A wine by any other name …
Regular readers of Folklaw will know that feta producers in the European Union have been banned from calling their feta cheese feta unless they are producing it in Greece. Now, Western Australia winery Houghton has had to change the name of its White Burgundy, of which it has produced more than 60 vintages, to Houghton White Classic. The winery has assured its faithful clientele while nothing else about the wine will change, the packaging will be different for the 2006 vintage. The new name features on the label of the 2005 vintage, which was recently released in Perth.
It may not be long before other wineries have to follow suit. A trade agreement between Australian and the European Commission will make place names including Burgundy, Chablis and Champagne taboo for Australian labels. And for some reason port and sherry will be off the list too. Folklaw believes this is just a blatant use of international property laws to create a monopoly. And, pray tell, what are we going to drink around the campfire now? Whatever name they come up with, I’m sure it won’t have the same ring as “port”.
Christine L Boone was fired from her role as director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, allegedly for insubordination, after she refused to carry out a superior’s directive to make a college aid program more available to students who weren’t receiving merit scholarships. Boone is blind herself, so naturally she sued on the grounds of discrimination. The fact that she had been replaced by Pamela Shaw, another blind woman, did not stop the court awarding Boone $180,000 in lost wages and $1.5 million for emotional distress. She has also asked the judge to reinstate her job. If she has her way, it will be interesting to see what Shaw sues for.
A girl from Albany who was injured while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York has made headlines in America — by not suing. Sarah Chamberlain received nine stitches to her head after a giant balloon in the parade hit a lamppost and caused debris to fall on her and her sister. The girls’ father told the New York Daily News that the family had no intention of suing, recognising that the incident was simply an “accident”. “We’re just very thankful no one was seriously injured,” he said.
His admirable response prompted Daily News columnist Michael Daly to write: “The father’s words should be inscribed on a plaque and affixed to the base of the pole, memorializing a place in the city where a mishap occurred and nobody went to court”.
So many people are willing to stoop so low. Amanda Covarrubias of the Los Angeles Times reported on 24 November that a lawyer was being held over allegations that he had recruited 29 people to instigate car crashes, then sue for damages. Apparently his ruse created more than 60 accidents and yielded millions of dollars in bogus insurance claims.
But the best part is, some of his recruits were members of a Bible study class. Folklaw would like to know which verse, in which book, condones this sort of behaviour: the lawyer’s cronies would head out in two cars, pick a freeway then box in an SUV or commercial truck. The driver of the lead vehicle would then jam on its brakes to cause an accident. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured in any of the accidents but one victim had to shut down his business after his truck was totalled.
Participants in the racket were promised thousands of dollars, but most received nothing.