Folklaw 14 July

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

Live to airDuring a live to air interview recently a Folklaw source got a bit tongue tied when talking about all the good reasons for estate agents not to treat tenants badly when they are…

Live to air

During a live to air interview recently a Folklaw source got a bit tongue tied when talking about all the good reasons for estate agents not to treat tenants badly when they are trying to sell a property. As he worked through his guide to “pinged off” tenants, the source pointed out that selling a property could become very difficult if the tenants aren’t completely enamoured of you. Tactics to make the property as unattractive as possible to prospective buyers, without breaching a lease, included “dirty dishes, piles of clothing, foul-smelling cooking … dirty nappies, weird music, weird visitors and weird books/videos/DVDs”, just to name a few.

He continued on to far greater extremes including “satanic symbols, lots of booze, boongs and for really good measure … scattered hypodermic needles”. Of course, our source had meant to say bongs, but misread his notes. He’s been cursing his bifocals ever since.


It pays to read the handbook

The removal of Brooklyn Surrogate Michael H. Feinberg from the bench was confirmed by New York’s Court of Appeals recently. Feinberg had appointed a friend Louis R. Rosenthal to the position of Counsel to the Public Administrator, then rubber-stamped US$8.5 million in estate commissions to him without seeking legally required findings to justify the large awards. The Court said his actions demonstrated “a shocking disregard for the very law that imbued him with judicial authority”. The New York Daily News reported on 30 June that the Court had rejected “with apparent disdain” Feinberg’s defense that he hadn’t read the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act and was “simply ignorant of his judicial responsibilities”. How do you make it to the bench without realising that ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law?

Prospective juror charged with contempt

Potential juror Stephen Caruso’s blunt honesty led him into deep water recently. During the jury selection process he was asked by the judge if he thought he could be fair and impartial toward the defendant, who was on trial for kidnapping. Caruso said no, he wouldn’t. The New York Times reported that Caruso said “I have been held up three times at gunpoint. I am already looking at him, I think he is a scumbag”. Caruso said he was just being honest, but Supreme Court Justice William Wetzel has charged him with contempt of court, even after he tried to apologise for his actions.

According to a report on, Wetzel said Caruso had spoken in an “arrogant tone”, and had been escorted out of the courtroom “screaming at the top of his lungs”. Well, there’s nothing like a bit of verbal abuse to spice up a trial is there?

Lawyers Weekly Discover

Case of the fainting thief: solved

A Romanian man is in hospital after he attempted to steal a bike, but fainted in the owner’s arms when he caught up with him. The owner saw the thief take off with his bike in the village of Dorobanti in Arad county, and gave chase. Police spokeswoman Camelia Tuduce said: “The poor thief got so scared he fainted in the arms of his victim. He couldn’t even speak a word.” She said the police would wait for the thief to recover before they charged him.

Reason enough to hang around

A 98-year-old Italian woman has been told she has to wait five years for a boundary dispute with her neighbours to go to court. Amalia Cuccioletti from Macerata began legal action in 1997 but has been told she is unlikely to get a hearing before 2010. Her lawyers have said that even if Cuccioletti was not around to see the case resolved they would work on it until the end. “Our client wants moral satisfaction and to win the case. We would continue it even without her,” they said.

Reverse progress

UK High Court judge, Sir Hugh Laddie, has announced he is going to step down from the bench and join IP specialists Willoughby and Partners after 10 years as the senior judge of the Patents Court. Apparently he misses the “fun” of working as part of a team, but Folklaw wonders if he is suffering from a case of sentimentalised reality. After all, there must be some reason why no other judge has ever left the bench to join a law firm.

We beg your pardon

Folklaw was surprised to receive a letter recently stating that several items published in its hallowed pages had been derogatory to women, and that they ridiculed victims of sexual harassment. The letter pointed to three items: ‘Lawyer’s libido’, about an attorney accused of sexually harassing a client; ‘Case of the exploding boobie’ about a policeman who was so rough with a woman he arrested that her breast implant ruptured; and ‘Revenge of the what?’ about a strange man who was dressing up as Darth Vadar and exposing himself to unsuspecting (and completely uninterested) women.

Folklaw would like to clarify that in all these cases, the ridicule was pointed squarely at the men involved, and we all know it is alright to ridicule men. After all, they earn more than women, play rugby not netball, and are more likely to be promoted to top positions. With all these things going for them, men can afford to cop a bit of ridicule on the chin. We also want to assure you that we aren’t discriminating against men; we are willing to ridicule anyone who has done anything stupid — man, woman, child or animal and even ourselves.


So excited were they by winning the 2005 Australian Law Award for Information Technology, and placing as runner up in the Media and Entertainment category, Deacons hosted a cocktail party to celebrate its success. It’s good to see a bit of old fashioned ‘making merry’ taking place — and well deserved it is!

Folklaw 14 July
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