Folklaw, 24 February, 2006

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

Good tryA member of American choral group Positive Voices, which openly advertises the fact that it is made up of HIV+ members, has sued the Dallas Observer for referring to him as HIV+ in a…

Good try

A member of American choral group Positive Voices, which openly advertises the fact that it is made up of HIV+ members, has sued the Dallas Observer for referring to him as HIV+ in a news story about a gay congregation.

He sued on the grounds that it is against the law in Texas to disclose “medical test results”, despite the fact that Positive Voices has released a CD that includes a photograph of the plaintiff, referred to as Joe Doe, and his real name. The offence carries with it a fine of up to US$10,000 for each disclosure, and since the newspaper has a circulation of 110,000, Doe determined he was entitled to over US$1 billion.


A Texas state court of appeals reversed the decision of the trial court not to grant summary judgement and entered judgement for the defendants. Which only seems to make sense, really.

Handy to know

The following information could come in handy if you end up working on a matter to do with food poisoning or the like. A 12 year-old schoolgirl from Florida has won top prize with a science experiment, in which she proved that toilet water is cleaner than ice from fast food restaurants.

Jasmine Roberts of New Tampa tested her theory in five restaurants — at each, she flushed the toilet and armed with sterile gloves, gathered samples. She also collected ice from the soda fountains and asked for cups of ice at drive through windows.

Her findings were that 70 per cent of the time, the ice contained more bacteria than the water from the toilets. They won her first prize at the Benito Middle School, and Jasmine hopes to go on to win the top prize at a regional science and engineering fair.

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Disgruntled staff

And this time it’s not the lawyers … Cleaners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s London office took to the streets recently to protest against their poor pay. Coordinated by cleaners throughout the city, the protest closed Fleet Street and caused an hour or so of “mild alarm” amongst unprepared staff, according to Roll on Friday.

The cleaners sported placards demanding ‘more pay and more respect’ and ‘£6.70 an hour’. Well, come on now, that’s a bit harsh. It’s not like the people they are serving are on good money or anything — sheesh!

Go, manslaughter!

A Seattle judge has apologised after leading her courtroom in a football chant, the day she was due to sentence the defendant in a manslaughter case. Beverly Grant made the court yell “Go Seahawks!” in honour of her Super Bowl team, then made it repeat the chant twice because the first attempt hadn’t been good enough.

The relatives of the victim complained that they were traumatised by the event and the deputy prosecutor and court staff admitted they were a tad embarrassed by it. Although she had earlier referred to the complaints as “trite”, Grant has now accepted that her actions caused offence and apologised.

Personally, Folklaw believes there aren’t enough cheers in society, and possibly cheering squads should become a permanent fixture in court rooms — just to lighten the atmosphere. If the initiative proved to be successful, cheer squads could even be introduced to Parliament. I’m sure a good squad or two could come up with a lot more sense than what is usually sprouted during its sittings.

Downside outweighs the benefits

A convicted thief, who went on the run after being charged with theft, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail — after hiding under his mother’s floorboards for four years.

The Czechoslovakian, 25-year-old Ondrej Hlavac from Jirikov na Decinsku, was sentenced to 18 months in jail in his absence.

Police officers visited Hlavac’s parents several times, but were always told they had no contact with their son. However, Hlavac was finally freed from his ruse when police saw him trying to slide down a hole in the kitchen floor, when they made a follow up visit. His mother confessed to letting her son hide in a disused cellar — a linoleum covered trap door had been fitted to conceal his sanctuary.

Now, if you ask Folklaw, Hlavac wasn’t very bright. Poor sod, if he’d just gone quietly when he was caught, he would have been out of jail more than two years ago. Instead, he’s sentenced himself to four years of not straying far from his hiding spot and having to seek refuge in what it imagines to be a damp, dark, hole whenever anyone came around … plus his 18 months in jail. Perhaps he should have thought that one out a little more clearly.

Folklaw, 24 February, 2006
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