April, 2015

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Top 10 Wackiest Wills in the United Kingdom

A London-based team of genealogy researchers have reviewed around 200,000 wills in the United Kingdom and have made a list of the wackiest.  Normally a last will and testament is not the place you would look for humor, but these researchers have discovered some funny stuff.

Of particular note is the will of Albert Orton who cut his wife out of his will because she apparently called him “a rotten old pig” as the result of his flatulence.  The insult cost the widow a small fortune as she was left with just one farthing (a farthing is a former coin of the U.K. that was worth a quarter of an old penny).

Then there was Kenneth Gibson’s will in which he left his stepdaughter “the price of half a pound of sausages,”  apparently because she claimed that her late mother had not paid her for the sausages.  She must have complained long and hard about not being paid for that meat, but she got the money in the end and may have lost a lot more.

Frank Smith apparently did not like his son-in-law much, as he pledged all his possessions to his daughter – as long as she left her “immoral husband.”

Another man left £26,000 to Jesus Christ, but only provided that his identity could be established.  I am not sure how you could prove that in court, or why Jesus Christ would need the cash.

For more information, see the story in the Birmingham Mail:

Widow loses inheritence for criticising husband’s FLATULENCE – and other wacky wills – Birmingham Mail.

Can asbestos cause Hodgkin’s lymphoma? Ohio court finds that it does.

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Driver who kicked out drunken friend is liable for 3rd-party hit-and-run death

What duty do you have to a drunk and belligerent passenger in your car?  Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal has recently held that a driver has a duty of care to all passengers in their car.

The facts were that John Cefalu traveled to New Orleans with four friends to celebrate his birthday.  It probably goes without saying, but there was alcohol involved in the celebration in New Orleans.  One of his friends, Piero Larrea, apparently got quite drunk and had to pulled away from a fight that was brewing in the club where they were partying.  When they piled into the car for the drive home, Larrea complained that his friends didn’t “have his back” at the club.  Larrea continued “acting up” during the drive, at one point asking to be let out of the car with one of the others so they could fight.  Larrea even grabbed the arm of Cefalu while he was driving.  So Cefalu kicked him out of the car and left him by the side of the road.  Larrea died in a hit-and-run accident shortly after Cefalu pulled away.  The driver who hit him was never found.

Sued by Larrea’s father, Cefalu was found liable for 28 percent of a $317,000 wrongful death award.  The appeals court affirmed the jury verdict, reports Courthouse News.

Although Cefalu argued that he had no special duty to get his friend home safely because Larrea interfered with his driving by grabbing his arm, the Court of Appeals said Cefalu owed a duty of care to both Larrea and the other passengers in the car. The court also rejected an argument by Larrea’s father that the jury erred by holding the hit-and-run driver 18 percent responsible. Larrea himself was accountable for the other 54 percent.

Appeals court: Driver who kicked drunken friend out of his car is liable for 3rd-party hit-and-run.