Legal Humour Blog


March 2015

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  

November 2014

Robbery Does Not Mean Robbery

Nov 30, 2014 6:10 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

Insects, Worms, and Other Louses

Nov 9, 2014 8:54 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

    What will his statement of Claim read like:

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

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

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

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

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

    Bon appetit.

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



CAUTION: Adult Content- Childish Conduct

Nov 2, 2014 9:03 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

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

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




October 2014

Jesus Is Coming to This Diner

Oct 26, 2014 7:29 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

    I believe there is a moral to this story somewhere.

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



Ethics R Us

Oct 5, 2014 12:22 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

       Otherwise you might still be this fan’s lawyer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

September 2014

Hello Again. It’s Us, the Robbers

Sep 21, 2014 6:47 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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


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




The Gondolier and the Lawyer

Sep 9, 2014 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

    Firstly I considered the popularity factor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

must switch to sleeveless white undershirts."

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

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

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

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



Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

August 2014

Walmart Time

Aug 10, 2014 8:40 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    A Kristopher Oswald working at a Walmart near Detroit noticed a man harassing a women in the parking lot. He ran out to rescue the woman and for his efforts Walmart fired him. Reason: He  "violated company policy."

    What is it with these guys? Just what is company policy? If the employee sees a victim getting assaulted in the parking lot, what is he supposed to do? Join in and throw few kicks and punches?   What inspired their crass policy?  Sodom and Gomorrah?

    Not to be outdone, a mother of an 8 month old daughter and 5 year old son took photos of the backs of her kids, naked, as they were about to go into the bath. She also had a photo or two of her daughter clutching an empty beer bottle. She left them at Walmart in Gander, Newfoundlland to be developed and when she came to pick them up, the manager was summoned and told her she could not leave the premises with those pictures as they were "inappropriate" They violated a Walmart policy in that they depicted images of "child abuse" and "minors engaged in explicitly sexual situations".

    Mother left without those offending pictures. I think she could readily have beaten up the store manager and gotten away with it. We know store employees would not intervene.

    It is a mad mad world.

    From Michigan and Newfoundland we go to Rome. Remember Francesco Schettino? He was the former captain of the ill fated Costa Concordia, which through his negligence ran aground and sank . He is on trial for multiple counts of manslaughter.

    Well the captain was invited to La Sapienza University in Rome to give a lecture on "how to react in panic situations".  He addressed students at a class in forensic psychiatry.

    You will recall he survived the disaster as he fortuitously ended up in a lifeboat ahead of his passengers when he allegedly tripped and fell overboard.  He stated to the media that he considers himself an expert in dealing with situations of panic.  It makes me wonder about the sanity of the university faculty for even inviting Francesco.  Just what could this guy have told his audience?  "In a catastrophic situation, take it easy. Don't panic. Remember, you're stronger than those women and children."

    I can see a future for this guy. I'm sure he can get a job as a crisis manager at Walmart.

I practice as a sole practitioner, personal injury and family law and divorce. Please visit striglaw.com. My policies are not as complicated as Walmart's. Any problems, just see me.


Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  

Laughter, Crying and Making Money

Aug 5, 2014 9:34 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Let us start with laughter. Or rather if you are a woman, perhaps you should not read on, at least according to Bulent Arincs, the Deputy Prime Minister in Turkey. He said recently that women to be honourable, should not laugh out loud in public.  I hope this man’s looney tunes notion does not become law.  If it does I can just imagine the government hiring plainclothes officers to corner women in public and try to get them to laugh.  

    “Hey lady, Why did the chicken cross the road?”

    It could get worse. They can ultimately start arresting men, like Johns, for making women laugh.

    “Your Honour, while on patrol I saw the accused Ozgur Andovan pull up in his car and motion for the woman to approach. As she did, he said to her, “Knock knock.” The lady responded, “Who’s there?”  Before the accused could deliver the punch line the lady broke out in laughter.  I immediately arrested the man.”

    I guess laughter may not be considered the best medicine in Turkey.

    I am going to have difficulty talking about this next news item. A gentleman in Birmingham Alabama went into the Princeton Baptist Hospital for a circumcision. You might guess where this is going.  Most unfortunately the doctors amputated his penis.

    How could this happen? The man is of course suing and amazingly the hospital is denying liability claiming that, “The action is not meritorious and will be vigorously defended.”

    What can their defence possibly be? Consent? The plaintiff just lay on the table and announced,  “Never mind just the foreskin; I’ll have the full Monty.”  Give me a break.

    From laughing women and crying men, we go to fortunate hockey players. I am talking about  P.K. Subban, the Habs’ superstar defenceman, who just before an arbitration hearing settled his contract dispute.  The pre settlement news story read, “P.K. Subban/ Montreal Canadians 3 million dollars apart. “  

    The Habs had offered $5.25 million/ year and P.K. was demanding $8.5 million.  Subban  called the offer “low ball”.  The gap was actually $3.25 million but at these figures what’s $250.000?

    I have started doing mediations and quite frankly I would have had difficulty tyring to mediate this one.  I mean, what do you say:

    “You’re only $3 million plus apart but this case should settle. It is better to take control of the process rather than cast your fate to the whims of an arbitrator, who might be working part time at Tim Hortons.”

    I suppose if the gap gets shorter, we could throw in, “And the Habs will pay the cost of the mediation.”  That usually clinches the settlement.    

    The deal by the way was $72 million over eight years.  That’s $109,756 per game.  We’ll never know how an arbitrator would have ruled.    

    P.K. will certainly be laughing in public.


     I practice civil litigation/ personal injury and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . I don't think I would take on a case like that medical malpractice one in Alabama. Sorry.






July 2014

Three Certainties: Death, Taxes and... Litigation

Jul 27, 2014 12:05 PM
Marcel Strigberger

   A family in California is suing Six Flags amusement park for injuries suffered when the roller coaster, "Ninja" partially derailed as a result of a tree branch landing on the tracks.

    I know diddly about technical matters but it does not take Einstein to figure our that one should not allow a roller coaster track to run through a forest.

    What amazes me more is the apparent litigation culture in the U.S. especially California. The accident just happened on July 7th and already there is an action underway.  That's less 3 weeks ago! Don’t parties negotiate anymore?  It would not surprise me if it will get to the point where lawyers will issue their claims in anticipation of an accident:

        "5. The plaintiff pleads that she will be taking a ride on the Ninja next Wednesday, when she will get struck by a falling tree."

    To say some folks can be overly zealous in their desire to litigate, may be an understatement.  In Newport, Delaware, one Nigel Sykes tried to rob at gunpoint, a Seasons Pizza store. A handful of employees tackled the guy and in the struggle the gun actually went off. When police came he had not yet settled down so they tasered him.  Sykes, now in jail, is suing Seasons Pizza and the police for $250,000 for damages.

    He suggests they were not too gentle with him.  What did he expect? A free mushroom and pepperoni? Or maybe he believes there is some store guaranty in responding to orders in a timely fashion.  If the pizza store does not hand over all their money to him within 30 minutes, he gets it free.

    Saving the best for last, on July 25th 1917,  97 years ago, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden introduced this country to income tax. The funny thing is Sir Robert told the public this tax would only be a "temporary measure". I imagine on that day Sir Robert tried hard to contain himself.  When got back to his residence at 24 Sussex Drive, he shut the front door and for about 10 minutes he rolled around on the floor with uncontrollable belly laughter.

    This comment about "temporary measures" is even more amusing than that action commenced by Nigel Sykes.

I practice personal injury/insurance law and family law. Please visit www.striglaw.com.  I go the extra kilometre. That is a 4th certainty.



Water and Watermelon

Jul 21, 2014 10:13 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       Some organisations are a pleasure to work for. Others are not. Chicago's WaterSaver Faucet company is a not.  They have instituted a policy whereby employees using the washroom more than a total of 1 hour per 10 days can get disciplined. This is about 6 minutes a day in the can.  Nineteen workers were disciplined in June, receiving warnings. Strike 2 is suspension and strike 3 termination.

       I would love to see a wrongful dismissal trial down the road, on this one.

       Cross examination of employer:

    LAWYER-    Sir, did the plaintiff embezzle your company?

    WITNESS-   No sir.

    LAWYER-    Did he assault or abuse any of the staff?

    WITNESS-    No sir, not at all.

    LAWYER-    Sir, what was the reason he was let go?

    WITNESS-    Well, during a 10 day period, he spent an average of 7 minutes daily in the washroom...Here are the dockets.

    However, the company isn't all evil. It hands out $20 gift cards if during one month an employee does not use the facilities at all.  Isn't that magnanimous!  I would hate to be in the same room for too long with the employee who comes in to claim this prize.  I would look for the ark.

    Speaking of jails, the police in  Bantam, Connecticut must have very little to do.  One Carmine Cerevellino  got into an argument with his significant other during which he stabbed a watermelon.  All hell broke loose as she called the police who arrived and charged him with threatening and disorderly  conduct.  The girlfriend complained that he stabbed the watermelon in a "passive-aggressive manner".

    To me this makes Carmine come across like the owner of the Bates Motel. Psycho! Maybe in fact there was more to the story than that. Just maybe the watermelon was minding its own business taking a shower. Suddenly Carmine Cerevellino  arrived out of nowhere and jumped like a madman into the shower with his knife, and proceeded to serially stab the hapless melon.  Now that would merit a good 911 call.

    I invite you to visit my practice website, www.striglaw.com , while enjoying your water or watermelon this fine summer day.



Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  

In the Ballpark

Jul 14, 2014 10:26 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    The lawsuit of the month so far has to be the action commenced by Andrew Robert Rector, the 26 year old Yankee fan who fell asleep at a ball game at Yankee Stadium, watching a match against the Red Sox. The media camera caught him snoozing and this did not sit well with Rector.  He is suing  ESPN, Major League Baseball and the Yankees for $10 million. He claims  he suffered "substantial injury" to his "character and reputation" and "mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity."

    This adds a new dimension to the song, "Take Me Out to the Ball game."  The lyrics in future might just read,

        Take me out to the ball game,
        Take me out with the crowd;
        Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, and give me 10 million dollars."

    I am sure for 10 million he would not care if he never comes back.

    My concern is for the defendants. Will their insurance cover this type of claim?  There may just be an exclusion reading:

        "This policy does not cover claims for damages arising out of:

           ....23 m) acts of war, riots, or fans falling asleep."

    My bigger concern is that there may actually be a lawyer in New York who is taking on this case. I would guess his process server will be asking for a deposit retainer up front.

    And while we're in the ballpark, July 11th,1914, 100 years ago , Babe Ruth played his first major league game, wearing a Red Sox uniform.  I wonder if Mr Rector had  been there, he would have fallen asleep.


     Please also visit my civil litigation practice site, www.striglaw.com .  It'll be my pleasure to chat with anyone about personal injury, family law or baseball.




Bullets and Baggies

Jul 7, 2014 7:27 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    This is a good time to talk about violence.                 

    In a place called Rifle, Colorado, there is a restaurant called "Shooters Grill".  There is a sign in the restaurant reading, "Guns are welcome on the premises."  Actually all the waitresses carry firearms in a holster.

    Now this bothers me.

    I am not sure I would want to have lunch there. There is probably a notice on the bill that reads, “Warning. Don’t forget to tip your server properly.”

     And I am an avid non smoker.  Certainly if a restaurant patron would light up a cigarette, I would think twice before saying something to him, like "Excuse me sir but this is a non smoking section... Now can I put my hands down?"

    I definitely would be stressed here. This is not a restaurant that when the server hands me the machine to enter my Visa card, that I would want to forget my pin number.

    I don't see a place like this opening in Mississauga. Nor do I see staff wearing guns at Tim Hortons.

    Moving onto Boston, Mass. Laura Lindquist is 102 years old. She is charged with second degree murder of a 100 year old nursing home roommate whom she allegedly killed by wrapping a plastic bag over her face.  The killing happened about 5 years ago but LL was found incompetent to stand trial and she remains in a psychiatric hospital.  The Boston District Attorney is still reviewing her mental status every few months hoping to continue the prosecution if LL's mental condition improves.

    This ray of optimism amongst the DA's office rather makes me wonder about the competency of the prosecution's office.  Have they got nothing better to do?  No other cases to work on? And what is the worst penalty a court can impose on the centenarian  lady accused should she be found guilty in a year or two? Oh yes of course, a life sentence!  Now that would be an absolute deterrent.

    I practice personal injury/insurance law and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com.  Our office has a no firearms allowed policy.



Up, Up and Away

Jul 1, 2014 6:39 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     It’s been an amusing few days in the news.

    In Montreal, police recaptured 3 criminals who escaped recently from prison in Orsainville, Quebec, with the help of a helicopter. This is the second time in the past year that there has been a chopper escape from a Quebec jail.  I think Quebec authorities should call a spade a spade and just concede that they blew it. Nobody knows why guards did not get suspicious after one of the convicts spent two hours on the prison roof the day before the escape painting a large circle with an “H” in the middle.

    Moving right along on the subject of brilliance, there is this American dentist and his friend who are suing British Airways for flying him from London’s Gatwick Airport to Grenada, in the Caribbean, rather than to Granada, Spain.    

    What tipped him and his partner off was when they landed and asked a taxi driver where they can watch a good bullfight, the cabbie said that could be tough to find in these parts but he offered instead to take them to a factory that processes nutmeg.

    I wouldn’t want this guy to be my dentist.  I would not trust him to find my teeth.
 “Ok sir, let’s examine that tooth.  Turn around and drop your pants. “

    For that matter I now have concerns about the intelligence and efficiency of the staff at British Airways.  Then again they may not be as screwed up as that travel agent in Florida who sold the pair the tickets.  You see, they were supposed to return to the U.S. from Lisbon.  Who in the world would travel from England to Caribbean, and then back to Lisbon, to catch a flight to the U.S.?  I can think of someone; the warden at that jail in Orsainville.

Please visit my practice site, www.striglaw.com.  I deal with family law and personal injury/insurance matters.  My clients and I often share a good laugh.




June 2014

A Tale of Two Experts

Jun 22, 2014 12:40 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    The law on experts is going haywire.  There is massive confusion presently in Ontario as to who is or is not an “expert”.I have an idea to simplify expert assessments and dramatically lower the costs of getting their reports.

    As we all know what experts retained by each side generally say about the same person, why not allow the lawyers to write the reports for both sides.

    Take a psychiatric case.  I can do it easily. I would collect the best talents of each of these usual suspect shrinks and I would conscientiously prepare both reports under a different nom de plume. And my fee for both would be a lot less than what each currently charges for one report.

    In a case therefore of a forty year old European woman who was a restaurant worker,  but who has not been able to resume work at since her car accident, the psychiatric reports might read as follows:


    I am an Associate Professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, with special interest in chronic pain.


    Your client arrived 15 minutes early. This to me suggests someone who is very responsible. She was dressed casually, wearing blue jeans, obviously not being pretentious.


    She was a vivid historian. She described that she was stopped when suddenly she was struck forcefully from the rear by a cement truck. She related, "I thinking I hit by atomic bomb. I dead for sure."


    She advises that she was born and raised in rural Hungary. Her mother was Hungarian and her father, a shepherd from Greece, who came to seek his fortune in Hungary. He also dabbled in bicycle repairs. She was the youngest of eight children. Her mother was a heavy smoker.
    "She smoke cigarettes. And she weigh 300 pounds. For sure."

    Her dad was an altruistic gentleman spending all his spare time asking people if he could fix their bicycle flats.

    She is presently married to Victor, the owner of Victor's Delicious Deli,  in Brampton. Until the accident she assisted her husband in running the deli.

    When she married Victor, she was a virgin.


    She had good eye contact.  She is constantly in pain. She has had to stop working at the deli as, "I no longer able to lift anything. Even a pastrami sandwich with a pickle...no way... I feel useless."

    When asked to count backwards by sevens from 100 she got stuck at 90. I handed her a Kleenex as her eyes started to moisten.


    There is no doubt that this lady suffers from depression and severe chronic pain syndrome. Like her father she was a workaholic who demanded 100% or rather 107% from herself. Now she now is totally disabled from working. Her condition is entirely attributable to the motor vehicle accident.

    The prognosis is guarded.


    C. Jackson Smithfield        


    I am an Associate Professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, with special interest in malingering.

    I read the medical brief that you sent along, including the report of Dr. Smithfield.
I shall say no more about his report. I'll confine mine to non fiction.


    The subject woman arrived fifteen minutes early. This demonstrates pre-existing chronic anxiety. She just can't wait to get her hands on that insurance money.

    She was dressed sloppily in blue jeans trying to impress me of her humility.


    She says that she was fully stopped when she was allegedly tapped by another vehicle. I can't imagine someone this anxious actually stopping for anything.

    She exaggerated,  magnifying the size of the offending vehicle indicating that it was a cement truck. When I asked her once again what type of car it was, she again insisted it was a cement truck. She was non repentant.

    She then said in describing the light jolt, "I dead for sure." She said this with the air of certainty that only a malingerer uses.


    It’s obvious she learned her greed from her parents. Her father gave up the tranquil life of being a shepherd in Greece in order to carry on cross border contraband of stolen bicycle parts. It was the least he could do to keep his fat wife in her lavish smoking habit.

    The subject was the youngest of eight children, a spoiled brat. She also insisted on three occasions when asked that when she married her husband, she was a virgin.


    Her eye contact was non-existent as she kept on burying her face in Kleenex. She was very hostile and anxious when I grabbed away the box of Kleenex and hid it in my microwave oven.

    She indicated she could do nothing at all at her husband's deli. "I completely useless."

    Not surprisingly on further questioning however she was readily able to count pastrami sandwiches by sevens.


    This lady is your classical malingerer. She falls squarely within the parameters of the F.T. Test (Fakers' Test). I speak of course of the seminal test developed by noted psychiatrist, Dr. August Strondenberg of the University of Gotenberg. There is a perfect match with all of the Professor's indicia, which lead to the inescapable conclusion of malingering:

    1) Her father was a disenchanted shepherd;

    2) Her mother was obese;

    3) She spent years working in a delicatessen;

    4) Her favourite number is 7; and

    5) She is adamant about a husband called Victor,  marrying her as a virgin.

    I have no doubt that once this law suit ends, the subject will achieve a complete recovery of these alleged symptoms.


    Mortimer (Syd) Golden"

    And of course, these reports would be flawless as I would sign two of those mandatory form 53s, certifying that I am not a hired gun.

I practice civil litigation, with emphasis on personal injury and family law.  Please visit  www.striglaw.com . I am not a psychiatrist but I can write a medical legal report as well as any shrink out there.




The Library, the Courthouse and the Taco Place

Jun 15, 2014 12:41 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     Police made a big arrest recently in Toronto. They attended at a public library in Agincourt and arrested and charged a Fredrick Tennyson Davis with committing an indecent act.  It seems the 49 year old man sidled up next to a lady with his computer and a cucumber, and allegedly performed an indecent gesture.  The media do not report what that gesture was.

    This should be a lesson to him.  After all the public comes to the library to read Tennyson, not see him playing around with his cucumber.

    I wonder what that 911 call sounded like:

    “Hello, hello, this is Ms. Jenna Findlay, head librarian at the Agincourt Library.  There is a man sitting near the stacks, waiving around this large cucumber. Ohhh, it’s gross.”

    “Keep calm, Ms Findlay.  Are you sure it’s a cucumber, not a zucchini?”

    “I think it’s a cucumber. I’m not sure. It’s long and green.  He just whipped it out of a Loblaws bag.”

    “The police are on their way Madam. By the way, I have a couple of books way overdue. When is your next amnesty week?”

    Things get more bizarre.  In Breward County, Florida Judge John Murphy lost it. He got into an argument with public Defender Andrew Weinstock when Weinstock refused to waive his client’s right to a speedy trial. His Honour told Weinstock not to “piss him off” and challenged him to step outside. When our colleague did so, the man from the bench grabbed him by the collar. Deputies had to break up the scrap.  

    I would hate to be an accused represented by Andrew Weinstock, copping a plea before Murphy J.

    “Yes Mr. Weinstock, please make your submissions as to sentence. Don’t mind this noose in my hands.”

    They call Florida the “Sunshine State”.  Here we have yet another example of the effects of too much exposure to the sun.    

    And here is a case of justice done. A Buffalo New York based Mexican food chain called, “Mighty Taco”, has announced that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is hereby banned from ordering tacos at all of its 23 Western New York outlets.  The owner calls Putin a bully for his recent actions in the Ukraine and says the ban will be lifted once Putin stops his bullying conduct.

    Great news. Upon hearing of Might Taco’s announcement, Vladimir Putin announced that he is immediately withdrawing his 40,000 Russian troops from the Ukraine and he is giving back the Crimea.  Said Vlad, “ What do you want. It’s hard to come by a good taco in Moscow.”

    Who says sanctions don’t work!

     Please visit my practice site, www.striglaw.com where I describe my efforts to avoid trouble and diffuse problems.






Mutiny on the Sidney McNish

Jun 8, 2014 6:33 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Tully Goldfarb had decided to get away. He had been practicing law for several years and now he was about to start an indefinite sabbatical. Today he was going to fulfil his childhood fantasy and start a new job as a deckhand aboard the Sidney McNish, a sturdy ferry boat doing a shuttle from the Metro docks to Centre Island, several hundred yards out in the lake. (He didn't care to get away too far).

    Lake Ontario was majestic; it beckoned Tully.  He could not smell the salt in the air. That didn't matter.  
    Tully would have signed up with the navy or the merchant marine but he never like committing himself for trips longer than 15 minutes.  Anyways, he had never been out to Centre Island, which boasts a famous amusement park and zoo.
    July 17, aye, a lovely day for a lovely ride on a lovely boat where a lovely mutiny was to take place, unbeknownst to Tully or for that matter to that miserable grouch of a captain, Nathaniel Fligh.  We could talk about Captain Fligh at length but we're going to talk about the Sidney McNish instead.

    Built in 1934, it had seen active service during World War II, 1939-1945, when it was used in Quebec City as a floating restaurant and destroyer.  It achieved a reputation as the latter as a result of the work of Hank Moldaver, a cook.  We won't talk about Hank Moldaver either.  Suffice it to say that German U-boats, which routinely made it up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City, used to dock nearby and send a crew to the Sidney McNish for some supper and spying.  After a hearty meal aboard the Sidney McNish, the men would often return to their submarines with the worst case of runs imaginable.  It was so bad that the Fatherland would promptly send them for recovery and recuperation to Mexico.

    Department of National Defence officials however, deny to this day that any German U-boats ever made it to Quebec City.
    Getting back to Tully, it's 2013, and the crowds have boarded the good ship Sidney McNish on that faithful Sunday morning.  Tully, a fourth class porthole mechanic, signaled to the dockhands that the boat was full and they rapidly lifted the gangplank, leaving an 80-year old lady swinging in mid-air, vociferously threatening to sue.  Tully in the course of his practice had several times come across octogenarian-ladies-caught-in gangplank cases.  In response to the lady's protests, the dockhand Fred Percy,left her swinging there another two minutes. Percy incidentally was a former bus driver with the Toronto Transit Commission. He indicated that he would have lowered the gangplank sooner but he didn't like her attitude.  

    The ship's whistle blew and off she steamed towards the Island.  
    The crew, "Seething with rebellion" as the papers would later put it, had nothing against Captain Fligh personally; they just thought that the boat could use a good mutiny. Oh sure, the captain was as mean as captains of ships about to have mutinies are. He would often boast about how he would have every man flogged, but for the fact that their trip was much too short and he needed at least 20 minutes one way for a good flogging. He would say how sorry he was that there were no sharks in the lake to which he could occasionally throw his crew. And indeed he did once throw a ship hand overboard to the perch.

    The boat was half way across. The mutiny had been fermenting for about five minutes.  The first mate, Fletcher, had spent about two hours a day with would be mutineers the past week rehearsing the mutiny. The had asked Captain Fligh if they could use the Sidney McNish at night for "personal reasons".  The captain had denied the request, thereby increasing the men's resolve to mutiny.  After all, they had to spend all their evenings the previous week rehearsing in the basement of Fletcher's suburban bungalow. It just wasn't the same and they were forced to improvise.

    They also had to explain to the neighbours what two row boats with six manikins aboard were doing on their front lawn.  At least they didn't have to worry about the weather.  And the crew did appreciate the lemonade and cookies prepared by Fletcher's wife Myrna (no relations to Hank Moldaver). Rumour has it,however,that she actually purchased the cookies at Silverberg's bakery.  
    Getting back to the fermenting mutiny, Tully was busy writing his memoirs about the lake. "The lake", he wrote, when suddenly three shots rang out and Fletcher shouted, "OK Fligh. This is a mutiny."  
    To this day no one knows where the shots came from. The captain, somewhat astonished, shouted back, "You'll hang for this Fletcher."

    Fletcher apparently wasn't moved by the Captain's eloquence.  "Who sails with me," he announced over a blowhorn, "Step over this line."
    The five hundred and fifty or so passengers weren't going to be heroes. They all charged across the deck over to Fletcher's side, together with most of the crew, causing the good ship to list terribly.  
    Tully immediately put his memoir writing into abeyance and asked Fletcher and Fligh if they couldn't work things out. Drawing on his experience as a family law and civil litigation practitioner, he offered to mediate.  Both Fletcher and Fligh told Tully where to go and Fligh repeated his "You'll hang for this" threat. The captain was kidding, Tully believed.  But, being a lawyer, he wasn't about to take chances and so elected to stay with Fligh. Anyways, management was paying his salary and he was thinking of his outstanding bank loan.

    "You can't pay too many bills on a mutineer"s pay," he mumbled to himself.  

    Meanwhile, Mrs. Fletcher was busy handing out lemonade and cookies to the mutineers and the passengers.  She was mad as hell because she was assured at the rehearsals that there would only be about twenty to thirty and not over five hundred participants in the mutiny.

    Fletcher took Tully, Fligh and Rene St. Marie, put them into one of the ship's lifeboats and cast them adrift. St. Marie was a summer exchange student from Montreal who came to Toronto to get some maritime experience and to learn how to speak English. His counterpart, Crawford MacKenzie, was spending the summer in Montreal working on the Champlain Bridge. They didn't tell him in advance that there were no ferry boats, only lots and lots of bridges in Montreal. On the plus side, MacKenzie was still learning French.  And the risk of mutiny was somewhat less than for Rene St. Marie.  There are only so many places you can commandeer a bridge to.

    St. Marie was still busy flipping through his Larousse English/French Dictionary as they lowered him into the lifeboat.

    The Sidney McNish sailed off, leaving the trio in the lifeboat with nothing but a keg of fresh water, three tins of sardines and a compass, all in accordance with the Zurich Convention on Mutinies. Tully hated fish.

    Fligh studied the compass carefully, trying to pinpoint their exact location. St. Marie quickly gobbled up the cookie Mrs. Fletcher had inadvertently given him.  He'd read about shipwrecks and mutinies before and there was no way anyone was going to talk him into rationing.  

    The sun was scorching. The men were starting to get concerned.  Suddenly Tully looked around and shouted, “Land ho!”

    Centre Island was clearly visible about 150 meters starboard.

    At the command of the Captain, Tully and St. Marie started rowing towards the island.  They soon noticed four long boats heading out from shore each carrying about five island natives rowing to meet the lifeboat.

    "The women aboard the boats are not topless", Tully noted in his memoirs disappointedly.

    When they got to the island, the Captain explained their predicament to the natives who in turn pulled out all the stops in providing hospitality to the trio. They were taken directly to the amusement park where the natives treated them to free rides aboard the swan boats.  Tully refused to ride on the swan boat, insisting that he must know a bit more about the background of any of the other characters before embarking on any water craft again.

    The natives prepared a banquet, feeding the men local delicacies including caramel popcorn and candy floss.  Tully noted in his memoirs, “I don't know how these people can gorge themselves on this pink stuff. I ate some only to be polite to the natives”.

    About one half hour later, a second ferry boat arrived at the docks. She was the good ship Lady Henrietta More, sister ship to the Sidney McNish.  Lady Henrietta's captain asked Fligh what had happened to the Sidney McNish.  Fligh vividly recounted the horrors that had befallen Lady Henrietta Mores brother, concluding with the words, "They'll all hang for this".  

    The three castaways thanked the natives for their cordial reception and went aboard.  

    Captain Fligh returned to Toronto uncertain as to his future on the giant ferries.  He decided to bide his time until the day he would meet Fletcher again.

    As for Tully, he had had quite a day.  He now realized that he didn't care for the excitement of life out on the Great Lakes. He decided to abandon his sabbatical and perhaps teach a course or two. His memoirs of life out at lake would be rather short,but what could he do?  Perhaps he would write a labour law book.  

    Tully and Fligh waved to the natives as the Lady Henrietta More steamed away, leaving Centre Island in the distance, but never quite out of sight.

    Meanwhile, Rene St. Marie was busy thumbing through his Larousse with his steady fingers trying to find the French word for candy floss.


     Well, at least unlike what we often see these days on cruise ships, nobody came down with norwlak virus.  Please visit my legal practice website, www.striglaw.com. No I do not do maritime law.

Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

New Dimensions

Jun 8, 2014 11:39 AM
Marcel Strigberger

    In Cardiff, Wales, a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) employee got dismissed for putting pubic hair into a customer's order.  Somehow I do not see a wrongful dismissal action on the horizon.  His chances of success in suing his employer are definitely not finger lickin good.

    I would say this event  adds a new dimension to the meaning of "This product is made out of the Colonel's secret recipe".

    In South Portland, Maine, a gentleman visited an bank ATM and tried to withdraw $140.00. The machine accidentally spat out $137,000.00. A lady was standing nearby wanting to use the machine. She thought something was suspicious when she saw the guy stuffing the bills wherever he could. After a while her patience grew thin and she called the police.  No charges were laid.

    I would say this event adds a new dimension to the Scotiabank slogan, "You're richer than you think."

        And in Calgary, a woman was banned from a Calgary Co-op for shoplifting. She returned however and slipped pins, nails and needles into a number of bakery and dairy products.  Word of her involvement in creating these new and improved products got out.  Now she is suing the store for 8 million dollars for defamation and mental distress.  What did she expect?  A Julia Child award?  

    I would say this event adds a new dimension to the concept of chutzpah. At least the KFC guy with the pubic hair....I better not go there.

    I am a lawyer and a humourist. I am often told this combo adds a new dimension to the term, "oxymoron" . Otherwise, I practice personal injury/insurance law and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .



May 2014

Hello Neighbour

May 25, 2014 9:09 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     This week we were treated to a summary judgement motion involving a psychiatrist and an oil company executive   ( Morland-Jones v. Taerk. ), both neighbours in Toronto’s ritzy Forest Hill area The complaints each had against one another included the shrink’s wife depositing dog faeces into the oil exec’s garbage bin, the oil exec video recording the shrink’s house 24/7, and the parties shouting profanities at one another.  Fortunately Morgan J dismissed the motion noting that what the parties here needed was not a judge, but a “stern kindergarten teacher”.

     I wonder what the parties could have done to prevent this senseless war:

       1. The shrink could have refrained from depositing the pooche’s best into the oil exec's waste bin? Then again perhaps he thought doing so was therapeutic, and an act of kindness.

       2. Upon discovery of the event, the oil exec could have asked the shrink, "Hey doctor, I know everything has a reason.  Please advise why you did this. I do not recall ordering a subscription of Fido's faeces.  By the way, we're having a barbecue on Sunday; we'd love to have you and your wife over.

       3. The lawyers, two on each side, could have seen immediately that there can be no winners in a neighbour fight and they could have insisted on a mandatory meeting, with or without a mediator, and bring the neighbors to their senses.  We have a good precedent here; a lasting peace since 1814 between Canada and the U.S.  Unfortunately, four lawyers attended the motion, at a cost of tens of thousands.  I'd say to some extent, we had a case of lawyer malfunction. Fortunately the judge held that there was no serious legal issue to be tried here, and he did not award either party any legal costs.  Justice was done.  Judicial bona-function.

       I practice civil litigation, emphasizing personal injury and family law. Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com.  I am at peace with all my neighbours.


No Sex Please, We’re British...Columbian

May 12, 2014 6:34 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Trinity Western University is a British Columbian law school that makes its students pledge that they will not engage in sex outside a heterosexual marriage.  The Law Societies of Upper Canada and Nova Scotia have indicated they will ban graduates of this school from practising in their respective provinces as Trinity 's policies are discriminatory.

    A couple of things come to mind.  Firstly, I would say if an unmarried  graduate of that school were to come to me for a job, I would hire him or her no questions asked.  I figure anyone who can remain celibate and resist sex will readily work overtime for me.  That is a safe assumption. I know what they will not be doing in the evening.

    Secondly, why is our Law Society  even spending time on this very issue to start with? I thought we voted the benchers in to deal with issues such as protecting the reputation of the profession, creating rules of conduct or handling disciplinary matters, etc etc..  I can just see one of their meetings;'

        "Next item on the agenda....Oh yes, let's discuss the sex lives of those guys from Trinity Western. "

    I say leave it alone.  If those law students learn about fundamental legal principles such as Hadley v Baxendale, that's good enough for me.

    Here's some good news.  A study out of Cornell University on mice has shown that drinking coffee helps maintain better eyesight, staving off retinal degeneration. This explains those mice I saw the other day lining up at Tim Hortons.

    Getting back to sex, a survey in Middlesex, England has found that 1 in 5 people interviewed would have sex with a robot.  This is enlightening.  I am actually at a Tim Hortons now looking  randomly at the 4 people in line in front of me. I know I check out OK. That means one of these guys in front of me is into robotics.  I wouldn't trust him near R2- D2.  And for sure if he was to ever enroll there, he would definitely be expelled from Trinity Western University.


When I don't think about matters like British Columbia, mice or Middlesex, I practice civil litigation (personal injury etc.) and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .


Marcel's Musings, sex sells  

Bigots, Brothels and Bonkers

May 4, 2014 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

           This just wasn't Donald Sterling's week.  We all know that the owner of the L.A. Clippers was banned for life from participating in the NBA and in addition he was fined $2.5 million for allegedly making racist slurs.  Now it seems he was also banned for life from ever attending the Bunny Ranch brothel in Nevada.  The owner  Dennis Hof wants nothing to do with Sterling.

           Now this is huge. To my knowledge no other human, however vile, was ever banned from attending a brothel.  We can all agree Sterling's acts were deplorable.  However I did a Google search, under "banned from brothels". I did not see the expected names such as  Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein or Adolph Hitler pop up.  Then again it’s not as if these demons regularly frequented these establishments.  I doubt we'll ever see a tree on the grounds of places like the Bunny Ranch with the words carved therein in a heart shape reading, "Adolph and Eva".  

           I thought I would enter the Bunny Ranch website and check it out myself, for research purposes solely, of course. I however resisted temptation when I read the 9 onerous conditions I must agree to before continuing, including number 9 that reads:

        " 9. If you've read and fully understand the above agreement, and you affirm and swear that viewing/downloading/receiving sexually explicit materials does not violate the standards of your community, that you won't make any of the materials available to minors in any form, that you are wholly liable for any legal ramifications that may arise for your receiving or viewing of these materials and that you are over the age of 18 you may continue."
         I decided to pass; I am still a minor.

         Moving along to Sarnia, a Ricky James Knight got 10 days in jail for leaving feces on the front door of his ex-wife's house.  I do a fair bit of family law and I bend over backwards to help the parties arrive at a peaceful resolution. However in my opinion, Knight would not be a suitable candidate for mediation.  Maybe yes, but if I was there you certainly couldn't get me to shake his hand.

         And we all thought Donald Sterling has problems.

          As you can guess, there is never a dull day in my family law and personal injury practice. Please visit www.striglaw.com .



April 2014

All about the Alamo, the Duck and the Colonoscopy

Apr 27, 2014 7:12 PM
Marcel Strigberger

           Remember the Alamo?  Daniel Athens certainly will.  He made the mistake of relieving himself on the front wall of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas and was charged with felony criminal mischief on a public monument or place of human burial. A judge gave him 18 months in jail for this deed.  You read right, 18 months behind bars for taking a whiz.

            I can just imagine his arrest.  "OK, hands up.  No wait; first finish what you're doing."

            I'd say the punishment is a bit excessive.  If this were Canada and a cop would see someone doing his business on the CN Tower, the officer would likely let the guy off with a warning, saying something like, "Hey you! You can't do that here, Eh!"

            From Texas we go to Estacada, Oregon, where Cynthia Ruddell, a 62 year old retired nurse was visiting her mom when suddenly, she was ambushed and attacked by a neighbour's pet duck. In trying to flee the assault, she fell and fractured her wrist. She is suing for $275,000.00.

            Her lawyer, Gregory Price claims that the owner failed to warn others about the propensity of the duck to attack unsuspecting individual.

            Good luck with that one.  How would the owner know about the duck's propensity? It's not as if Donald would frequently spend time behind a tree and dressed in a black leather jacket, and when some visiting lady strolled by, he would jump in front of her and shout, "Bonsai."

            The news story makes it sound like the duck was a member of some sinister organization, called "Hell's Ducks”.

            I'd say she probably provoked the duck making fun of his webbed feet, and his motorcycle.

            And speaking of making fun, here's a story about colonoscopy comedy.  In Fairfax County, Virginia, a patient who underwent a colonoscopy is suing his two doctors for 1.35 million dollars, claiming they made fun of him while he was under the anesthetic.  They were allegedly joking about shooting a gun up his rectum, and eating him alive.  Apparently he recorded this conversation leaving his cell phone on.

            I'd say those are two very expensive jokes, costing a potential $675,000.00 each.  I'm sure that in retrospect, had the two doctors been warned about the cost of joking and asked if they wished to continue, they would have responded, "It's OK, now let's just move on and turn that thing to the left."

            Then again there is something very strange about this patient. After all who in his right mind brings a cell phone along for his colonoscopy?  And out of curiosity, I wonder where he kept it hidden.

             Please  also visit www.striglaw.com, my civil litigation, family law and mediation practice website.    We take our work seriously, ourselves, a bit less seriously.



Dollars and Dufuses

Apr 14, 2014 6:11 PM
Marcel Strigberger

   In Long Island N.Y. a Franklin Youngblood is suing a nursing home for one million dollars. It seems the home regularly hired male strippers to amuse the female residents.  When Franklin saw a picture of his 85-year-old mother, Bernice, stuffing dollar bills into a dancer’s briefs, he went ballistic, and decided to sue alleging his mom had been violated.

    I am not so sure about this one. In an interview, when a reporter asked Bernice what she might do with the money should she get compensation out of this lawsuit, she said, “ Don’t know yet. But I want them to pay me in singles.” 

    And in Vernon Township, New Jersey, we saw another instance of schools gone mad.  Ethan Chaplin, a grade 7 student, was twirling his pencil in class.  A classmate did not like it so he told his teacher the twirling looked like a gun motion and it made him “uncomfortable”.

    Suddenly all hell broke loose. Ethan was forced to give a blood and urine sample, undergo psychological testing and was of courses suspended.  A school superintendent justified the action claiming that where a student is made to feel uncomfortable, it must launch an investigation.

    What the school is saying in effect is that a pencil is tantamount to a firearm. They have to go into 911 mode if some kid says, “I’m uncomfortable. Ethan is playing with a loaded pencil.  It has lead in it.”

    What happened to the days where a teacher would say to the offender, “Hey Jimmy, could you please put down your pencil.”  Instead the whole world has to learn about the brains behind the Vernon Township school board.

    It will not be too long before we hear of some other student getting suspended because some kid felt uncomfortable after Jimmy lunched on too many beans.


We have to laugh in the legal profession. Frequently. Please visit my practice website, www.striglaw.com .


Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  

Strawberry Alert

Apr 6, 2014 11:32 AM
Marcel Strigberger


    The world is getting crazier and crazier.  A Michael Kass of Brooklyn, New York paid $12.00 to see a movie at the local Park Slopes Pavilion Theater.  The theatre has a no outside food policy.  Michael is a type 2 diabetic who cannot eat the theatre’s snacks and so he brought along a small container of strawberries.  This did not sit well with the manager who told him to dump the contraband.

    Michael then offered to leave, asking for a refund of his $12.00. The manager in his wisdom refused and so Michael Kass entered the theatre to watch the movie he had paid for.

    Ten minutes later two police officers arrived and escorted Michael Kass out of the theatre, like some criminal.  I am wondering about some of the back/untold story in this matter.


    The manager probably called 911.:

    “Yes sir, what is your emergency?”

    “There’s a guy in here with a Tupperware  full of strawberries”

    “Say no more sir. Code Red. Is he armed otherwise?”

    “Don’t know; it’s dark in the theatre”

    “No problem.  Sounds like a  607. “We’re sending over help. Clear out the theatre. And do not come near him. He’s likely dangerous”

    (Aside- “Units 42 and 48, please go to the Park Slopes Pavilion Theater immediately. Forget about that bank robbery in Flatbush”).


    Five minutes later the police surround the theatre.  A plainclothes officer approaches the theatre wearing a bullet proof vest, latex gloves and a bib.  He shouts through a blowhorn:

    “Hey you with the strawberries.  Come out with your hands up high.  And if you have any strawberries in your mouth, spit them out immediately.  And if you have any cream, leave it on your seat; or we’ll fire the tear gas”.  (Aside- “Men, we’re going in.  Put on your aprons).    

    Michael Kass surrenders with no resistence.  The theatre however is put on look-down for 2 hours as the canine squad searches the palace.  Police have reason to suspect there is another culprit hiding there, with a banana.

    The good news is that after Michael Kass put this story on Facebook, the whole world knew about the incident and the theatre owner apologized, offering to refund his 12 bucks, look into installing a wellness cafe in the theatre and inviting Michael to come and see the movie...with his strawberries of course.


Please also visit my practice site, www.striglaw.com . In addition to personal injury and family law, I now also provide mediation services.  I am sure I could have readily resolved that theatre fiasco.




Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  

March 2014

The Puck Stops Here

Mar 30, 2014 11:41 AM
Marcel Strigberger

    I envy and admire Dalen Kuchmey. Who is Dalen Kuchmey? Glad you asked. He is the former goalie for the O.H.L. Windsor Spitfires. A few days ago by about  halfway through a playoff game, Dalen had let in 8 goals. His team was down 8-1. Delan suddenly left the ice, changed and drove home. Full stop. He apparently was not happy that the coach had not pulled him out of the game earlier.

    Lawyers cannot get off a case that easily.

    As we all know, once a lawyer gets on record with the court, we need either a new lawyer or the client to file a notice of change of representation or we have to apply for a court order to allow us to say goodbye to the case. The latter can sometimes be difficult, even when dealing with a client from hell.  You have to file an affidavit showing that the lawyer and the client are not getting along 100%. The lawyer’s affidavit might say:

    “4. I asked Mr Wiggly for further instructions and he emailed me saying, “Here are my instructions. You are an incompetent, idiotic, lying shyster. I hate you.

     5. The following day Mr Wiggly he came to my office and slashed the tires of my new Lexus.

     6. This was followed by his sending a courier over to my office, delivering two dead fish wrapped in a newspaper, with a note reading, ‘further instructions you dumb ass’..”

    Even this may not be enough to convince a judge to let the lawyer off the record.

    As I said, I envy and admire Dalen Kuchmey.

    However, maybe I can stop practicing law soon. I just received a letter from some law firm in Portugal advising that they represent the estate of a George Mark Strigberger who perished in a car accident a while back and who apparently left no known next of kin.  My namesake’s estate is valued at over 20 million Euros. After doing a careful search, the lawyers tracked me down, suggesting that I must be related to this guy and they are prepared to send me a cheque. They just need to verify some basic information, like my social insurance number, bank account details and pin numbers so they can facilitate the deposit. The letter says, "There is not one atom of risk on your part".

    I am pondering about this offer. Or rather about what is more likely; the chances of this offer being  being legitimate or the chances of Dalen Kuchmey returning to the Spitfires nets.

Until I get those 20 million Euros, if you have any family law or civil litigation/personal/injury insurance matters, you can still visit me at www.striglaw.com .



No Parking, No Papers, No Position

Mar 23, 2014 12:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    The foreign minister of Russia announced the other day that the legal papers necessary to annex the Crimea should be completed by the end of this week.  This is really incredibly efficient given the novelty of the task.  I might just consider hiring this guy as a junior in my office. I can’t get a simple separation agreement done by the end of this week. And it’s not as if you’ll find a  sample document, to annex the Crimea in textbooks, like O’brien’s Legal Precedents .  I checked.

    And what kind of legal papers is he talking about in any event?  This is like drafting legal documents okaying the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood devouring Granny.

    Meanwhile in Laval, Quebec, the City wanted to build an arena.  The cost now will go up by an extra 50 million dollars as the architects forgot to include in their plans the parking lot.

    That is an oops I’d say. Who was the architect in chief?  Rob Ford?

    This past week also saw The Supreme Court of Canada reject the nomination of P.M. Harper of Marc Nadon to the S.C.C.   What bothers me is the futility of this case.  It tied up 7 justices for several months while other cases waited in the queue.  And it resulted in a 48 page decision talking about the meaning of the word, “among”.  
    As a practicing lawyer, we often look to decisions of the highest court in the land to find answers on pressing legal issues, like admissibility of confessions, the rights of unmarried parties to share in one another’s property or the right of a person under arrest to legal counsel without delay.  

    How is this case going to be practical? Although I am an optimist, somehow I do not see a potential client calling me in the near future and saying, “Hey, guess what. The Prime Minister wants to appoint me to the Supreme Court of Canada but a couple of members of the public are objecting...something about me not being “among”.  Can I see you? I’m free Tuesday afternoon.”

    There is a greater chance of Russia returning the Crimea.

    Please visit my office website,  www.striglaw.com . I practice primarily personal injury/insurance and family law. But should you get nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada and you experience interference, I'll be happy to hear about it.



Justice for Justin

Mar 16, 2014 4:35 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    This week did not pass without Justin Bieber’s ongoing legal problems being paraded in the media.  A trial date for the singer’s assault charge regarding his limo chauffeur  was set at Toronto’s Old City Hall Court.  Of note was the lawyer Bieber retained to represent him, namely prominent criminal counsel, Brian Greenspan.  Of further note is that Brian Greenspan himself attended the set date hearing. This is incredible.

    The simplest and usual way of setting a trial date is for the accused to attend with a letter from the lawyer suggesting trial dates. If the accused cannot attend, then usually a student or at most a junior will attend and advise the court of suitable trial dates. Using  Brian Greenspan to attend court to set a trial date is like using a forklift truck to pick up a pillow.

    What will his legal tab be for this case?  I do not for one moment minimize Brian’s proficiency.  I can only imagine that a simple assault trial which might generally last a half a day will likely last days.  I can just see the daily media reports:

    September 13th

          The Justin Bieber trial started today.  Defence counsel Brian Greenspan argued that the case should be tossed by reason of Section 2 of the Charter.  The presiding judge dismissed the argument, saying that though compelling, the fundamental freedom of expression does not include the right to beat up a chauffeur.

    September 16th

          The Crown completed its case today after a full day cross examination by Mr Greenspan, wherein he suggested to the limo driver that he was a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan, wanted for arson in Mississippi. The driver denied the allegations, admitting however that he nearly caused a fire once while he tried to ignite a gas barbecue at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area.

    September 17

    The defence called a surprise expert witness, one Professor Doctor Manfred Zemmel, of the University of Dusseldorf. Dr Zemmel is a professor of psychiatry, specializing in the neurosis of limousine drivers complaining of being assaulted.  Professor Zemmel told a packed courtroom that he had studied hundreds of chauffeurs and most have a condition called, paranoia neurotica cantoria, whereby they have this inexplicable need to claim that they have been beaten up by a singer.  

    After the court session, Justin Bieber offered to give the professor a ride back to his hotel in his limo but the professor declined, choosing instead to take the Bay Street bus. Justin Bieber asked, What’s a bus?

    September 20th

    After a lengthy trial, the judge acquitted Mr Bieber, finding a reasonable doubt.  His lawyer Brian Greenspan told reporters this verdict was no surprise to him.  When asked what his next high profile case would be, he replied that he had just been retained by Professor Zemmel who was charged with assaulting a TTC bus driver.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  I practice family and personal injury law. I no longer practice criminal law; nor do I listen to Justin Bieber.



Lookalike Zero Tolerance

Mar 9, 2014 1:24 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    In Columbus, Ohio a school suspended a 10 year old for pointing his fingers like a gun.  The school noted that the kid turned his fingers into a “level 2 lookalike firearm”.

    I actually agree with the school.  Zero tolerance violence means just that.  Ignorance of the rules is no excuse.

    Any duffer by now should know that extending your forefinger and folding in your next three fingers turns your hand into a lookalike lethal weapon.  With a gesture like this one, the kid could easily hold up a level 2 lookalike bank.

    To date, we have seen similar instances of schools religiously pursuing efforts to eradicate violence.  One school in Alabama suspended a kid for pointing a chicken finger in class and saying “bang bang”.  Actually, it is a known fact that a chicken finger in the wrong hands can be lethal.  Israel in fact is reputedly planning to bomb a secretly located KFC plant in Iran.

    And right here in Toronto one school does not allow the students to refer to the term “bullets” when describing the form of listing of lines of short phrases. The children must call them “cupcakes”.

    I sure hope none of these kids ever decide to become police officers.  What will they carry on their belts should they need defend themselves in a shoot out? A lunchbox?

    It is comforting to know that these schools play such an important role in preventing violence.  

    Question: How successful these days are schools in controlling bullying...the non lookalike version?


Please visit my family law and personal injury practice site www.striglaw.com . I provide non lookalike service.

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance  

Pizza Pizza....and More Pizza

Mar 2, 2014 10:08 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Pizza stories are making the news this week.

    Think you've heard everything?  In England some guy complained to Domino's that their pizza burnt his penis. He twittered saying this injury happened while he tried to have sex with the pie.  The funny thing is Domino's actually apologized for the misfortune.  The victim then responded saying Domino's should have posted a warning saying that having sex with a pizza can be dangerous

    Even funnier is Domino's cool response that they would look into the matter further to see what they could do to prevent the problem from happening again.

    I generally order from Mamas  Pizza but I am tempted now to order my next medium veggy from Domino's just to see if it will post some type of warning:

                    CAUTION- Pizza is very hot. Please wait 15 minutes for it to cool down before engaging it in sexual activity .

    Meanwhile in Fergus Falls, Minnesota some dude prank ordered 20 pizzas from Domino's, asking that they be delivered to his ex-girlfriend.  The tab was about $300 and police are charging him with theft.  He should have sent them to that guy in England.  For this guy twenty pizzas would have constituted a brothel.

    Next pizza event is in Kermit, West Virginia.  The district manager of a Pizza Hut got fired for peeing into the kitchen sink.  I actually patronize Pizza Hut occasionally.  If I do have problems in the future, I'll think twice about asking to speak to the manager. Or about asking where the washroom is. I don't want to know.

    For that matter I think from now on I'm switching to sushi.

    Please visit my personal injury and family law practice site, www.striglaw.com .  If I do not deliver an answer to my client's queries within 30 minutes, it's free.


Marcel's Musings, sex sells  

February 2014

Law Firm Down

Feb 9, 2014 12:26 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The big legal news this week is the disintegration of mega law firm, Heenan Blaikie.  Dozens of their partners jumped ship and now the good ship has sunk.

This should make us smaller firms feel somewhat grateful for our lot.  I did a check on my firm’s status and found out that not a single partner has bolted.  This week I have as many partners as I had last week.  Nor have any of them threatened to leave if I do not give them a raise.

I also did a comparison check between Heenan Blaikie and Marcel Strigberger- Lawyer/Avocat to see how we matched up.  We have a fair bit in common:



            Heenan Blaikie                                                          Marcel Strigberger


            In business 40 years                                                      In business 40 years (come March)


            Had offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal                I grew up in Montreal


            Extended business overseas, opening                         I once had a delicious chocolate

            branch in Paris in 2011                                                croissant at a café on the Left



            Alumni partners included former Quebec                      Alumni partners include

            Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson and former                      Marcel Strigberger

            Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and                            - I once voted for Pierre Trudeau.

            Jean Chrétien

I do feel for my colleagues and wish them all the best in the future. Times are tough for law firms. This has been a learning experience. For now I am holding off opening my new offices in London, New York and Sydney. You just never know.

I would add that as a gesture of good faith, I am prepared to take in any Heenan Blaikie lawyer refugees.  I am standing by my phone and watching my email. Please contact the office manager, Marcel Strigberger.  So far no one from Heenan Blaikie has approached me seeking a job.


Please also visit my practice site  www.striglaw.com for more info about my personal injury/insurance and family law practice. You never know whom you might meet in the waiting area.



Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

Bovines and Bieber

Feb 2, 2014 6:21 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    In Rasdorf, Germany, there was an explosion in a barn. The explosion resulted from methane gas released by 90 flatulent cows. A couple of the cows were injured. I understand the insurance company will be denying liability on the following basis.

    Firstly this was not an accident.  The cows deliberately created the gas.

    Secondly the insurer is alleging arson, saying the explosion was intentionally started by the farmer’s bull Dieter, who was jilted by one of the cows and who was seen that evening at a nearby convenience store purchasing a cigarette lighter.

    Thirdly the insurer is denying coverage to the cows for their injuries claiming they should be applying for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The insurance company insists they were employed by the farmer who was a Schedule 1 employer, and therefore any action against their boss is statute barred.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Meanwhile, Justin Bieber is getting into the legal news these days, in spades. Police recently investigated an incident wherein he allegedly threw eggs at neighbour’s house in California.  Authorities in Florida have charged him with driving under the influence and he just this past week attended court in Toronto to face assault charges. As well customs officials in New Jersey detained his private jet for hours looking for illegal drugs. Finally there is a petition circulating in the U.S. to have him deported back to his native Canada.

    Given the status of the celebrity as well as the volume of legal business he is generating, it only makes sense that the gentleman should have his own special court. I propose that all of Justin Bieber’s legal matters be handled by the International Court in the Hague.

    This is a win win situation for justice.  Bieber would not have to travel all over the place to umpteen courts, risking missing some attendances due to overload.  The Court in the Hague on the other hand would for a change have some exciting cases in front of it. I think Justin Bieber matters are a lot more interesting than a squabble between say Canada and Denmark over who has fishing rights within 12 kilometers of Hans Island.

    And during a trial  recess, Justin B can entertain the judges, singing a few favourites.  

    And if Justin Bieber goes to the Hague, how far behind can Toronto Mayor Rob Ford be?

   Please visit www.striglaw.com for more info about my persoanl injury and family law practice.  My client include a variety of characters, other than rock stars, mayors or cows.



January 2014

$83,000.00-No Small Bananas

Jan 26, 2014 10:43 AM
Marcel Strigberger

Darwin, the IKEA monkey case is back in the news again.  Over a year ago Darwin, the pet monkey of Toronto lawyer Yasmin Nakhuda, was apprehended by authorities after she left him in her car at an IKEA parking lot and he exited the vehicle and wandered into the store. She lost her legal battle to get him back from the animal sanctuary where he appears to be living happily ever after.

     To boot the trial judge just ordered her to pay the sanctuary its legal costs in the whopping amount of $83,000.  This of course is in addition to what she has had to pay her own lawyer, which likely matches or exceeds this amount. That's no small bananas.

    My question is, was it worth it?  What can you get for about $165,000.00?

    I would never make it as a contestant on The Price is Right and so I Googled a bit.  I am not far off on these estimates:

    1.  $165,000.00 will get you three fully loaded Lexus ES 350s;

    2.  Or you can purchase a two story house in North Bay.  You can also opt for a one bedroom co-op in Burnaby, British Columbia.. Forget Toronto;   $83,000.00 will buy you only a tool shed.. Some folks though would call this a starter home.

    3  You can almost cover Mayor Rob Ford's annual salary of $172,803.  Then again, I know, who would want to do that? You can also cover the annual salary of the mayor of Montreal at $156,128, (whoever the mayor of the day is). And you can use the $9000.00 change to buy some good furniture at IKEA. If you do that, make sure you do not forget your pet monkey in the car.

    I don't know what the mayor of North Bay gets paid.

    What can't you do for $165,000.00? You cannot get Darwin the monkey back.

    I understand the trial decision is under appeal.  Maybe before this is all over, the dollar figure for legal costs will equal the cost of a decent house one can buy in Toronto.  

    When I do not spend time writing about monkeys, Montreal and mayors, I practice personal injury and family law.  Please also visit my website www.striglaw.com .



Tops and Topless

Jan 19, 2014 7:03 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Halifax is about to ban doorknobs saying they may be harmful to some people with disabilities.  Halifax is following the lead of Vancouver where a similar ban goes into effect in March.  I also hear that the province of Quebec will be banning doorknobs.  As of May 1, it will be illegal for anyone to wear a doorknob on their head..

    Speaking of wearing, one Allen Henson took cell phone photographs of a model who removed her top on the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. The photos went viral. This did not sit too well with management of the building who are suing Henson for one million dollars. They allege that the observatory was full of tourists including children and that the photographs "damaged the landmark's reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction.

    Before passing judgment on this one, I did my due diligence; I Googled the incident.  In my humble opinion, I  see no damage to the landmark's reputation. I'll certainly would visit the place again. What I saw on the Empire State Building beats watching King Kong.      

Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com. Our offices still have doorknobs.


The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But...?

Jan 12, 2014 11:51 AM
Marcel Strigberger

            I recently promised to take my grandson Nathan to a hockey game.  Unfortunately something came up and I had to cancel. Nathan was very understanding.  He exclaimed, "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

            Nathan's comment got me thinking about the concept of honesty.  Perhaps adults should be as explicit as children when they feel that someone is not telling the truth. It would be refreshing for example for a judge to comment in his reasons, "I totally reject the accused's evidence. Liar, liar, pants on fire."

            It would certainly get the accused to look at his pants.

            People do not like to be told that they are liars. Hardly a Wild West movie goes by without that saloon poker scene where some Johnny Ringo pulls four aces. This does not sit well with The Colorado Kid, who happens to be holding an ace and when the Kid simply clears his throat, Ringo says, "You callin' me a liar?"  If the Kid then even blinks he'll be out on the street pronto just a quick draw away from a trip to Boot Hill.

            It is not surprising that people are uncomfortable with the concept of dishonesty and we accordingly use a myriad of expressions to fervently convince others that we are honest.

            One such expression is, "I swear on a stack of bibles".

            Swearing on one bible is a very solemn occasion.  If you don't tell the truth after swearing on even a single bible, then you are destined to be banished to a hotter climate in the netherworld.  But where can you possibly go if you lie after swearing on a stack of bibles?  Buffalo?         

            Then there is the guy who swears, "up and down".  When I hear this witness affirming his honesty, I imagine him in front of a judge and jury taking a bible into his hands and uttering the oath while doing five deep knee bends.  Now who can disbelieve this individual?

            Then we have the philosopher.  When challenged, he'll say, "Why would I lie?"  Former president Bill Clinton in fact once asked, "Why would I ask other people to lie?"  

            Now wasn't that comment convincing!     

            Let's not forget the people who are so convinced of their honesty that they invite disaster to be visited upon themselves if they're lying.  They say, "Cross my heart and hope to die."             

            Some are more specific: "May I be struck by a bolt of lightening."

            I believe that these latter people must be taken seriously as to date I have yet to be in a courtroom and see a bolt of lightening head straight for the witness box.

            These people are bolder than the chickens that direct the consequences of their dishonesty to others.  I am talking about the witness who says, "I swear on my children".

            Others are really bold and weird with someone else's children.  They say, "It's true or I'll be a monkey's uncle."

            Then we have the sports minded people: "I'm as straight as an arrow."

            This one sometimes makes me uneasy.   If arrows were as straight as some of these clowns, then if I were William Tell's son, there's no way I would stand there with that apple on my head.

            Speaking of little boys let us not forget the son of all little liars, Pinocchio.  I'd say the invention of the century would be a fairy that could stand near a party and ensure that his nose grows whenever he lies.  It would certainly speed up court trials.  It might even put many lawyers out of a job.  But that's OK.  I mean it. Scout's honour.

             Please also visit my law practice website  www.striglaw.com .  I cannot tell a lie.  The info, including the testimonials, is all 4 aces. 



Marcel's Musings, Judicial Nonsense  

December 2013

A Tale of Two Restaurants

Dec 15, 2013 11:30 AM
Marcel Strigberger

        Who likes French fries?  Some like it hot. A 26 year old man in Paris drove up to a McDonalds drive thru and ordered fries. Apparently they were cold. This did not sit well with the gentleman and he expressed himself rather assertively. He pulled out an axe and smashed the drive through window.     

        Les gendarmes eventually caught up with him.  I don’t know what will happen in the future but I’ll bet 5 Euros that next time anyone at any McDonalds in Paris asks for an order of  hot pommes frites, they’ll get it.   

       We next move to Kentucky, but no fries.

       Some guy at  Fazoli's restaurant in Elizabethtown, Kentucky took a seat on the toilet. Unfortunately he left his loaded gun on the toilet paper dispenser. More unfortunately the gun dropped and discharged, shooting the cowboy in the foot.

        I see a lawsuit coming.  After all was it not reasonably forseeable by Fazoli that some patrons may wish to park their pistols on the toilet paper dispenser while doing their business? Any jury member with a pulse will readily agree that Fazoli breached its duty to ensure their customer had a safe place to keep his firearm while relieving himself.  Good thing for Fazoli the bullet only struck the guy in the foot.

       I know the late Lord Denning would have found for the plaintiff.  His Lordship always had a heart out for justice for the little guy.  And it did not take too long into his decision to get a good idea in which direction His Lordship was heading:

        DENNING  J.A.

    “It was a sunny day in December in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.   Bill Snively decided to patronize the Defendant Fazoli’s eating establishment for a pepperoni and mushroom pizza.  Mr Snively before commencing his dining experience visited the washing closet.  Little did he know he would not be eating his pizza.  As he sat down on the toilet, he placed his firearm on the toilet paper dispenser. He expected that to be a safe place for his Smith &Wesson. Unfortunately this was not so....

    To justice for all.


I practice personal injury/insurance law and family law from my heritage office in Thornhill . Please visit my website www.striglaw.com.  I am well experienced in handling restaurant claims.


November 2013


Nov 30, 2013 10:15 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     Let us talk about mayors. Not Rob Ford. He has had enough.  I can think of 3 other mayors who deserve some attention.

    The first is Jean Drapeau the former mayor of my hometown, Montreal. Mr Drapeau in the early 1970s after Montreal secured the 1976 summer Olympics was very optimistic about the games being economical.  He went on record saying that the likelihood of the Olympics losing money is about as great as that of a man getting pregnant. The Olympic debt ended up being about 1.5 billion dollars and it took taxpayers about 30 years to pay it off. However in his defense, when Mayor Drapeau made that assuring likelihood comment, he was actually telling the truth. His Worship was in his second trimester.

    The second high profile mayor is actor Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel, California.  Actually I cannot imagine Clint Eastwood being a mayor. To me he will always be Dirty Harry, the San Francisco detective with the Magnum.  When I visualize a Clint Eastwood led Carmel city hall meeting, I do not see His Worship getting any opposition.  I see Clint E declaring, " I say we now vote for that new Carmel transit system.  I vote Yea. Any Nays?... Go ahead, make my day.....Good...unanimous."

    My third candidate for special mayors is the Mayor of Munchkin City.  I recently had the fun experience of watching the Wizard of Oz for the umpteenth time.  This time, given the controversy about Rob Ford, I focused on the Mayor. You will recall that he greets and thanks Dorothy after he realizes she just rid the city of  the wicked old witch.

    He says, "As Mayor of the Munchkin City, In the County of the Land of Oz, I welcome you most regally. "

    His further expression of gratitude however is deferred until the Coroner ensures that the wicked witch is "morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead.".

    His Worship certainly was thorough.

    The Coroner soon announces the results of his post mortem, to wit, that the wicked old witch is "not only merely dead but also most sincerely dead". The Mayor then  proclaims a day of celebration. This is my kind of mayor.

    If this scenario were to be played out in Toronto, we would all be joyous but no doubt in the midst of the festivities, the Toronto Star would come up with a story about a video showing the Mayor wearing a black conical hat and giving the witch's broom an oil change. And more than likely this story would probably be true.


              I practice personal injury and famliy law. Please visit www.striglaw.com .  I do not engage in witchhunts .




Sex and Unjust Enrichment

Nov 20, 2013 9:49 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Doriana Silva is suing Ashley Madison, that online dating for married folks, outfit. It seems A.M hired her to create 1000 fake profiles of attractive women, to lure unsuspecting men to their Brazil website. She was promised a starting salary of $34,000.00. She created the profiles in about 3 weeks but as a result she allegedly suffered permanent damage to her wrists and forearms.  She is suing for one million dollars in generals and punitives and, get this, $20 million for "unjust enrichment".

    Doing the math, that would be about $20,000 of unjust enrichment per fake woman. These women's profiles must be exceptional.  Actually I am not curious at all. Well, maybe slightly curious.  But I cannot imagine any sensible men  getting lured to that website.  I for one do not understand a single word of Portuguese. Anyways, the website does not readily come up if you Google it. I mentioned it, in passing o4f course, to my neighbour Manuel dos Santos and he could not assist.

    I don’t know what the fuss is all about.  I do not see a case for unjust enrichment at all. By the way, did you know Brazilian websites end in  ".BR"?

    I practice family and personal  injury law from my Thornhill office, just north of Toronto. Please visit my website at www.striglaw.com.  In Thornhill we do not visit those naughty Brazilian websites.at all. 


Marcel's Musings, sex sells  

No Glory, No Sex

Nov 7, 2013 9:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     Sex to follow.

    Here we go again. A Calgary school has axed the honour roll for high achieving students. The rational of the school mandarins is that honours for the winners often hurt the self esteem and pride of those who do not receive the awards. How thoughtful!

    Where would we be if the legal system adopted this attitude?  Imagine a 2 week jury trial and the judge's charge goes like this: "Please do not give this guy in the wheelchair a penny as making any award will shatter defense counsel's self esteem. "

    With school officials like these, those kids in Calgary will really be prepared for the outside world.

     Now for the sex. Let's go down under. The Australian High Court reversed a lower court decision that allowed a female government employee to get worker's compensation as a result an injury caused by a falling light fixture in a motel while she was having sex during a business trip.  The High Court held that she was not injured in the course of her employment.

     In short the High Court was saying having sex was not part of her job description.  I wonder what the evidence looked like. I would have liked to read her annual performance review.  Did she get any "A's"? In what? Exactly.

    Interestingly enough the decision was split 4-1. One justice agreed with the lower court ruling. If so, there is potential. If any of you plan to move to Australia, you may be interested in looking for a job with the government there.  I imagine most jobs in Ottawa entail only playing around with computers. 

Please visit my practice website www.striglaw.com . We do treat our clients with honour.

Marcel's Musings, zero tolerance, sex sells  

October 2013

No Way and Norway

Oct 30, 2013 9:34 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    We were all set to welcome Mr Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Unfortunately a lawyer colleague of ours, whose name has appeared from time to time in the media, has decided to challenge this appointment arguing that Nadon J, a Federal Court judge, from Quebec, does not know enough Quebec law to qualify as one of three S.C.C. reps from Quebec.  The good judge, although sworn in, has stepped aside pending further determination of his status.

    My question is, what drives people like this lawyer  to spend time on causes like this?  I know most lawyers are busy representing clients who are injured, have matrimonial problems or are trying to get their insurers to pay out on a fire claim.  Which client is he serving?  I cannot imagine someone with a legal aid certificate coming to his office and saying, "Sir, there is this Federal Court judge who is being appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and he knows diddly about Quebec law. Do something.”

    And what kind of continuing legal education courses does he take to satisfy the LSUC professional development requirements? I hear on his portal, he claimed 2 hours of credits for professional development for watching the movie, “The Terminator”.

    I wish him luck. I am talking about Justice Nadon.

    At least Nadon J had it better than that hunter in rural Norway who shot at a moose, missed, with the bullet piercing a nearby cabin striking a man in his seventies while sitting on the toilet.  Nadon J is definitely luckier than the guy on the toilet.  I suppose the moose is the luckiest. I wonder if he related this story to his fellow moose:

    “Suddenly I hear a shot and a bullet whizzes by my ear and hits old Olaf’s cabin....”
    Actually I spent a few minutes Googling “Moose in Norway laughing.”  Nothing yet. I'll try again tomorrow.

    And no, I don’t know if that old man in Norway is suing. I hear rumours that as he was startled, he uttered one word, “Dritt”.  I found that out while Googling about those moose.

    Don’t spend too much time on Google Translate.   It’s Norwegian for a substance that some people disturb.


I practice personal injury/insurance and family law. Please visit my website www.striglaw.com .  I do not have clients seeking to stop judges from getting appointed but I do represent unsuspecting victims getting shot while sitting on the can.



Dogs for Justice

Oct 23, 2013 10:33 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     The dogs are back in business.  The Supreme Court of Canada recently held in 2 companion cases that the deployment of a dog trained to detect illegal drugs … may be carried out without prior judicial authorization "where the police have a reasonable suspicion based on objective, ascertainable facts that evidence of an offence will be discovered.".

     In one case, R v MacKenzie, police formed that reasonable suspicion when they pulled MacKenzie over for speeding 2 kilometers over the limit and his eyes looked red.  The sniffer dog was summoned and he found 14 kilograms of marijuana. That was good enough for a conviction.

     I was recently stopped by police for going 10-15 kilometers over the limit. The officer was about to call in the sniffer dog, but I told him we were on our way to a wedding and he closed the cage.  He wished us a fun time at the wedding. I guess my eyes weren't red.

     In the other case of R v Chehil,  Mandeep Chehil traveling alone, bought a one way night flight ticket from Vancouver to Halifax, checking in one suitcase and paying in cash.  This was enough to trigger suspicion.  Police called in Fido and he found 3 kilograms of cocaine in the suitcase.

     I agree fully with the police actions and the SCC's approval of same.  In my view anyone flying alone from Vancouver to Halifax has all the markings of a Columbia Cartel cooperative.  He is  simply asking for trouble.   How can you have anything but a reasonable suspicion based on objective, ascertainable facts when you add that to these facts that he was traveling at night on a "red eye"?

     I think it would have been different had Mandeep been traveling from say, Saskatoon to Gander Nfld.  The dog's evidence would have been stopped in its tracks. But Vancouver to Halifax?  He's toast.

     Justice may have gone to the dogs but in this case it is might constitute a silver lining, as opposed to a false lining.   


    Please visit www.striglaw.com.  I practice personal injury/insurance and family law. I do not practice criminal law anymore.  I used to have a beagle.



No Lethal Injection for You

Oct 13, 2013 11:44 AM
Marcel Strigberger

Here is a twist. In Salem, Oregon, a Gary Haugen as sentenced to be executed for a 1981 murder. And while waiting for this execution, he killed an inmate in 2003.  A month or so before the due date, the current state Governor, John Kithaber, a former practicing emergency doctor, who loathes capital punishment reprieved all on death row.

Now here is the crunch.   Gary Haugen wants to get executed.  In fact he brought an application to the courts to overturn the reprieve. The lower court granted his application and he was all set to enjoy his last meal.  

But hold the champagne.  To Gary’s chagrin,  the prosecution appealed this decision and the state’s appeal court reversed the lower court ruling saying Haugen cannot refuse the reprieve.

I don’t know what kind of lawyer Haugen hired. Obviously the lawyer was disappointed with the result.  How did he report to his client?

    “  Dear Mr Haugen

                  " I am sorry to advise you the Oregon Supreme Court has allowed the appeal of the People of Oregon.   It is with great sadness that I announce to you that you are    not going to be executed.  As you know I did try my best.  My record of losses until now in this kind of case was nil. I have had a number of my clients get the death sentence but unfortunately in this case my streak ended.
                  Do you want to consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The justices there are a rather conservative bunch and you might get lucky.  I can try to convince them that to live is a cruel and unusual punishment.”

I feel sorry for the lawyer. When asked if he was getting paid for this case he responded, “Only over my client’s dead body. “


I practice personal injury/insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . I can proudly say I never lost one client to a lethal injection.



September 2013

Quebec Charter of Values- First Judicial Decision

Sep 22, 2013 10:49 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The province of Quebec is buzzing with its proposed Charter of Values, wherein public servants will be prohibited from wearing ostentatious religious symbols such as crucifixes, and head covers, including the hijab, kippa etc.

The Minister in charge of implementing this brilliant law is Bernard Drainville, whose ministry is actually called the Ministry of Democratic Institutions. 

This Charter is designed supposedly to protect Quebec culture and keep public matters secular.  But as these things usually go, they can become more extensive and far reaching.  It will not be too long before we see the following legal decision:

Le Juge J.

This matter arises out of a charge against Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, aka The Cathedral of Montreal. The Cathedral is charged with contravening section 23(7) of the Charter of Values by sporting a dome resembling an oversized kippa.

The section reads:

        “No structure, waterway or other public place will hold, carry or have affixed to it any ostentatious religious symbol. Contravention of this section is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 2 years less one day.”

By way of background the Charter of Values, was proclaimed in 2013.  Since then the Quebec Ministry of Democratic Institutions sought ways to improve on the Charter and it legislated amendments, including section 23(7) proclaimed about a year ago.

The amendments make the offender itself liable for any violations.

The trial of this matter took 2 days. 

Charter of Values constable Jean-Pierre Poutine testified that he was cruising along Boulevard Rene Levesque near Avenue de Cathedrale when on the evening of December 12, he noticed something suspicious, to wit, a large structure resembling a church but covered with a huge kippa, about 150 feet high and 100 feet in diameter.

He immediately stopped his police car and walked over to the accused.

He testified that he told the cathedral to remove its head covering.  The accused just stood there, refusing to obey his order. He advises that he felt threatened and so he proceeded to taser it.

As the accused still did not respond, Constable Poutine handcuffed the suspect by clamping the cuffs around its front door handles.

He read the requisite police caution: “You’re under arrest, Tabarnak”.

After a two-day trial I found the accused guilty as charged. The Court did not accept as a defence that the accused is an exact replica, 50% in size, of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The law is clear. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But this is Quebec. We know better.

I shall now deal with sentencing.

It should be noted that the accused has a previous record, having been convicted of this same offense less than one year ago.  At that time, its lawyer, Me Marc Lenoix advised that his client promised to remove the offending dome and replace it with a less conspicuous cloth kippa  measuring in diameter about 6 inches. Based on this undertaking, this Court granted the accused a suspended sentence.. 

Unfortunately the accused continues to offend the Charter. In sentencing, a primary objective is general deterrence. The Court must send out a message to other potential violators that our society will not tolerate a mockery of the law.  If we allow this act to go unpunished , it will not be too long before we see a 500 foot high turban floating on the St Lawrence River.

The accused has shown no remorse. I sentence it to serve the maximum custodial jail sentence of two years less a day years in jail.

Constables, take the convict into custody.


While thinking about potential interesting clients such as churches, mountains and rivers, I practice personal injury and family law. Please visit  www.striglaw.com .



The IKEA Monkey- Final Chapter

Sep 15, 2013 5:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

    A few lessons emerge from this case.

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

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

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

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

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



Sourtoe Cocktail? Not Quite Rum and Coke

Sep 2, 2013 12:28 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



August 2013

Vanishing School Supplies

Aug 27, 2013 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her argument was unassailable I thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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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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