclists

Sep 7, 2015 10:31 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     I dislike aggressive and inconsiderate cyclists.  I live and practice in Thornhill, the suburb above Toronto. Too often I have had cyclists zoom by behind me on the sidewalk on Yonge Street, or the nearby park.  Not only did they miss mowing me down by millimeters, but they did not even sound a warning of their attempts to do so. Nor did they apologize while I was on the verge of cardiac arrest, deep breathing, trying to slow down my heartbeat from 190 beats p.m.

    We now have new legislation effective September 1st dealing with dooring these demons.  A motorist is now subject to a $360.00 fine and 3 demerit points if he opens a door in the path of these two wheeled Roadrunners.

    Given the anti accident victim lunacy of our government, I think our MPPs may as well go further and hit both motorists and pedestrians harder. Here are some suggestions to confirm and protect the divine rights of these cycling Attilas:

1     Effective immediately, pedestrians on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to all cyclists. Pedestrians shall confine their walking to pedestrian lanes, (to be constructed by the year 2050);

2     If a cyclist strikes a pedestrian on a sidewalk, the pedestrian will be fined $1000 for dooring. The onus will be on the pedestrian to show that he was not a door.

3     Any fines aforementioned will double if the cyclist wears those ultra tight Lululemon gone wrong shorts.

4     The provisions prohibiting distracted driving, do not apply to cyclists. After all it only takes one hand to send text messages.

5     Any cyclist who knocks a pedestrian over will receive 3 merit points.  Once he or she accumulates 100 such points the cyclist will receive up to a $500.00 subsidy from the government to purchase a new mountain bike.

6     When a motorist travels on a public road and a cyclist is within 100 meters of his vehicle, the motorist shall pull over to the right side of the road, and remain there motionless until the cyclist turns off his emergency flasher.  The fact that a cyclist may not have an emergency flasher shall not afford a defence to the motorist.

7     If a school bus strikes a cyclist, all of the children aboard the school bus, in addition to the operator, shall be subject to 10 lashes.   

8     All bicycles shall be equipped with either a bell or a horn to sound their approach to motor vehicles or pedestrians. Cyclists need not use these warning devices on any day ending in the letter “y”.

9     If a cyclist passes and kicks a motor vehicle causing a dent, the motorist will turn to the cyclist and say, “Thank you sir; my car needed that.”

10     The use or operation of tricycles by children on a sidewalk is hereby prohibited unless their parents can demonstrate that the tricycle is readily capable of flattening an unsuspecting pedestrian. Cycling on sidewalks is not child play.

            The sliver lining in all of this is that cyclists will be creating more work for the lawyers.

 

            I practice personal injury and family law. Please visit www.striglaw.com . My office has free parking (whatever you arrive in or on).

  

August 2015


PROPHETS FOR PROFIT

Aug 30, 2015 6:09 PM
Marcel Strigberger

As the stock market continues to rollercoaster, I think about the calls I frequently get from financial advisors telling offering a free portfolio review and touting that if I retain their services, I am guaranteed riches rivalling those of Warren Buffett.  If they are wrong and I lose money, I doubt I would have a good case for misrepresentation against these gurus.  Then again if such a wizard of wealth exists, I would not know how to spot one. Readers can test themselves to determine whether they would recognize this ultimate in financial analysts if they stumbled across him or her behind a Wall Street Journal, by honestly completing the following quiz.

 

A.        When looking for that mystical broker, you will try to spot him:

                        1.         walking on Wall Street;

                        2.         walking on Bay Street;

                        3.         walking on Lake Ontario.

 

B.        In trying to assess the advisor’s experience and credentials, you will want someone:

                        1.         who has worked in a large brokerage house;

                        2.         who has worked in a not so large brokerage house;

                        3.         who has worked in the land of Oz.

 

C.        Some times the name can be of assistance.  In scanning your list of potentially right brokerages, you would want a broker called:

                        1.         RBC Direct;

                        2.         Scotia McLeod;

                        3.         Merlin.

 

D.        In listening to a series of financial gurus speaking at a seminar, you are most impressed by the one who tells you:

                        1.         of the imminent bear market;

                        2.         of the imminent bull market;

                        3.         of the imminent market of fishes and loaves.

 

E.         You would get most excited if your broker would drop by your office in the middle of the day and:

                        1.         buy you lunch;

                        2.         buy you a martini;

                        3.         wash your feet.

 

F.       You prefer an advisor who whenever he shakes your hand:  

                        1.         squeezes it like a vice;

                        2.         calls you Marilyn;

                        3.         reads your palm.

 

                        G   .     The broker you are most apt to obey is the one who would tell you to:

                        1.         bring him a cheque;

                        2.         bring him your umbrella;

                        3.         bring him a great big pumpkin.

 

H         You are most likely to vest your confidence in a broker who:

                        1.         drives around in a Cadillac;

                        2.         drives around in a Volkswagen beetle;

                        3.         drives around on a carpet.

 

 I.         You prefer to deal with a financial analyst who:

                        1.         wears a three piece suit;

                        2.         wears a Tweed hat and Birkenstock shoes;

                        3.         wears stars and moons on his conical hat.

                        If you answered numbers l or 2 to any of the above questions, then you may as well stay with your own advisor.  If you answered number 3 to all of the above, then congratulations. You'll spot him when the Messiah arrives.  Meanwhile hang on to your Tweed hat.

 

                        I actually do have a family law and personal injury practice.  Please also visit www.striglaw.com .I  cannot tell the future but I beleive I do a great job in the present.

 

  

MADD, Mad and Mad

Aug 9, 2015 10:13 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Here’s an improbable news story. In Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the president of the P.E.I.  MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) chapter has resigned his position, reason being, he was just charged with impaired driving.  To boot this gentleman was a police office for 40 years, rising to the rank of deputy police chief of Summerside.  The irony is incredible. For the president of a MADD chapter to be nailed for impaired is about as expected as for Ayatollah Khamenei to start off his day singing the Star Spangled Banner.  Who knows? Maybe with the nuclear deal that will be next.  

    And in Ann Arbor there is a mad turkey on the loose hanging around the University of Michigan grounds apparently terrorizing the campus. The folks even refer to him as "Turkey Tom". He just jumps out of nowhere and charges at passers by.  He has even snuck into a dorm.

    Maybe he was sent there by Ayatollah Khamenei.  After that P. E.I. incident, this too would not surprise me. The good news is that to date the turkey has not attacked any Canadians.

    On a sadder note I am disturbed at news about some mad American dentist hunter who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.  I wonder if dentists have a bit of a sadistic edge. When I think about dentists that Nazi dentist character played by Lawrence Olivier in the movie Marathon Man, comes to mind.  You might recall he tortured Dustin Hoffman by drilling into him while conducting an intense interrogation. My own dentist does give me an anaesthetic but the problem is, he is an obsessive whistler.  As he drills away, he inflicts intense pain on me by whistling. His latest favourite torture tool is whistling the theme song of Bridge on the River Kwai.  Who is the Hippocrates of dentists? The Marquis de Sade?

    It's a crazy world.

    I practice personal injury and family law when I do not reflect on the foibles of the human condition. Please visit www.striglaw.com.  No dentists were intended to be harmed by this blog.

  

July 2015


Whodunit?

Jul 2, 2015 8:59 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     There is an island in Scotland called Canna.  Its population numbers 26.  It has one store. The other day this store was robbed.  This event actually was Canna's first crime in 50years.

     Let's play Sherlock Holmes.  Whodunit?  Of the 26 inhabitants, let us assume half are children. That leaves 13 possible suspects. 

     There likely is a church.  This would disqualify the minister, and presumably his wife. Of course we must also subtract the storekeeper and his wife. That leaves 9 suspects. 

     There must be a school there with say at least 2 teachers and one principal.  They would never rob the store. The worst they would do if they were annoyed at the storekeeper, would be to give him a detention. This leaves 6 suspects.

     Let us guess who the 6 remaining people are. There are no police on the island, given its crime free history.  But there is likely a financial advisor/insurance salesman.  You find these guys everywhere. Noah probably had one aboard his ark.  He would never hit the store.   After all if he would, he would be removing the owner's means of following his advice. No go. Leaves 5 suspects.

     I am sure the place has a lighthouse. After all can you imagine a Scottish island without a lighthouse? Exactly.  I see Peggy's Cove with a guy in a kilt.  But the lighthouse keeper? No way. Have you ever come across a lighthouse keeper? Exactly. They never leave the lighthouse. 4 to go.

     Being an island, there has to be at least one fisherman.  He would not do it. These guys are too busy catching fish or mending their nets.  Nah.  Leaves 3 suspects.

     There just has to be that mysterious man who runs the dilapidated former motel, sort of the Mr. Bates of Canna.  He might be a suspect but no one will dare go to his house to ask him questions; not even the police, if there were any.  And in any event, he would be too obvious.

     This leaves two people.  They have to be the island's lawyers.  You cannot have one lawyer there as that would create the potential for conflicts of interest.  Oh pshaw! No way Jose. 

     Why would a lawyer pull the heist? He would not even earn professional development credits.

     I believe this crime will go unsolved.  I feel sorry for the storekeeper. Then again, maybe he did not lose anything. Quite likely the financial advisor sold the storekeeper theft insurance.

       Please also visit my personal injury and famly law practice site, www.striglaw.com .  Slip and fall cases in lighthouses welcome.

 

  

June 2015


Hats off to the Hawks

Jun 23, 2015 8:15 PM
Marcel Strigberger

            The hockey playoffs are over.  What caught my eye right after the Blackhawks victory last week was that within seconds all the players skated out wearing baseball caps reading something like, “Chicago Blackhawks-2015 Stanley Cup Winners”.

            Now these hats were obviously pre-ordered.  My question is what if the Hawks would not have won?  As these hats are routine after the final game, I presume the Tampa Lightening also ordered hats in the event they would have won.  Given that their hats will never be worn, do they still have to pay for them?

            My learned legal opinion is that the Lightening need not accept delivery as they have a great argument of frustration of contract.  If I recall my first year law of contracts, the applicable principle would be “res extincta”.  The subject matter of the contract has ceased to exist. There is no such animal as a “Tampa Lightening 2015 Stanley Cup winner”. Therefore the contract to buy the hats has been frustrated and is voidable.

            I wonder how the Tampa team will handle this one.  Out of curiosity, I shall set up a Google Alert for something like the case of Tampa Lightening Inc.  at the suit of Sam’s Hats. I’ll keep our readers posted.

 

            When I am not pondering about baseball caps, I practice family and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit www.striglaw.com .  When you do I'll tip my hat to you.

 

  

American Pharoah and a Horse by another Name

Jun 14, 2015 1:43 PM
Marcel Strigberger

             America Pharoah is the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. This colt, along with his jockey and team, gets all the glory and media attention.

            My question is what do we know about the horse that finished last, in eighth place?  That horse is called Materiality.  As I doubt much will be said about him and his entourage, I figure I would say a few words.

            A race, by definition, is a competitive event. I don’t think the words of legendary sportswriter H. Grantland Rice, who said, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts; it’s how you play the game”, have much meaning in horse racing.

            Ninety thousand people attended Belmont Park to watch this capping event and I doubt even one said at the conclusion, “Hey, Materiality came in last, but wow, he ran a great race.”

            So what can I say about Materiality?  Was there something wrong with the jockey? As we know all these jockeys are not known for their size, measuring about four feet plus on a good day. What were this guy’s numbers?  Six feet seven?  I don’t think so.

            And I read that American Pharoah was actually flown by 727 jet from Kentucky to New York.  How did Materiality get to the race? He hitchhiked?  I can actually imagine the horse standing at an entrance to the New York Thruway with one hoof pointing northeast.  I even see him holding up a sign reading, “Belmont Park please.”  If it were me cruising along, I would readily give him a lift, provided he would agree to share the cost of the gas.

            Then again, if I would have known that he’d end up totally last, I probably would have motioned to him that I’m actually making a U turn and going in the other direction.  I would not want the embarrassment of knowing that I had this loser in my car.

            Many situations in life are competitive. As litigation lawyers, we experience this buzz daily.  It does not matter how hard you try, alas, to the client, only winning matters.

Then again, many of our cases settle.  I suppose this is not an option in horse racing.  I can't see those horses chatting at the gate followed by an announcement that the race is off as the contestants all have come to a non competitive resolution.  Just a thought.

           So what will happen to Materiality?  I doubt we shall hear about him soon.  If we do, it will likely be after he writes his memoirs.

            No horses were hurt in writing this article. Please also visit my law practice site, www.striglaw.com .  

  

Hopping Through the Tulips

Jun 9, 2015 11:15 PM
Marcel Strigberger

             A terrible crime has been perpetrated against me. I have been
victimized... by a rabbit.


            One of my greatest springtime highs is to admire my colourful tulip
garden. This year it did not happen, thanks to that brown rabbit that
gobbled them up.

            The assaults started recently, as I was looking onto my
back ravine thinking about how beautiful spring was, whistling a
couple of bars into that song from The Mikado, "The Flowers That Bloom
in the Spring, Tra La. Suddenly I heard some kids shouting, "Hey
look, a rabbit."

            I naturally presumed that it was probably the neighbour's
poodle. Uh uh. This was a real rabbit snacking on my tulips.

            I shouted, "Hey you. Get away from my tulips."

            My shouting was futile. The rabbit didn't understand a word of
English. Nor did I get a better result with a few choice French
Canadian entreaties. Maybe in view of that knave's passion for tulips
I would have done better shouting in Dutch.

             I inspected the damage. Half a row of my favourite flowers had been
decimated by Peter Rabbit
.
             I just knew that this culprit must have been a newly acquired pet of
one of my neighbours. This was a neighbour who no doubt believed that
rather than plant his own tulips, he would have more fun buying a
rabbit and watch it feasting on mine. This neighbour was a fiend, a
sadist, more devious than Professor Moriarty.

            All my neighbours one by one adamantly denied it was their
pet. I still had my reservations about them even as I filed away their
sworn statutory declarations.

             I then called a garden centre for advice. The consultant thought the
incident was very amusing. He suggested I erect a scarecrow. I said
"Thanks" and I suggested that I send his garden centre a swarm of
locusts.

             The next day, while I was relaxing with a nice cup of tea, my
neighbour's daughter rang the doorbell. With an obvious sincere tone
of concern she said, "That rabbit is back, hee hee."

            I charged out arriving in time to see that rogue lunching through a
second row of tulips.

            This time I was a bit calmer than before. Reason prevailed. I
picked up my Blue Jays cap and flipped it like Odd Job in that James
Bond movie Goldfinger. You might recall that Odd Job, Goldfinger's
bodyguard, was able to decapitate an unsuspecting statue from a
distance of 100 feet with his metal rimmed bowler hat.

            The Jays' cap plummeted south to the ground after soaring through the
air for about three feet.

             I was getting slightly peeved. This was the second time that rabbit
had struck. I now also had a good case against my neighbours under
the doctrine of scienter. A rabbit gets only one bite at a tulip
garden.

             I racked my brains. How would I keep that big eared Attila away? A
scarecrow? Or rather a scarerabbit?

             Unfortunately I didn't have a clue what scares rabbits. I
knew that it certainly wasn't sex.

              I remembered that one of Bugs Bunny's main nemeses was Yosemite Sam, that short double pistol packing cowboy with the gigantic handlebar
moustache.

              I purchased an effigy of Yosemite Sam and planted it in the garden.
I waited for the renegade's next sortie.

              I didn't have to wait long. Within minutes I heard the kids
shouting, "Isn't he cute?"


              I ran out and there was Bugsy pigging out on my tulips. Mustering my
skills at ventriloquism and impersonation I bellowed, "Stay out of
them tulips ya yellow bellied lily livered varmint."

              The marauding muncher didn't seem overly concerned. He paused, wiped
his mouth and charged at Yosemite, knocking him over.

              This was it. I decided to fight fire with fire. I borrowed my
cousin Henry's cat, William. I briefed William carefully for combat,
showing him pictures of rabbits and giving him a Tender Vittle every
time he charged at the mug shots.

            The next day I waited for the predictable shouts of glee from the
kids. I wasn't disappointed; just royally besides myself. There they
were in the garden, the cat and the rabbit playing with one another.
Then the rabbit served himself from the tulip buffet. Meanwhile
William looked at me apparently saying, "Hey you, why don't you bring
out those Tender Vittles."

             I returned that traitor cat to Henry. Suddenly I had a flash of
brilliance as I handed my cousin back Benedict Arnold's snacks.

            Why not indulge the rabbit, showering him with goodies, thereby
diverting him from my remaining tulips. That would really fix the
neighbours responsible for releasing this rogue.

             I placed several bunches of carrots strategically around the garden.
I expected Robin Hood to be along shortly. I now fully appreciated
the difficulties that the Sheriff of Nottingham had trying to keep law
and order in his shire.

            To date however two weeks have gone by and inexplicably he hasn't
shown up. Maybe he's suspicious, figuring it's a trap. Or maybe the
neighbour responsible shipped him off on a pilgrimage to the tulip
festival in Ottawa. Who knows?

            Things are getting back to normal. And being a forgiving person,
I'm prepared to let bygones be bygones. If the rabbit does not return
within the next few days, I shall personally file my Notice of
Discontinuance of my well founded action against all my neighbours.

 

I practive family law and personal injury and insurance law, when I am not out protecting my tuliips.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . It's rabbit safe.


 

  

May 2015


FIFA ON FIRE- FIE !

May 31, 2015 12:25 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     The big story shaping up is the FIFA scandal.  Police in Zurich have arrested 14 big shot organizers of the soccer World Cup, connected to FIFA, on fraud and corruption matters. 

     The ramifications are huge.  For example, Coca Cola has been sponsoring the World Cup for decades. Will they continue to do so? Or will they revise their logo a bit and say, "We are, but the World Cup is not the real thing."

      I have never been a soccer fan.  I always found a few things about the sport disturbing. Firstly I never cared for a game where it is a capital offense to simply touch the ball with your hand. The fans react like the offender is Josef Stalin.  But it is OK to hit the ball with your head.  You want a concussion, go ahead.

      Then I am totally revolted by those stupid shorts the referees wear.  They look like rejects from the movie, Revenge of the Nerds.  After all these guys are judges. They should dress like judges. I cannot even begin to imagine Lord Denning in shorts. 

      And in deference to the game, what will the judges dealing with these officials be equipped with in the courtroom at the trial? Whistles?

              “Objection Your Honour".

              "Overruled. Toot, toot."

      Most of all I think the nets are way too large.  In hockey goalies have enough of a challenge manning a net about 4 by 6 feet.  In soccer how do they expect a goalkeeper to block shots in front of a net that's the size of the Golden Gate Bridge?  It's pathetic. I feel sorry for the goalie.  And by the way he also looks silly in his shorts. 

      I have a great idea for punishing hardened criminals, an idea that will make them think twice before getting into trouble in the future.  While in prison, for recreation time, force them to play soccer. And assign the real bad apples to play goalie.

  

      Please also visit my family law and personal injury/insurance civil litigation  practice site, www.striglaw.com .  My guarantee:  At my office you will always find me wearing long trousers.

  

Oh Canada, No Way Jose

May 25, 2015 10:08 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     At council meetings In the Town of Richmond Hill, a suburb a few kilometers north of Toronto, the singing of Oh Canada is verboten.  Council voted not to start its meetings by singing our national anthem as doing so might be unconstitutional. You see it contains the words, "Gd keep this land, glorious and free".  (I will not dare spell it out in full)

     The rationale for this move is a recent ruling by our Supreme Court of Canada  that the Town of Saguenay, Quebec, cannot start off its meetings with a prayer as this would violate the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, i.e., it would impose religion on the non believers.

     Richmond Hill has run with this decision, on the basis that singing Oh Canada would similarly violate this precept.

     My big concern is that a handful of adults actually had nothing more relevant to discuss at a town meeting, on the taxpayer's dime.  I can just imagine the mayor starting the meeting:

     "This evening we shall be discussing crucial municipal issues, including the planting of trees in the new subdivisions, the fixing of potholes on the   major roads and whether or not we can start off our meetings singing Oh Canada.

     The town even engaged lawyers to opine on this burning issue.  What did the lawyers' bill look like?

     "To all  services rendered, to having lunch with your mayor and to listening to our national anthem five times, and deciding that it was ultra vires: OUR FEE:  $10,000.00"

     And what exactly was the Town of Richmond Hill afraid of? What does it mean singing Oh Canada might be unconstitutional?  If the council members have awful voices, I can see it being butchered. But unconstitutional?  Give me a break.

     And what is the worst risk the Town would face? It's not as if the Town of Richmond Hill is at par with metropolises like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.  Let's face it; does anybody really care what the mayor of Richmond Hill and his council sing at their meetings?  Then again, there could be some atheist snitch hiding behind the water cooler, cell phone in hand, saying to himself just before the meeting, Dirty Harry style, "Go ahead Mr. Mayor, make my day. Sing Oh Canada.

     I have a great legal idea. If my favorite hockey team was to lose in the Stanley Cup series, I shall suggest that they bring a court application to nullify the series on the grounds that the games were unconstitutional as they started with the singing of the national anthem.

     No Oh Canada. OMG!

I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit my website www.striglaw.com. I shall sing Oh Canada whenever and wherever I wish.

 

 

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  
  

The Honourable Mr. Justice Jury

May 10, 2015 6:24 PM
Marcel Strigberger

            I read with interest the story about U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recently showing up for jury duty in the Rockville, Maryland courthouse. He took his place in the body of the court like the other dozens of prospective jurors on the jury panel, but was not selected. Unlike jurists in Canada, it seems lawyers and even judges are fair game for jury duty.

            This got me thinking.  What would happen if a judge's number were to come up in his own court?  And what if the judge would be someone like The Mikado’s Pooh Bah, and decide to wear two hats, of judge and juror?

            Would he have had two daily diaries during the course of the following criminal trial? 

 

            MONDAY

                        Juror - I was very excited this morning as I entered the courtroom together with the other jury panel members.  The atmosphere was awesome.  Rumours abounded that the presiding judge would be “the Hangman".

                        Judge - Another Monday.  Another arson case.  I was a bit late getting to court today as a cop stopped me for speeding. 

                        I noticed a nervous but intelligent looking guy on the jury panel.  I hope he gets picked.

 

            TUESDAY

                        Juror - Yep, we've got “the Hangman”.  He was late to court yesterday.  He told the jury it was some official business with the police.

 

                        I got selected.  Both lawyers Ok’ed me after about two minutes of legal mumbo jumbo.

 

                        Judge - That intellectual looking panellist did get picked.  He looks sharp.  I noticed him obviously enthralled by counsels' opening statements.

            WEDNESDAY

                        Juror - Both lawyers are windbags.  They just went on and on telling us that it is up to us whom we believe.  What do they take us for, morons?  The judge however seems fascinated by their ramblings.  Not even once did he tell them to pipe down.  I hope the good stuff starts tomorrow. 

 

                        Judge - Counsels' enlightening statements are over.  The jury appeared fascinated.

 

            THURSDAY

                        Juror - It was a great day in court today.  Pity however that we couldn't be there to watch the show.  That dumb judge ordered us out of the courtroom just as the arresting police officer was about to get to the juicy stuff.  The lawyers rattled off some fancy foreign phrase and out we went.

 

                        Judge - Today we had the voire dire.  I found that the inculpatory statement the accused made to the police was voluntary and therefore admissible.  I believed the police officer where his evidence conflicted with that of the accused.

 

                        I always wondered what the jurors do outside the courtroom when they're excluded for hours at a time.

            FRIDAY

                        Juror - Well we were back in court today like a jury should be.  It gets boring out there playing  Candy Crush. 

 

                        The arresting cop testified.  He said the accused readily told him after the arrest that he often carried a jerry can of gasoline around as "you never know when it could come in handy."  Somehow this felt like a déjà vu.

 

                        The accused later testified that the officer, threatened him to "fess up". I noticed that the office weighs about 400 pounds and looks like a poster boy for Krispy Kreme Donuts. I believe the accused.

 

                        Judge - Another day of exciting testimony.  Both counsel snapped at one another objecting to the questions.  I had to ask them to approach the bench a number of times.  The jury is probably puzzled by all this manoeuvring.

 

            MONDAY

                        Juror - These lawyers are off the wall.  And what do they talk about when the judge asks them to approach the bench, the Stanley Cup?

 

                        Judge - The lawyers made their closing statements. Before my jury charge I asked the lawyers to approach the bench.  Defence counsel, like me, are both Anaheim Ducks fans.

            TUESDAY

                        Juror - There's no doubt in my mind the judge is trying to make the Guinness Book of Records for talkathons. 

 

                        Judge - I completed my charge.  I expect the jury to be out for days on this one.

            WEDNESDAY

                        Juror - We found the guy not guilty after deliberating about fifteen minutes.  The judge seemed pleased with our decision.

 

                        Judge - Would you believe it; those twelve imbeciles acquitted the arsonist.  Whatever is it they do back at that jury room?  Play Candy Crush?  I need a break.

 

            It will probably not happen but if the judge's number does come up and he gets onto the jury panel, I'd trade my Toronto Maple Leafs tickets to catch that trial.

 

I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com. No, I am not also a judge.

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

Back to the Present

May 3, 2015 6:24 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    I have a great idea to enhance the practice of law.  This idea puts to use centuries of human knowledge and experience.  It was used by the Chinese thousands of years ago.  I am talking about having a "paper office".

    Why go paper? Simple. Say a letter comes in from opposing counsel. You have the other lawyer's document there in your hands.  You see in it in front of your eyes. You can feel it. It is as palpable as Lady Macbeth's knife.

    And if you want to do a responding letter to opposing counsel, just put some paper into your printer and off you go.  You then put the letter into another paper wonder, the envelope.  Add a 50 something cent stamp and you're flying. Unlike emails, there is no risk of your letter not arriving because you wrote gordonsmith@ brownsmith.com instead of gordon.smith@brownsmith.com.  Electronic communication is anal. Leave out that one stupid dot and your chances of successfully sending your message are about as great as Syrian President Dr.Bashar Al-Assad, being nominated for the Nobel Prize for medicine.

    And now you might ask, what do you do to store it? Easy. Put it into a 15 cent folder you can buy at Staples. And the folders come in an assortment of eye pleasing colours. I especially like yellow or green. And if there is a power surge in your office, big deal.  You can wave your 15 cent file folder at those techie geeks who are pulling out their hair searching for the back up disk.

    And where do you put your file? The same place lawyers have been putting files for generations. In a spiffy metallic filing cabinet. The drawers come with handles.  Pull and they open; push and they close.  And of course you can file your file folders alphabetically.  It really works. You put the Adams file first, then the Benson file, and so on.  And if you misfile, the filing cabinet will never complain giving you a message such as, "You have performed an illegal operation".

    And you can even lock the filing cabinet using guess what? A key. No user names, no passwords necessary.  Just put that little brass sucker into the keyhole and turn clockwise and the drawers shut. Counter clockwise and they open.

    And when your filing cabinet fills up what do you do? No problem. Just transfer your closed files into another super proven invention. The cardboard box. It's amazing how these boxes can hold a stack of files.  And if you ever want to access any of them, just go to the box  and, Tah dah, there it is, in a spiffy green or yellow folder.

    No smartphone for me.  Give me paper and cardboard anytime.  

    Many lawyers are starting to appreciate simplicity. It will not be too long until we see continuing education courses on technology with outlines such as:

    9:30         wall paper belongs on the wall, not a computer

   10:30        everything you always wanted to know about trombone paperclips and were afraid to ask

   11:30 a.m.  7 amazing things you can do with a pencil.

    I'm ready to sign up. Let me just put some ink into my Mont Blanc.

    I practice personal injury/insurance and family law.  Please visit my site, www.striglaw.com . Great traditional service.  And when you telephone us, a live person answers the phone.

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

April 2015


Chimps and Chumps

Apr 24, 2015 6:04 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    A judge in Manhattan has granted two chimpanzees a petition – through human attorneys – to defend their rights against unlawful imprisonment, allowing a hearing on the status of “legal persons” for the primates.

    Supreme court justice, Barbara Jaffe granted a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the two non-human plaintiffs, Hercules and Leo – who were being used for medical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, asking the Respondents to show cause why the Applicants should not be transferred to a primate sanctuary.

    I am delighted by this decision.  I believe it is about time animals finally got some access to our human courts to deal with their grievances..  It is only a matter of time before these type of cases mushroom and become more commonplace.

    Today it is chimps, tomorrow it will be elephants. I can see those pachyderms at a circus having a caucus:

    “Hey Henry, you read about that chimp case in New York?

    “Yeah Morris.  I say we hire a good lawyer and get our working conditions changed.  I’m tired working for peanuts.’

    “ And maybe we can get an injunction stopping those clowns from making elephant jokes.”
    
    And what about man’s best friend? I expect a class action to hit the courts soon enough, by poodles suing owners and hairstylists for those stupid haircuts they impose on them.   After all, what’s fair is fair. I cannot think of any human who would want to go through life with one of those idiotic pompons on his ass.  

    Nor will it be too long before we see animals attending the offices of the Official Examiner to be cross examined on affidavits:

    "Q- Counsel: Hey Chicken, why did you cross the road?

    Animal’s Counsel: Objection! Don’t answer that question. Irrelevant".

    Bravo, my critter friends!  I tip my hat to Dr Doolittle.

    Still on the bizarre, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key has been publically embarrassed.  Seems for about 6 months he has been attending a café near his residence in Auckland.  The problem is he frequently approached a waitress and pulled her pony tail.  She told him to stop and he finally did when she threatened to hit him.  He returned and apologised and as a gesture of good faith her gave her two bottles of red wine.  

    I somehow doubt the PM mentioned his weird obsession  before election time.  It would have been helpful had his platform read, “If elected, I shall lower taxes, increase benefits for seniors and pull the pony tail of that waitress at Carl’s Café.”

    Honest Politicians!

    Then again I can see how people can have irresistible quirks. I for one have this inexplicable urge to pinch Mike Duffy’s cheeks.  Good thing I’m not the judge at his trial.

Please visit my practice site www.striglaw.com .  And yes, I do like animals,

 

        

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

March 2015


Insurance Impossible

Mar 29, 2015 11:50 AM
Marcel Strigberger

     I recently watched a commercial about an insurance company that offers guaranteed life insurance if you are between the ages of 50 to 75. Furthermore premiums will not rise and benefits will not drop.  To boot, you need not even answer a medical questionnaire.

     The ad shows a clip of an elderly couple with their grandchild on grandpa's lap and grandpa saying something like, "I thought my family's future was really bleak but now with this insurance I'm set. I have lived; let the flood come."

     The man almost sounds like Charles' Dickens' Sidney Carton.

     A win-win situation if you ever saw one, right?                                                                      

     Now I am a lawyer who has sued insurance companies often enough and one thing I have learnt is that insurance companies do not care to part with their money too readily. I have yet to see a claim where a client falls down some icy steps and the adjustor comes running to my office with his chequebook and says, "We at Mutual Lovable Insurance really feel sorry about this. Here, write out the amount. Is there room for all the zeroes you want to insert?"

     And so how can this company do it? I have thought about it and I have come up with the following possible explanations.

     The first and obvious one is outrageous premiums. "So you want $1000 dollars worth of insurance. That will cost you 1100."

     I don't think so. I can't see some bug eyed statistician telling the marketing V.P. that the insurer would have no problem selling this because according to his scientific calculations and P.T. Barnum, there is one born every minute.  And the commercial does say something like, “Premiums as low as $4.00/month.”

     The answer lies deeper.

     One scenario is that the company accepts everyone but when a claim is made, it doesn't pay. The scene at the claims office may be reminiscent of that Monty Python parrot sketch, where an irate John Cleese tries to return a recently purchased dead parrot to pet shop owner Michael Palin. Palin of course insists that the parrot is still alive.

     The scene here at claim time could be similar. The insurer might question whether indeed the insured is actually dead. I have no difficulty whatsoever visualizing a claims adjustor saying to the policy beneficiaries, "George isn't dead. Look, I just saw him open one eye."

     Or the policy might have a very stringent test for death, like in the Wizard of Oz. The insured must be "absolutely, positively, morally, spiritually, ethically, undeniably and unreliably dead".

     The insurance company could argue that as there may be life after death, nobody really dies at all and therefore they don't have to pay. While the beneficiaries argue with the adjustor in the kitchen, he could also remind them of the principle of reincarnation and say, "How do you know that the fly on the screen isn't George?"

     It's an argument.

     Then again perhaps the insurer has a nobler way of avoiding payment. As they only have to pay out if someone dies between the ages of 50 and 75, maybe they have found a secret potion thereby ensuring that their clients in fact don't fold before reaching 75. Now that I think about it I noticed that grandpa in that commercial had a flask of some elixir at his feet. Curious.

     And if it's not something you ingest, perhaps the insurer does it voodoo like, as in The Portrait of Dorian Gray. You stay young, your picture ages. The commercial says you don't need a medical. It says nothing about you not needing a photograph.

     Finally there is the unthinkable explanation: the insurance company really is stupid. They actually accept applications from some poor 74-year-old soul who is in intensive care with heart failure.

     At the annual shareholders' meeting the C.E.O says, "Ladies and gentlemen, this year we paid out death claims totaling 50 million dollars and we took in premiums in the amount of $3511.14. But it's OK. We have succeeded in our main goal, customer satisfaction."

     I guess if you believe this one you will also believe in the existence of the Land of Oz; and that that fly on the kitchen screen was George.

    

     I practice civil litigation with emphasis on personal injury and insurance, and family law, when I am not up losing sleep about how insurance companies  making profits.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .

 

 

  

Capital Idea

Mar 15, 2015 1:43 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     I had a case where a client pled guilty to impaired driving. She operated a car after having consumed a glass of wine too many. Maybe two glasses. OK, so her blood alcohol level was about 3 times the legal limit.

     Unfortunately she had a similar offence conviction 5 years earlier, drawing a fine. This time the judge remanded the case for sentencing, dropping a subtle hint that jail was a possibility, saying, "When you leave here next time you will not be passing GO and collecting $200.00."

     My client was a young woman originating from the Maritimes. The judge was a visiting judge. I recalled the words of my student days' mentor, Henry, "It's not how well you know the law; it's how well you know your judges that counts most".

      I asked around and all I could determine was that His Honour was a heavy hitter who especially abhorred alcohol offences. I also discovered that he was a tenth generation Ottawa native and that he was very proud of this fact.

     The crown incidentally was out for blood. He was looking for something like a life sentence less time served. He would have been more favourably disposed to Lizzie Borden. At least she wasn't drinking while she was whirling that hatchet, doing a piñata on her parents' heads.

     The big day arrived and with trepidation of the kind I had not felt in years I started my submissions:

     "Your Honour. My client has committed a dastardly crime."

     His Honour interrupted, looking over his moon shaped spectacles, "Yes and she will be punished accordingly. Continue counsel."

     I resumed, "My client originates from Digby, Nova Scotia. Her family still remembers that great explosion in the Halifax harbour in 1917, just a year after the Parliament buildings burnt down."

     "And that was quite the disaster wasn't it counsel. The House of Commons up in smoke, " His Honour commented.

     "My very point Your Honour, my very point. This woman's life has been filled with many disasters. She wanted always to be an artist. But in Digby opportunity was scarce. There were not many world-class museums, like the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum or the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. In fact the highlight of her teen age years was making that high school trip to Ottawa."

     "She liked Ottawa, did she?" His Honour queried.

     "She talked of nothing else. Every spring she would purchase tulips to remind her of that lovely experience."

      The crown attorney interrupted, "Well let her set up her bouquet in jail this spring Your Honour."

     "Mr. Crown, where is your sensitivity? Go on Mr. Strigberger. Why did she drink and drive?"

     "I was getting to that Your Honour. You see she had a number of paintings on display at an exhibition at a small museum in Toronto, on Parliament Street."

     "There is a Parliament Street in Toronto?"

     "Yes sir. There is even a market place, called Kensington. It's something like Byward Market but they don't sell beaver tails. No pastry in the world holds up a candle to a Byward beaver tail."

     "It certainly doesn't counsel. Beaver tails with powdered sugar. Heavenly. Go on counsel, I'm listening."

     The Crown busted in again: "I say we send her tail to jail Your Honour."

     "Counsel, do not irk me. I am trying hard to follow Mr. Strigberger' most interesting submissions. Go on please."

     "Thank you sir. You see the public loved her paintings, especially her depiction of the Gatineau Hills country-side. It won a blue ribbon."

     "There is scenery and then there are the Gatineau Hills", commented His Honour.

     "Exactly Your Honour, exactly," I conceded. "And after the awards presentations the museum hosted a reception. A couple of toasts were made. My client realized she had drank a glass or two too many only after she got into her car and drove for a few minutes. She noticed she had difficulty reading the time from the Old City Hall clock tower. "

     "Old City Hall clock tower?"

     "Yes Sir, that cheap imitation of the Peace Tower."

      "Oh yes, of course. Pure fake. Go on sir", His Honour said encouragingly.

      "No it's not, Your Honour. It was built before the Peace Tower. The Peace Tower imitated the Old City Hall, and Big Ben," the Crown interrupted.

      Triple bogey. His Honour took off his spectacles and eye-balled my friend. "One more display of this xenophobic attitude Mr. Crown and you'll find yourself up the Rideau Canal without a paddle."

     I continued, "At that time she immediately tried to pull her car over. But alas she got arrested. I ask Your Honour not impose a custodial sentence. Thank you sir."

     "Mr. Crown have YOU anything else to say?"

     "Well, sir, I don't think..."

     "Thank you sir. The offence is grave. But a judgment must be tempered with common sense and leniency where warranted. The accused is a poor young artist who came from a rather deprived area. Her heart was always in the right place. Just observe the subject matter of her paintings. She did not waste her time doing lighthouses. We cannot allow a moment of indiscretion to ruin her life. I order her to pay a fine of $100. She shall have reasonable time to pay. Ten years. After all she is only a poor artist, not the Royal Mint."

     There is nothing like pleading a case before a judge with an open mind

.

     As you can see, judges are human. Please visit my practice website, www.striglaw.com

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

Of Wine and Roses

Mar 1, 2015 6:04 PM
Marcel Strigberger

            Justice was done the other day.  The principal of Toronto's Northern Secondary demanded that students attending the prom this year would have to undergo a Breathalyser test in order to gain admittance at the big event. He cited previous problems where injuries actually happened consequent to student drinking.

            This imposition did not sit well with the president and vice president of the Student Council, who decided their Charter rights were being violated. The students contacted the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which hooked them up with a lawyer who took the matter to court, pro bono. Justice Himel found that the principal and the school indeed violated the Charter of Rights, and that the students would not have to submit to this no doubt Draconian demand.

            This I would say is a major victory for all of us.  What the tyrannical principal wanted to do was impose his own RIDE program.  That will teach him

            Now, that his devious plot has been shattered, I really would feel safe driving my car near Northern Secondary on the night of the prom.  However,  if by chance I am in the area that night, I doubt I'll spot Justice Himel.

            The lawyer must feel proud of himself in succeeding to remove a barrier to prevent student rowdiness.  He must have had a blast spending those hours working for free.  Maybe as a token of appreciation the students will at least buy him a bottle of Champagne.

            Speaking of money, (not for that lawyer), let us talk about Anne Dias Griffen, the estranged wife of Illinois billionaire Ken Griffen.  She is suing K.G. for spousal support of one million dollars per month.  Her monthly budget you might say, is a bit to the right of modest.  For example, it includes $14,000 per month for food.  That's about $500/day for kibbles. How much does she weigh? Half a ton?

            She also needs $2000/month for stationery.  I suppose she would use that stationery to send frequent notes to her husband saying, "Honey, I'm hungry again."

            My favourite is $460,000 per month for vacations. This includes $300,000.00 for a private jet. The balance of $160,000.00 is for accommodations. I see a major flaw here.  With all that traveling her husband should insist that she use reward points. I just came back from Florida and paid only $175.00 for the flight using Aeroplan. And I even got a free night at the Marriott Courtyard (I'm a proud Silver Elite member).  Not bad.  I would be happy to share some of my cost savings strategies with the husband.

            The wife's actions disturb me. I think I shall indeed contact the husband and offer to meet him for a chit chat over a beer.  And maybe we can even invite the student executives of Northern Secondary to join us.

 

             Please also visit my persoanl injury and family law practice website, www.striglaw.com .  Guest do not need to  submit to a breathaliser.

 

  

February 2015


Me and Me and My RRSP

Feb 8, 2015 7:49 PM
Marcel Strigberger

   

     For years now I have been kicking in thousands of dollars a year into a self-directed Registered Retirement Savings Plan. And for years now (the same number actually), I have been trying to think of ingenious ways of getting the money back out without promptly paying tax.

     A few months ago I bought a house and my accountant suggested that I could finally hit the fund, using the same to finance the purchase. The catch, however, was that I would have to replenish the kitty with a mortgage and pay back the money monthly.

    "Do you mean I would be both the mortgagor and mortgagee?" I asked my accountant.

     "Exactly. You pay the money to yourself. But it's an arm's length mortgage. You must pay it monthly, come hell or high water - or my bill."

     This sounded like a win-win situation. I busted my RRSP and placed the mortgage on the house. I made the first couple of mortgage payments no problem.

     Unfortunately the conflict of wearing two hats soon started heating up. I received a whopping realty tax bill from the township. It was so high that the amount apportioned to school taxes alone could have bought all of Oxford University.

     "There's no way I'm paying this," I said to myself. I missed the due date and I felt good. It then hit me that the mortgage had a provision in it that if the mortgager fails to make a tax payment, he is in default and the mortgagee can pay it and add the tab to the mortgage debt. That didn't worry me.

     As mortgagee, however, there was no way I was going to permit any compromise to my retirement next egg and I promptly made the payment. I then sent the mortgagor a letter as follows:


     Dear Mortgagor:

     We have just paid the outstanding realty taxes that ought to have been paid by you. We trust that this was just an oversight. Please don't let it happen again or action will be taken against you.

     Yours very truly,
     The Mortgagee

     When I received the letter, I was furious. "Stuff it!" I exclaimed, tearing it to confetti.

     A few weeks later there was a leak in my basement. It was apparent that major work was necessary. But funds were a bit tight and I had other matters to worry about than a dumb leaky basement.

    As mortgagee, I just happened to peruse the mortgage and I noticed the provision whereby the mortgagee has a right to inspect the premises to make sure his investment is sound and if the place needs repairs, he can compel the mortgagor to fix it up.

    Quite by chance I decided to go down to the basement to check on my security and lo and behold, a flood.

    "How did that irresponsible duffer allow it to go this far?" I bellowed.

     I didn't even bother writing. I called in a contractor immediately and tacked the bill onto the mortgage debt. "I'm going to have to inspect this place more often in view of the slob living here," I told my wife.

     For the next few months the debtor and creditor lived in harmony until one day I had bought a new car and I wanted to defer my mortgage payments for a couple of months.

     "The hell with that mortgagee," I said to myself. "What will he do if I don't pay? Take a pound of flesh?"

      It was mid-month and as I was sitting at my office desk contemplating my fortune I realized that I had not yet received my mortgage payment. I decided to call the mortgagor at home and guess what, there was no answer. I was convinced I was dealing with a deadbeat and enough was enough. I decided to see a lawyer.

     It occurred to me however that since I was a lawyer myself perhaps under the circumstances I could take a shortcut and handle the matter in-house. I might have a fool for a client, but who's going to tell? I fired off the following letter, by registered mail.


     Dear Mr. Strigberger:

     My client advises that once again you are in default. Monies now overdue must reach this office no later than 4pm this Friday, failing which foreclosure proceedings will be commenced against you without further notice. In addition you must also include the sum of $100 for legal costs.

     Yours truly,

     Marcel Strigberger


     I got home from a hard day at the office one day and what do I see in my mailbox? A notice indicating that there was a registered letter waiting for me at the post office. Now who would be sending me a registered letter I wondered?

     I attended the postal clerk, who wanted to see some identification to make sure who I was. She then handed me the letter. She seemed puzzled as she put away my business card.

     I noticed the envelope was from a law office. I opened it, read the letter and hit the roof. "Foreclose me will he? I slaved for years to buy this house and to make a home for my wife and three lovely kiddies. Doesn't he care?"

     The clerk asked me if there was a problem with the letter and after explaining it all to her, she put on her hat and coat and left the building.

     I was livid. In view of my emotional state I thought I had better see a lawyer. I then thought to myself, "what the heck." I made a call and the secretary said that Mr. Strigberger could see me first thing tomorrow morning.

     I got to the law office at 8:30 the next morning. Unfortunately in my eagerness I had to wait a half hour, as the office did not open until 9:00. At 9:01 I charged right past the secretary into Strigberger's office and threw the letter on the desk.

     It was 9:02 when I was sitting behind my desk and noticed this very upset character barge into my office and throw a letter on my desk. I skimmed the letter and the urgency of the matter was apparent.

     I told the client to relax and assured him that I would take the situation in hand. I firstly wanted to dispose of an important preliminary matter and so I made a couple of comments.

     I came to the office for legal assistance and you won't believe this: before taking on the case, Strigberger wanted a $1,000 retainer. He said something about it being novel. I stormed out of the office.

    "Let him foreclosure me all he wants." I said. I pondered the situation and realized that I would have the last laugh. I would rigorously defend any action brought and come trial time, I would pull the necessary strings to make sure the mortgagee and his lawyer would never show up in court.

Please visit my practice site, www.striglaw.com . I practice civil litiation (personal injury/insurance) and family law.  Just ask for Marcel Strigberger

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

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.

 

 

   

  

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.

 

 

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  
  

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.  

 

Marcel's Musings, sex sells  
  
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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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