In the city, everyone can hear you scream
Could this be a strategic growth area for law firms? Apparently American courts are seeing an increasing number of lawsuits against next-door neighbours, airports, railroads, nightclubs, supermarkets and dog owners. Cases involve claims for everything from noise induced hearing loss and non-physical stress and annoyance to noise pollution and disturbance of the peace and quiet. And things are only going to get worse as the population grows, air traffic increases and automobile ownership surges.
However, there are some dastardly entrepreneurs out there, looking to steal away the lucrative business of litigation from lawyers — soundproofers! The only way to attain peace and quiet they say, is to soundproof your home or business. Serenity will follow, even if you live only 15 metres from a freeway, they claim. It will be interesting to see who will win the battle for the hearts and souls of this growing client base — will the people proactively seek rest and calm or will they be content to continue suing the pants of each other. Well, it is America, so they’ll probably do both — install the soundproofing then sue the first person they find to cover their costs. Then everybody wins! What a wonderful world.
One of our Folklaw scouts was taking a stroll the other night when she noticed a man working late in a local real estate office. “That’s commitment,” the reporter thought, until a closer squiz at his computer screen revealed he was involved in a highly complex game of Solitaire. Now come on, if you’re going to stay in the office until all hours, do something productive. Or go and play Solitaire in the comfort of your own home. But then again, one shouldn’t judge — Folklaw hasn’t met the man’s wife!
Health more important than freedom
A prisoner is suing the jail where he is incarcerated over the quality of their food, claiming that it is high in fat and has made him ill. A bit rich, you might think, but the prisoner is one of our Romanian friends, who seem to frequent the pages of Folklaw more than any other group. Gheorghe Florea, 34, is serving two years for theft. Head of the prison, Marius Hiliban, told the Evenimentul newspaper that Florea had complained the food “was too fat and this affected his health”.
“He also said we put him in a smokers’ cell. but this is not a criteria our regulation takes into consideration. Still, we moved him into another cell,” Hiliban continued. Well, maybe Florea will think twice about committing theft again when he is finally free to dine on steamed vegetables and tofu again. It seems the loss of liberty wasn’t enough to deter him from a life of crime, but now that he’s been subjected to the joys of mass-produced mashed potatoes there’s a good chance he’ll never break the law again.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
A group of policemen from a division that fights illegal gambling in Sao Paulo, Brazil, were caught using illegal gambling machines after witnesses dobbed them in to some other police. The police were gambling at Belas Artes bar during work hours. Naturally, the illegal machines were removed from the bar, and the owner was fined, and as for the naughty policemen, policeman in charge of the operations, Rui Silveira Mello told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper: “Policemen only work here that have ethics and morals, the gamblers will be punished”.
Bee keeping bandit
In a Fool’s Day story, our New Zealand friends leave us with something to be wary of — taking it just too far, even if not deliberately. The NZ Herald reports that Judge David Saunders has labelled beekeeper John William Bushnell as April Fool of Hokitika after he spent the day brandishing about a metal bar usually used to scrape his beehives.
Bushnell was fined $800 after admitting to threatening behaviour as well as possessing an offensive weapon. He had been in good spirits, he said, until two musicians started rehearsing, which evidently got on his nerves. He abused the players then moved on to a female bar manager, making lewd comments and waving about his beehive scraping apparatus.
To finish off his day of foolishness, he agreed to a breath test, though he was not driving. Having produced a reading of 1001, two and a half times over the limit, Judge Saunders told him “Someone should have told you April Fool’s Day finishes at noon. You were a drunken bore and can be rightly termed April Fool of Hokitika”.
Celibate monk a curious cat
Asking questions isn’t always a good idea. A Buddhist monk has been acquitted on a conviction of soliciting after he had allegedly tried to pick up an undercover policewoman who was posing as a prostitute.
The 47-year-old celibate monk, Hoa Trung Nguyen was arrested in Sydney’s Cabramatta on 7 August last year after he asked the woman about her fees. Apparently he even haggled with her, but he maintained he was simply enquiring about her fees out of curiosity. Magistrate Ronald Maiden convicted Nguyen in Liverpool Court on 2 December last year, according to The Courier Mail, but he was recently cleared of the charges in the Campbelltown District Court.
Solicitor Quang Nguyen said his client was “extremely relieved” to have been proved innocent.
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