Lawyer’s Pants on Fire, Burning Iced Coffee, Bed Bugs That Kill

This week’s legal news of the weird:

On March 9, 2017 a Florida defense attorney’s pants caught on fire during his closing argument in an arson case.  As defense lawyer Stephen Gutierrez, 28, argued to the jury that his client did not intentionally set a car on fire, an e-cigarette battery in his pocket began to smolder.  No word yet on whether the jury was persuaded by the defense.

Beware relatives offering pest control services.  A Minneapolis man who murdered his mother may receive the proceeds from her life insurance policy.  Michael Gallagher believed that his 89 year old mother’s bed was infested with bed bugs.  According to Gallagher, the only way to spare her the pain of eviction was to “send her to heaven.”  Because he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, Gallagher is eligible under Minnesota law to be the beneficiary of his mother’s life insurance policy.

Finally, a California lawyer was fined $250 for throwing iced coffee on her opposing counsel during a deposition in an artificial intelligence case, Loop AI Labs Inc. v. Gatti.  After the opposing counsel, Thomas Wallerstein, told Valeria Calafiore Healy twice to “be quiet” during a deposition, Healy through her cup of iced coffee across the table toward Wallerstein.  Although the judge did not accept that Wallerstein had suffered burns from the coffee, as his wife allegedly stated, he did award Wallerstein $250 for damage to his property.   The question of artificial intelligence remains: will the lawyer robots of the future pitch similar tantrums?

© 2017 Clark Stith

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