Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools' Day!

If one of your classmates has been groaning about reading those 400 pages for your next class on Monday, double check the assignment before you take her word for it. Actually, she's probably not joking and you most likely do have to read 400 pages. But you might not, because it is April 1!

Even Supreme Court Justices are not above a little bit of April foolery: Chief Justice William Rehnquist once put a life-size photo of Chief Justice Warren Burger on the the front steps of the Supreme Court Building with a sign asking tourists to pay $1 to get a picture with the Chief Justice. Then he then drove the Chief Justice by those steps so he could see his reaction to this prank. (S. Doc 109-7, p. 18).

It is probably not a surprise that more than one April Fools' Day joke has become the subject of a court case. Westlaw listed some last year. A couple other cases:

Dow Jones & Co., Inc. v. Harrods Ltd. 346 F.3d 357 (2d Cir. 2003): "To the question “What is in a joke?”, this lawsuit gives a decidedly wooden answer: a federal case."

In re Schivo, 462 B.R. 765 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2011): The court held that the attorney failed to act as reasonably competent attorney, partly because he filed a motion to reopen based solely on April 1st press release which, among other things, stated that President Bush was expected to sign a new law while aboard AirForce One. A good reminder to make sure you perform competent research!

Feel free to send us other entertaining April Fools' Day cases or stories. And check out this Gallagher page for more examples of judicial humor!

[Image is the 1996 Taco Bell April Fools' Day prank]

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