- Divorcing Brooklyn couple has put up sheetrock wall dividing house into his and hers [L.A. Times, AP/Newsday]
- Boston Herald appeals $2 million libel award to Judge Ernest Murphy, whom the paper had portrayed as soft on criminals (earlier: Dec. 8 and Dec. 23, 2005) [Globe via Romenesko]
- Updating Jul. 8 story: Georgia man admits he put poison in his kids’ soup in hopes of getting money from Campbell Soup Co. [AP/AccessNorthGeorgia]
- Witness talks back to lawyer at deposition [YouTube via Bainbridge, %&*#)!* language]
- Prominent UK business figure says overprotective schools producing generation of “cotton wool kids” [Telegraph]
- State agents swoop down on Montana antique store and seize roulette wheel from 1880s among other “unlicensed gambling equipment” [AP/The Missoulian]
- “You, gentlemen, are no barristers. You are just two litigators. On Long Island.” [Lat and commenter]
- Some Dutch municipalities exclude dads from town-sponsored kids’ playgroups, so as not to offend devout Muslim moms [Crooked Timber]
- As mayor, Rudy Giuliani didn’t hesitate to stand up to the greens when he thought they were wrong [Berlau @ CEI]
- Australia: funeral homes, fearing back injury claims, now discouraging the tradition of family members and friends being pallbearers [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Asserting 200-year-old defect in title, Philly’s Cozen & O’Connor represents Indian tribe in failed lawsuit laying claim to land under Binney & Smith Crayola factory [three years ago on Overlawyered]
Ricky Lee Patterson had been seeking a $500,000 settlement from Cracker Barrel restaurant. “Prosecutors brought charges after an examination of the mouse found that it died of a fractured skull, had no soup in its lungs and had not been cooked – all of which suggested the rodent was dropped into the customer’s soup after it had died.” (AP, Sep. 14).
Headline of this Traverse City, Mich. tale says it all: “Man Who Put Dead Mouse in Burrito at Taco Bell Given Prison Time” (AP/FoxNews.com, Jun. 2). One word of advice: if you’re going to pull this kind of stunt, don’t use the kind of frozen mice that pet stores sell as food for snakes, at least not if anyone can testify to your having bought them.
Fickle finger of fate, cont’d: dissatisfied Wendy’s customer Anna Ayala drew a nine-year sentence while Jaime Plascencia, her boyfriend and the procurer of the severed digit, drew twelve years. “The two pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to file a false insurance claim and attempted grand theft with damages exceeding $2.5 million.” (“Chili Finger Couple Get Stiff Sentences”, AP/NBC San Diego, Jan. 18). Our previous coverage: Apr. 8, Apr. 9, Apr. 13, Apr. 20, Apr. 22, Apr. 27, May 16, Sept. 10.
“The Las Vegas man whose severed fingertip ended up in a cup of Wendy’s chili gave his mangled digit to a co-worker to settle a $50 debt — but had no idea it would be used in an alleged scheme to swindle the fast-food chain, the man’s mother said Tuesday.” (Alan Gathright and Meredith May, “Worker gave his finger to settle $50 debt”, San Francisco Chronicle, May 18)(see May 16, etc.).
San Jose police say the finger that Anna Ayala says she found in a bowl of Wendy’s chili (Apr. 27, Apr. 22, etc.) has now been identified; it belonged to a co-worker of her husband, James Plascencia, who lost it in the tailgate of a truck in an on-the-job accident. Authorities believe it then fell into the possession of Mr. Plascencia. (Dan Reed, Linda Goldston and Chuck Carroll, “The jig is up”, San Jose Mercury News, May 14; “Worker: Finger found in chili severed in tailgate”, AP/CNN, May 15).
Anna Ayala was arrested late last night, and San Jose police will hold a press conference at 1 this afternoon to announce charges–bad timing for Wendy’s, since this means that the exoneration from a month of bad publicity from a finger supposedly found in its chili that has substantially hurt its sales in California and Las Vegas will take place in the Friday evening news cycle. Previous entries: Apr. 9 and Apr. 20.
There are ways, claims Mary Roach in the San Francisco Chronicle, channelling Walter Sobchak. (“Fingering the finger”, Apr. 18 (via Romenesko)). “I would put good money on the digit hailing from someplace other than the hand of a meat or tomato or onion processor who works in a plant that processes ingredients for Wendy’s. People who work in processing plants do not have long, well-groomed fingernails. Long nails are against the rules in these plants.” Scott Herhold of the San Jose Mercury News is reminded of a 1987 hoax involving a finger that wasn’t. (“1987 finger mystery just a lot of tripe”, Apr. 17). Earlier entries: Apr. 9 and link therein.