One thing you learn quickly when covering the legal world is that there are a lot of strange stories out there.
And strange can mean ridiculous, embarrassing, tragic, fradulent and just, well, weird.
Here’s a round-up of the strangest legal stories this week. A few we covered, but most are appearing for the first time — they seemed more deserving of a collective, end-of-the-week eyebrow raise. Included are a pole-dancing injury, funkmeister George Clinton and religious licence plates.
Here you go!
Universal Studios agreed to pay the Alaska Press Club $22,500 for attributing a fake news story about alien abductions to seven real media organisations.
Universal created the articles to promote The Fourth Kind, a movie about alien abductions.
The Fairbanks Daily-News-Miner covered the story here.
Two German men are suing Wikipedia to have their names removed from a Wikipedia page about the life and death of German actor Walter Sedlmayr. They were convicted of murderering him.
German law, apparently, allows suppression of a criminal's name from news accounts once he has served his time. The men's names have been removed from the German Wikipedia page, but not the US one.
First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told the New York Times that the Wikipedia entry 'is easily, comfortably protected by the First Amendment.' After talking to the Times, the men's lawyer sent the reporter an email saying he trusted the paper would not use his clients' names in the article.
No such luck.
The ABA Journal also covered the story here.
A former law firm associate, Alan Levy, is suing his firm after it told him not to come back following an 8-month medical leave.
In his complaint, Levy accuses a partner at Sedgwick, Detert, Mortan and Arnold of sharing too much about his extra-marital life and of asking Levy to remove marijuana from his litigation bag.
Cook County, Illinois judges have been been throwing out speeding tickets issued to drivers whose speed was measured by laser guns, rather than radar.
Lowering the Bar notes that it is not necessarily because the laser guns are not reliable, it's just because the proper evidentiary hearing has not been held to certifiy its reliability.
Proving it up, an expert told the Chicago Tribune, is 'laborious and expensive.' Chicago police say they'll continue to use the device, as they belive it to be 'reliable and accurate,' a spokesman for the department said.
The 6th Circuit recently ruled that singer George Clinton is the exclusive owner of 'bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippie yea.'
The record company that administers Clinton's musical stylings will be paid $89,000 in damages from Universal Music Group for the unauthorised use of Clinton's lyrics. The unauthorised use occurred in Public Announcement's 'D.O.G. in Me.'
The Daily Tennessean covered the story here.
A South Carolina federal judge struck down the state's 'I Believe' Act that established state plates like the one pictured.
The AP image above is from a Florida sample, where the man responsible for pushing through the Act previously tried to establish such a licence plate.
Courthouse News reported that the judge opined that the primary purpose of the Act 'is to promote a specific religion, Christianity.' The judge also noted that laws promoting one religion over the other have been illegal since the nation's founding, CN said.
Courthouse News has the whole story here.
An Arizona woman is suing a local sports bar when she was injured while taking 'a few turns' on a stripper pole the bar had installed as part of a Ladies Night promotion.
The pole came loose from the ceiling and the woman fell; she also sliced off the top of her ring finger. The suit alleges the bar allowed an 'unreasonable risk of harm' to patrons by failing to properly assemble the pole.
On Point News has the details and the complaint here.
An ex-associate started a Web site called 'Levinson Axelrod Sucks.' He later changed it to 'Levinson Axelrod Really Sucks.' But both live at the URL levinsonaxelrod.net.
Not surprisingly, the firm sued the author, Edward Heyburn, for cybersquatting and breach of the duty of loyalty.
A British woman's conviction was upheld for breaching a noise abatement notice. neighbours complained that the noise the woman made while having sex with her husband was 'unnatural' and sounded like 'murder.'
In November 2007, the court banned her from 'shouting, screaming or vocalisation at such a level as to be a statutory nuisance.'
She's been accused of breaching the ban three times since.
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