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Cases I Have Known

by on October 21, 2011

In my past posts about law school, I realized I might have given the impression that it’s entirely about pop-culture, all a glorious heaven of Incredibles references and quotes from M*A*S*H, with the occasional bit of, y’know, law thrown in as an afterthought. This is not how it really is. Actually, I must confess, the cases themselves would be terribly interesting even without the cultural references. As a writer, I’ve learned to appreciate the value of a good story. And believe me, there are some really good stories in these things. Let’s take a few examples, shall we?

Easter Seals Society of Crippled Children v. Playboy Enterprises.

I haven’t actually read this case; I just noticed the title. You don’t see that one every day.

U.S. v . One Device Intended for Use as a Colonic Irrigator.

I don’t think I even want to know what a colonic irrigator is, but it sounds….yeah. do not want to know.

Mills v. Wyman.

The title is not amusing; what’s interesting about this classic contracts case is that it involves the tragic tale of a poor lad named Levi Wyman, who left his family and went off to sea, returning home only to fall terribly ill. Mr. Mills tried to help Levi recover, but alas, Levi didn’t survive. Mr. Wyman, Levi’s father, promised to pay back Mills’ expenses in caring for his son, but then Mr. Wyman refused to honor his promise. The court did not have kind words for Mr. Wyman, but they nonetheless ruled that not every promise is legally enforceable. The funny thing about this case? Someone went and did some research on it. Turns out that Levi Wyman was only mostly dead, as The Princess Bride would say. He didn’t day after all, but lived for years afterwards. Go figure.

Byrne v. Boadle

The opening lines of this classic Torts case: “Plaintiff was walking down the Scotland road when he lost all recollection. Witnesses testified that a barrel of flour fell on him.”

And then there’s my personal favorite…

United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff.

Apparently, Mr. Mayo tried to sue the Big Bad himself, the devil, for “misery and unwarranted threats,”  placing “deliberate obstacles in his path and causing “plaintiff’s downfall.” The judge dismissed the case before a trial. Among other reasons, the judge ruled that Mr. Mayo had failed to tell the U.S. Marshall where to go in order to serve the defendant with legal notice of the lawsuit.  Heh.

  1. Cool cases!

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Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC

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