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Folklaw 1 July

Folklaw 1 July

Sauce on their facesA lawyer from Baker & McKenzie’s London office has achieved notoriety — for all the wrong reasons — after an email exchange between himsel

Sauce on their faces

A lawyer from Baker & McKenzies London office has achieved notoriety — for all the wrong reasons — after an email exchange between himself and a secretary at the firm was forwarded throughout the UK legal community. Richard Phillips emailed Jenny Amner, informing her that he wanted her to pick up his $9.40 (£4) dry cleaning bill because she had spilt tomato sauce on his trousers.

A week later, she emailed back with the message: “I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother’s sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4 ($9.40). I apologise again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial needs as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary.”

She informed him that she had told partners, lawyers and trainees about the email and they had offered to pass the hat around for the money. She declined their offer, but informed him that should he feel “the urgent need for £4 it will be on my desk this afternoon”.

BBC reported that the email exchange had been forwarded throughout the legal community. In a statement, Baker & McKenzie confirmed it was aware of the exchange and said the matter “had clearly got out of hand”.

A victory for flirtation

Flirtatious employees have been given a reprieve after a German court rejected sections of Wal-Mart’s conduct code relating to employees’ private lives, alcohol and drug use and a requirement for staff to report code violations via an ethics hotline. The institution of flirting is safe in the German stores as the ruling overturned a clause banning any behaviour which could be interpreted as sexual.

A spokesman for the court could not confirm the grounds on which the Wuppertal employment court had ordered the clauses to be removed for German staff, as the judge’s opinion was still being written.

High price to pay

Police in the UK are investigating claims from two motorcyclists that they were carrying almost $26,000 in their rucksack because they were on their way to buy a car. The sizeable piggybank was discovered when the rucksack burst while they were riding on a busy motorway near Winchester and encased motorists in a cloud of £20 notes, UK paper The Guardian reported.

Motorists stopped to help the bikers recover their cash but the wind got the better of them and quickly blew the money across both carriageways. Only $24,600 was recovered. The day only got worse for the bikers, from the Isle of Wight, when their Kawasaki bike broke down two junctions further along the M3.

Offensive language

A drunk student was arrested and spent the night in the cells after calling a police horse “gay”. Sam Brown of Balliol College, Oxford, saw two mounted policemen when he was leaving a nightclub. He allegedly shouted to one of the policemen “mate, your horse is gay, I hope you don’t have a problem with that”. The policeman warned Brown about his language but he followed the police down the street and continued to taunt them. Eventually he wore through their patience and after a chase around the streets of Oxford, during which a couple of squad cars were called for backup, Brown was arrested.

He maintains that calling the horse gay was not offensive and said the police overreacted when they deployed six officers, two “gigantic” horses and a couple of patrol cars to arrest him. However, the police are unamused and have issued a $187 fine for causing harassment, alarm and distress.

Lets get lyrical

Proving that her talents lay not only in judicial duties, US Macomb County Circuit Judge Deborah Servitto composed a rap lyric when she threw out a suit against rapper Eminem in 2003.

Michigan man Deangelo Bailey, who had bullied Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers III) in primary school, brought the suit against him. He claimed a song from Eminem’s 1999 Slim Shady LP depicted his bullying tactics in far too harsh a light.

In spirit, Servitto wrote: “The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact, they’re an exaggeration of a childish act. It is therefore this court’s ultimate position that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition”.

Although the Michigan Court of Appeals didn’t compose its own rap, it did uphold Servitto’s decision 3-0 recently.

Slow and steady wins the court case

A Brazilian bank was ordered to pay a former secretary $11,700 after her boss made her keep a plastic turtle on her desk to remind her how slow she was. The manager, who cannot be named, also nicknamed the woman Magda after a Brazilian TV character renowned for being stupid. Judge Sergio Pinto Martins ordered Banespa Bank to pay the money to the woman as compensation. He told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper: “Jokes in the workplace are common in Brazil but they must not offend people”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

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Folklaw 1 July
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