Time stops for no man
Obviously lacking confidence in the ability of his subject matter to hold the attention of his audience at the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association’s national conference in Melbourne, Justice Neville Owen provided a pop quiz within his presentation. Speaking on corporate governance and why it matters, Owen interspersed his points with pictures of clocks from around the world, and asked his audience to name the city in which it was located.
Starting with the obvious Big Ben in London, he moved on to examples from Bern and Vancouver among others. His aim was to disprove the theory that lawyers earn too much money and spend too much time jet-setting and sight seeing. He failed dismally, with every city promptly identified. To capitalise on his discovery, Owen also provided an intermission of sorts, presenting a virtual tour of the town where he went to school, New Norcia in Western Australia, recommending it for its wildflowers and claim to fame as Australia’s only monastic town. If New Norcia suddenly has an influx of cashed up tourists, it will have one Justice Neville Owen to thank.
Not that I would recommend this …
At the same conference, at a workshop about the legal requirements for retention of documents, e-law’s Rebecca Grant and Warren Dunn, who worked on the HIH Royal Commission, delegates were not only told what should be kept and what could be thrown away, but were advised of methods of disposal that do not work. Obviously speaking from experience, they ruled out smashing the hard drive with a hammer, or otherwise hefty object, or submerging it in a pool. The only fail-safe method was shredding — not of documents, but of the hard drive itself. But that method would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just to obtain the industrial machinery required to do the job. They didn’t mention burying the hard-drive in a top-secret spot that only your Uncle Bob knows how to get to … could work.
Avid readers of Folklaw no doubt recall the story of Dorothy Densmore, an 86-year-old from North Carolina who was arrested after she dialled the emergency number 20 times in 38 minutes because the local pizza shop would not deliver to her home.
Well, she has been joined in the Folklaw annals by 30-year-old Sharita Williams of Houma, Louisiana. Williams called 911 from the restaurant where she was dining because she had been served cold onion rings. She told police the food was cold when she received it, but the waiter refused to replace it. Police promptly arrived at the scene, but only to arrest Williams for wasting their time … which seems like a bit of a waste of time too, doesn’t it? Williams is to appear in court next month.
We all know exactly how this man felt. A Swiss man driving at almost 80 kilometres per hour in a 50 kilometre zone noticed the tell-tale flash of a speed camera and knew he had been snapped. But the indecency and unfairness of the game plan was all too much for him. He attacked the camera with a pick axe, smashed it from its mountings, drove its remains up a mountain and threw it off a cliff.
His tactics worked to a degree and the film and camera were destroyed, but the man was spotted again — this time by real police as he hurled the device off the cliff — and was consequently arrested. He now faces a fine of up to $30,500 for destruction of public property. He should have copped the speeding fine, it would have been cheaper.
Don’t discriminate (just because I can’t do my job)
Armour Star meat packing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, US of A, thought it was doing the right thing by its employees when it introduced a strength test. In the course of their work, employees were required to repetitively lift a 16-pound rod of sausages to a height of 165 centimetres. Due to its concern about the high rate of worker injuries, the company introduced the test for prospective employees which involved repeated lifting of a 16-kilogram weight to a height of 165 centimetres. Makes sense one would think — unless of course you are the American Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It has sued the plant for devising a test that prevents people who clearly can’t do the task for which they have been hired from getting a job. The plant is now coughing up $3 million because the Commission claimed the test had a “disparate impact” on women — 97 per cent of men passed, while less than 40 per cent of women passed. So, perhaps there would have been no point in hiring those women in the first place.