Friday, February 22, 2008

Courting trouble

A tourist asks me what my greatest fear is. I reply that I live in dread of being sued for damages. At least being eaten by a predator is over fairly quickly. These legal disputes can drag on for ever while rapacious lawyers feed on your liquid assets like leeches. Thankfully, no one would waste time pressing a suit against me in the Congo, because the chief justice of the supreme court is pretty much in my pocket. I’ve been in his good books ever since he sent his wife to us for a rigorous programme of jungle aerobics. The exercises we made her do had the benign side-effect of tightening up her coochie, which reputedly put a permanent smile on the old bugger’s face.

This ugly business of suing people first came to my notice in England, when I was employed by the circus. I read about an actress winning a tidy sum from a newspaper which wrote she had “a big bum”. I was horrified by this. I must have said the same thing about at least a dozen women – and meant it as a compliment more often than not. When I mentioned this ignoble occurrence to a clown, he opened his mouth and licked his teeth like a lizard. “The English libel laws are like cunnilingus,” he quipped, “one slip of the tongue and you’re in the shit.”

Libel is less of a worry in America because their constitution permits you to talk utter crap to anyone who’ll listen. What you have to worry about there is people claiming – on the flimsiest evidence – that you are responsible for some mishap they suffered. I almost fell foul of this custom when touring there with the circus. We had just finished a show in New York and I decided to spend my day-off watching a baseball match at Shea Stadium. As I hurried to the ticket office, I accidentally bumped into an enormously fat woman who had crossed my path. Luckily, I managed to check myself sufficiently to avoid knocking her over, but she did wobble a fair bit. She was being escorted by an equally gross and exceptionally evil-looking fellow, whom I took to be her husband.

“Watch where yer goin’ yer big hairy baboon!” he snarled.

“Are you addressing me or your wife?” I asked in reply, seeking clarity on the facts before commenting on his outburst.

This perfectly straightforward question caused him to swing his fist wildly at me. Fortunately, I managed to intercept the blow with my head, which caused him to drop to his knees and bleat like an injured moose, clutching his hand in agony. It turned out that he’d broken several bones, but he could hardly blame me for that. Or so I thought. A month later, when we were giving a show in San Francisco, a letter was delivered to us by courier. It was from a legal firm representing the man and presented a list of grossly-inflated compensation demands. These items included medical expenses, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress counselling, loss of earnings and cosmetic surgery (for both the man and his wife).

The ringmaster wanted to take legal advice, but I argued strongly against it. I told him to leave the matter in my hands and let me bear the consequences. All I did was return the letter to sender after writing the following sentence at the bottom with a fountain pen:

The demands made in this communication are frivolous and without merit.

I never found out what the denouement was, because we left the country a week later. As a precaution, however, I arranged for all my US assets to be transferred to Dr Whipsnade’s name.

These wretched lawsuits seem to get sillier and sillier. The latest one that made me want to thump my chest was a claim for $6 million by an exhibitionist street performer who calls himself “The Naked Cowboy”. He alleges trademark infringement by a maker of confectionaries that used the nude cowpoke motif in an advertisement. This is preposterous. If a man can copyright stripping off his clothes and putting on a cowboy hat, the law is an ass with carrot up its backside. How I wish someone would find an old photo of Wyatt Earp in the buff to prove that this bare-bodied busker was not the originator of his cockamamie modus operandi. The living descendants of Mr Earp could then sue Billy the Nekkid for the very transgression he accuses others of. “Let every poisonous snake enjoy a dose of its own venom,” as we say in the jungle.

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Praise Jeebus! Am I first? (Look! You very amazing post hath caused me to exercise the shift key!)

Really, this is one of your best!

Nekkid cowboy, indeed!

(and as someone with not a lot of junk in her trunk, I agree: suggesting that a lady has a big bum sounds kind of nice)
“one slip of the tongue and you’re in the shit.”

These legal disputes can drag on for ever while rapacious lawyers feed on your liquid assets like leeches.

True, of course, but we lawyers need to eat, too.

Yet, I believe I am on the side of the angels inasmuch as I defend against the frivolous. My favorite to date: Defending a driver who struck a pedestrian. On a highway in the middle of a dark night, where the pedestrian was underage, drunk, and mooning passing motor vehicles.

Well the man is on a hiding to nothing. Some years back my husband stumbled across a photo at his brother's house that clearly showed his ex-wife naked with a cowboy hat on.

I should maybe contact her to settle this.

Actually, what fun that would be!
This made you want to Thump your Chest?
Would you thump your chest if I were naked with only a cowboy hat on? ;-)
Goodness me I'd love to be insulted and then I could sue. Do you remember in 1992 The Sun accused Coronation St actor Bill Roache of being as boring as his character Ken Barlow. Roache then sued for libel and was awarded £50,000 damages? Way to go Bill!
Back in 1986, Rock Hudson's ex-lover sued his estate for some phenomenol amount of money -- I think it was in the millions -- for 'intentional infliction of emotional distress' because he claimed Hudson, aware that he had AIDs, had continued to have sex with him. He won. Shortly around this time, Union Carbide settled with the Bhopal chemical spill victims and their families -- a tiny pittance for each individual. (Though I'm sure that Union Carbide did not think so.) It really made me think.

For what it's worth, some of us Americans don't have the litigation bug. I stepped into a hole in the pavement downtown and bashed my knee up the other day and I won't sue: it was my own damn fault.
this dude broke into my mates home last year and my mate punched him a couple of times and held him for police

he was later charged with assault
So not fair! When I was there in Dec. naked cowboy dude wasn't there. Apparently it was too cold. Maybe he was just scared by shrinkage...
Woah, hold up there cowboy. I wish to stress the point that the 'naked cowboy' is not actually naked at all, he's wearing pants and boots in fact and actually can I just reiterate how jolly disappointed I am that he even dares to call him naked when all the best bits are hidden away. I wish to sue ! Any lawyers out there want to take my case, we could make a tidy fortune I feel!
I remember some one having sued a fast-food chain because she accidently spilled coffee on herself.

I can't help wondering whether my divorce would have gone more smoothly if I'd responded, "The demands made in this communication are frivolous and without merit" and then left the country.
Liv: Why thank you, Miss Purdy. I'd sure like to help you pack that trunk of yours.

Joanne: It's one of the few quips I've heard from a clown that was worth repeating.

Randall: I hope you pointed out what an idiot the fellow was for mooning at night. Does he think his white butt shines in the dark?

Missy: That's a funny sort of photo to leave lying around. I hope your brother-in-law doesn't have unresolved anger issues...or perhaps it was an affectionate memento?

Janooni: I would hand you a robe...after first giving you a rubdown.

Emma: I wouldn't have given him a penny until he proved he wasn't boring. Make him perform in a cowboy hat and briefs for his cash.

Mary: I remember that the money-grubbing tyke tested negative for HIV, so for all we know they were practising safe sex.

Kiki: I hope the jury acquitted him.

Naughty Girl: You're so naughty! I feel like spanking you whenever you leave a comment.

Mzungu Chick: Heh, I was waiting for someone to complain about that! I would certainly contribute to your legal fund, Miss Chick. You never deserve less than the full monty.

Sidhu: They should have offered her a free apron and bib.

Kyknoord: Maybe it would. It's a good way of summarising pages of legal argument.
I think the fountain pen did the trick. America is yet to get over the beauty of a well written sentence.
how about a nekkid photo of the japing ape?
This post is full of gems it's difficult to know where to start! You are such a gripping raconteur.

So he was outdone by an M&M. Big blow to a hunk of a man with an ego to match. Maybe the M&M was a bit more well-endowed.
I love your riposte to the nasty couple!
> “The English libel laws are like cunnilingus,” he quipped, “one slip of the tongue and you’re in the shit.”
Ohhh...! You are SOoooo witty, gorilla! (I'd NEVER have thought of this :-))
I think I might have taken the wrong message from but does it mean that I can sue people by getting naked? Only I am a bit broke right now and am willing to hug people naked in the street if thats what it takes...
Panu: Do you think so? Then I hope it was a good substitute for monetary compensation.

Nursemyra: Are you suggesting I shave my body, Nursie?

Clea: Many thanks, Clea. The man is vain, no doubt about it. I bet he thinks every woman wants to squeeze his buns.

Pi: I thought I was quite civil in the circumstances!

Eve: Well thank-you, Eve, but the credit really belongs to the clown. I try to avoid anatomical comparisons of that kind.

Mutley: Nudity has already been done - you'll have to think of something else to trademark.
The world has gone mad, Mr Bananas. Whatever next? If a gorilla in captivity (or indeeed one in the jungle) was to be found with a pen (or even a keyboard) would you sue? No, I'm sure you would not. Money-grabbing, ridiculous men like that nekkid cowboy deserve nothing other than that for which they legitimately work.

Just my humble opinion *blush* x
Im with Joanne on the one slip of the tongue. Im afraid I lost the plot of the post a bit after that. Can I sue for emotional disturbance?
nix to the shaving!

body hair traps the aroma of pheronomes

pheromones make me weak with desire
It's friday night and i fully intend to sue the manufacturers of the rose wine that i am consuming by the pint.

It's entirely their fault that i shall wake up tomorrow with a mouth like a parrot's arse and a head like an inflamed testicle. I expect to get at least 50 million. Wish me luck.
YOu sound suspiciously like a lawyer!!!!!
Not every lawyer is a poisonous snake that should be stapled to the trunk of a swamp tree with a crossbow; just the tort lawyers. The others are simply glorified bus conductors, necessary functionaries in any modern bureaucracy; a bit like naked cowboys. Of course, as a precaution, we should defang them all with pliers and sew their ugly, barbed tongues to the roof of their mouths with tungsten thread.

I think CBS should sue George Bush. Bumbling Buffoon Lackey has sooo been done already by Roscoe P. Coltraine.
Kitty: You are so right, Kitty, lawsuits are not how gorillas settle their disputes.

Mrs Cake: I'm sorry you were distracted by the tongue, Mrs Cake, for there were other points for you to probe.

Nursemyra: I can imagine you with desire, Nursie, but not weak with it.

Asym42: You haven't a leg to stand on, my dear fellow.

Ms Ubermouth: Whatever gave you that idea? I'm more of a wigless judge, really.

Hammer: There is much in what you say, but I would advise against touching a lawyer's tongue.

Sam: Boss Hogg was my favourite.
Word has it that cowboy pulls down a six figure salary, which I would think to be sufficient remuneration for most - especially when one needs not factor in a sock budget.

What a delicious comeback you delivered to that oafish buffoon.
One slip of the tongue and you're in the shit

I had a rather large, and by large I mean blimps, sit down and ask me "Would this sandwich be big enough to split between us?"... I promptly said "Are you kidding me? If you ordered the whole menu it wouldn't be enough for you two to split."

The fat asses called my boss immediately and complained. While laughing his ass off, my boss fired me... because it was his fat assed sister. Whatever. That was many years ago. Now a days when I'm asked such questions I simply say "Well, our sandwiches are really really tiny."

It's easier for them to hear about tiny sandwiches rather than fat asses. Take it from me.
I think Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren ought to kiss and make up, then sue the chaps off this Wyoming degenerate. He's clearly using their naked cowboy t-shirt idea, but simply dropping the "t-shirt" part and maximising the "naked cowboy" element.

See example here, on sale from a Lashkar:
Naughty Girl: You must have had a few, young madam.

Mosha: I suppose 200,000 per annum is not a lot when you believe you're a superstar. I hope he's paying hefty legal fees so he loses his metaphorical shirt as well as real one.

Native Minnow: Clowns love to think that they're hilarious. On rare occasions they are.

Upset Waitress: Maybe you're in the wrong job. That story could be a scene in a comedy pilot.

Mr Boyo: One of the blokes on that t-shirt seems to be naked from the waist down and the boots up, which is an interesting reversal of the New York concept.
There was a case a few years back of a woman suing a guy because of the distress and mental anguish suffered when she saw him having an epileptic fit. Absolutely fucking crazy.
If he's one of those two that was up bareback mountain he's only good for carrying my handbag. But I'll let Tarquin know.
They say one in ten adult Americans have law degrees, and they also say that 10% of men are homosexual, so it's a scary thought that any lawyer you get over there is almost bound to be gay. In the Bay Area the probability is even higher, I'm told - and they'll certainly be bound, some even during office hours. Same sort of caper in the jungle, Japers?
As a descendant of Adam and Eve, and as an ecydisiast, I shall be suing that cowboy fella for infringing my copyright.

Binty: I hope she lost. There was another case where a man sued himself after seeing his ugly face in the mirror. They settled out of court.

Lady Daphne: That would be letting him off too easy, milady. He ought to carry you as well.

Ulaca: Witch-doctoring is the favoured profession for gifted homosexuals in my neck of the woods. Lawyers are not respected unless they have at least two mistresses, which rules out the gays.

Glamourpuss: That cowboy's ecdysing looks very half-arsed to me. You should sue him for making a hash of it as well.
The best Englishman when it comes to libel is former Tory MP and spy-book author Rupert Allason. I mention him because not only has he brought nearly twenty cases of libel against various people or companies, but in 1998 a court ruled that it was not libel for a BBC show to describe him as "a conniving little shit". Essentially the court found that statement to be quite accurate. That had to sting a little.
Vulgar abuse and statements of opinion should never be considered libelous. The very fact that he sued highlights the problems with the law in England.
The whole restaurant industry is one big joke. If you only knew. Unfortunately gorillas are too hairy to sit down in a public dining establishment. Which is a load of bat shit in my eyes. I'd rather serve a hairy ape any day. And dogs? Well most dogs act like their owners.

Wait.....don't monkeys throw around their poo? Still.
We gorillas are easy to serve. Just throw me a grapefruit and I'll squeeze the juice into a beaker. The skin and pulp I'll eat, the juice is your tip.
These items included medical expenses, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress counselling, loss of earnings and cosmetic surgery (for both the man and his wife).

You're lucky "loss of consortium" wasn't also included, although judging by the lass' looks, maybe there wasn't a lot to lose.

The Naked Cowboy is all a bit silly. I'm surprised he didn't sue The Naked Cowgirl, although really, I could think of better things to do to her than sue.

...Like discuss the finer points of pastie application and possible nipple chaffing.
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