January, 2014

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Downton Abbey Sparks Interest In Property Law And Inheritance Rights – Forbes

Ancient property law and inheritance rights don’t often come up in conversation or popular television shows. But that’s what is happening now that the fourth season of the PBS series Downton Abbey is underway.  Due to the show millions of fans have been introduced to an arcane legal principle known as the fee tail and other aspects of British inheritance law.   Forbes has an interesting article on the phenomenon.

Downton Abbey’s Plot Twists Spur Lawyers’ Debates – Forbes.

Burned to Death by a Refrigerator — Strange But True

Courthouse News Service.  A North Carolina man burned to death when his Whirlpool refrigerator overheated to more than 1,000 degrees, his family claims in court.   Mr. Walker bought a Whirlpool refrigerator which had a defective heating element pin in its icemaker, according to the complaint.  A short occurred causing the fridge to overheat to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  The appliance began to smoke and activated the smoke alarm in Walker’s home.  When Walker saw smoke coming out of the fridge he opened the freezer door and the rush of oxygen generated a fireball which burned him severely.  He died later that day from his injuries.   The family alleges that major appliances cause about 150,000 house fires each year, resulting in 3,500 injuries, 150 deaths and more than $540 million in property damage.   It is important that product manufacturers be held accountable for such defective products.

Court Rules Craigslist Sperm Donor Owes Child Support

A Topeka man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple is the presumptive father to a baby one of the woman bore and is subject to paying child support, a Kansas District Court judge ruled recently.  Sounds like a fact pattern made up for a law school exam, but it is all too real for the donor.

Court: Marotta is a father, not merely a sperm donor | CJOnline.com.