Folklaw: 8 December 2006

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

New Zealand woman like human sardineA Rotorua woman had a near brush with death when the blade of a tractor mower sliced her parked car in half lengthways — while she sat in the driver’s…

New Zealand woman like human sardine

A Rotorua woman had a near brush with death when the blade of a tractor mower sliced her parked car in half lengthways — while she sat in the driver’s seat.

Hera Anderson, 59, was minding her business in her Toyota Cinos when the accident occurred, the Rotorua Daily Post reported.


The tractor mower, owned by Rotorua District Council’s business arm Castlecorp, hit a bump on the road, releasing the blade from its safety cover, moments before it passed Anderson’s car. Hacking through the car like a can opener, the blade sliced it open at waist height from the boot all the way to the bonnet, missing Anderson by inches.

“I just heard this bang. It felt like someone had hit me in the side of the face,” Anderson told the newspaper.

“The driver didn’t stop until the car was totally sliced from the back to the bonnet. It was scary.”

Anderson is now seeking compensation while police determine whether or not to press charges.

US lawyer fakes his way into practice

Lawyers Weekly Discover

Ominously named US firm Anderson Kill has been forced to admit that one of its own had been practising without any legal qualifications.

The New York firm had employed Brian Valery since 1996, when he began as a paralegal. His assurances that he was studying law at night were taken at face value, as was his proud announcement in 2004 that he’d knocked off the New York Bar Exam.

Valery was made an associate at the 132-lawyer firm, where he undertook numerous matters including a litigation case, in which he applied for special permission to appear before a Connecticut court.

The charade ended when a concerned member of the public — and old college friend of Valery’s according to US website —phoned to inquire as to why Valery’s name was not present on the New York list of registered lawyers. Valery was instantly fired and all his files scrutinised in preparation for potential law suits from disgruntled clients. reported that the firm offered the following explanation in a written letter to Connecticut chief disciplinary counsel, Mark Dubois: “Had [Valery] been a new attorney employee previously unknown to us, we would, of course, have taken the customary steps to confirm his qualifications and his bar admission status”.

“In retrospect, we should have applied those same background checking procedures to [Valery],” the letter said somewhat obviously.

The Connecticut court case, Steadfast Insurance Co v The Purdue Frederick Co, was conducted in May 2005, and ended in settlement.

Brazil officials kick arse competition

In an unsurprising move by officials in Brazil, a radio station’s ‘Biggest Ass in School’ competition has been banned.

A Sao Paul court ruled that the competition, conducted by Mix Radio in schools all around the country, was illegal, Terras Noticias Populares said.

Under the rules of the competition, students were encouraged to photograph the backside of their fellow classmates, and even their teachers, in an effort to win the prize. But the station was threatened with the loss of its broadcasting licence if it refused to stop advertising the competition, so no one was able to claim the honour of capturing the largest arse in Brazil.

“This contest is offensive and violent. We can’t tolerate it,” a spokesperson for the Sao Paulo justice department said.

Crim takes warden to the cleaners

Folklaws pages are often filled with stories of moronic criminals, but Serbia’s Alija Cerimi may just be unlucky.

The prisoner Cerimi was released on weekend leave from a minimum security prison, and chose to pass his time in the free world with a spot of burglary. He busted into one particular house in the town of Sremska Mitrovica and relieved the owner of jewellery, a mobile phone and a watch.

This brilliant plan all came unstuck, however, when he returned to the prison with his newly acquired wristwatch, only to have it recognised by the prison governor, whose house had recently been violated.

Upon being discovered, witnesses said Cerimi burst out laughing as he produced the governor’s mobile phone. Unlucky, certainly — but moronic all the same.

Scrooge comes early in East London

What happens when Scrooge and occupational health and safety collide?

An answer to this puzzling question may be found in Tower Hamlets, East London, where the local council has banned its staff from putting up Christmas decorations.

The decision has been made in order to prevent employees from hurting themselves, as well as to save on the electricity bill.

“We only wanted to get into the spirit and brighten the place up. It feels more like the Eastern Bloc than the East End round here now — except slightly less cheery,” an employee was quoted as saying.

But a festive spokeswoman from the council argued “there’s a concern people might hurt themselves trying to attach hanging decorations from the ceiling. Christmas lights use a relatively small amount of electricity but every effort counts in reducing energy waste”. Is this a case of climate change concern gone mad?

Drunken Spaniard cycles head on into traffic

A 22-year-old student from Spain was arrested in Italy after cycling headfirst into the overtaking lane of an Italian motorway, boozed to the eyeballs.

The student had travelled for nearly 3.2 kilometres before being stopped by traffic police on the Autostrada del Sole, near Parma. When breathalysed he was more than four times over the limit, and had no idea how he came to be on a bike on the most dangerous section of an Italian motorway. Once he sobered up, he was charged with breaking road safety laws, website reported.

“He had a few near misses but we managed to get him off the motorway before there was a disaster,” a police spokesman said.

Folklaw: 8 December 2006
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