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Image  —  Posted: April 15, 2018 in Fun with words

“The babble of some people is like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing.” – Proverbs 12:18

Most people would not hesitate to classify legal writing as dull. Encountered probably only through a contract, a lease, a will, or some lawyer spouting jargon on a tv show, legal writing is hardly part of your everyday reading. I, on the other hand, am taking legal courses and reading write-ups of court cases is part of my daily life. I find every case can be an exciting story, however, some are so poorly written (by judges non-the-less) that it becomes a torturous exercise in just trying to uncover the most basic facts of the case. And it’s not so much that they use special vocabulary, “legalese”, to tell the story (I can always go to a law dictionary to resolve that), but the dry, uninteresting sentence structure definitely would not make the Times best seller list!

Then a gem of writing pops up unexpectedly amongst all the dullness. Not only did this judge write clearly, but he also wrote about the case with a sense of humor! A sense of humor, you say? Yes, with puns included. You see, the case was about the sale of a house and whether the buyer should be allowed to back out of the transaction (and get his down payment refunded) because he was not told that the house was “haunted”. The jist of the case is that the seller promoted her house (in Nyack, NY) for a house tour as a “haunted house”. She also had a write up in Reader’s Digest, and local press. However, both she and the real estate agent never mentioned to the buyer, who was from NYC that, allegedly poltergeists had been seen in the house. When the buyer found out, he was horrified and did not want the house.

Was the house really haunted? Well, nothing legal can prove that, but here are some of the phrases and puns that Justice Rubin used, when writing his opinion on the case ruling, that had me rolling with laughter:

“…no divination is required to conclude that it is defendant’s [seller’s] efforts in publicizing her close encounters with these spirits which fostered the home’s reputation in the community.”

“…in his pursuit of a legal remedy for fraudulent misrepresentation against the seller, plaintiff [buyer] hasn’t a ghost of a chance, I am nevertheless moved by the spirit of equity to allow the buyer to seek rescission [canceling] of the contract of sale and recovery of his down payment.”

He now even quotes William Shakespeare “ ‘Pity me not but lend they serious hearing to what I shall unfold’ (Hamlet, Act I, Scene V [Ghost]”

“…a very practical problem arises with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: ‘Who you gonna call?’ as a title song to the movie Ghostbusters asks. Applying the strict rule of caveat emptor [buyer beware] to a contract involving a house possessed by poltergeists conjures up visions of a psychic or medium routinely accompanying the structural engineer and Terminix man on an inspection of every home subject to a contract of sale. It portends that the prudent attorney will establish an escrow account lest the subject of the transaction come back to haunt him and his client – or pray that his malpractice insurance coverage extends to supernatural disasters.”

“…it cannot be said that she [seller] has delivered the premises ‘vacant’ in accordance with her obligation under the provisions of the contract rider.”

The judge ruled in favor of the buyer.

You can find out more about this case, which by the way has become known as the “Ghostbusters” case, by doing a Google search on “Stambovsky v. Ackley”

 

 

Quote of the Week

Posted: April 4, 2018 in Quotes
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“We are the hero of our own story.” –Mary McCarthy

Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman who went into labor and started shouting, “Couldn’t! Wouldn’t! Shouldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!”? She was having contractions!

When I was a kid, my teacher looked my way and said, “Name two pronouns.” I said, “Who, me?”

What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?
One has claws at the end of its paws, and the other is pause at the end of a clause.

Never leave alphabet soup on the stove and then go out. It could spell disaster.

Taken from Reader’s Digest “Laughter is the Best Medicine” 9/2017

Quote of the Week

Posted: March 15, 2018 in Quotes
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“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” – Zelda Fitzgerald

Fun with words

Posted: March 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

We say of lawyers who lose their official standing before the bar through some misdemeanor that they are “disbarred”. Similarly, priests are subject to the penalty of being “unfrocked”, the frock being their clerical dress.

For the sake of consistency, perhaps this theme should be carried out for other professions as well. Electricians could be: delighted; musicians: denoted; cowboys: deranged; models: deposed; judges: distorted; dressmakers: unbiased. As for office workers, if they misbehaved, they could be defiled. – from Liguorian Magazine, “Lucid Intervals”