Three teenagers in Bautzen, Germany, will have to pay less than $200 in costs after a court ruled that the ostrich farmer who sued them could not prove that they had caused his prize breeding ostrich, Gustav, to become impotent.
Ladies and gentlemen, only here, perhaps, will you find such intensive and continuing coverage of these most important cases of our day.
As you may recall from prior coverage, Rico Gabel had sued the teens alleging that the fireworks they set off near Gustav had caused him stress, rendering the "previously lustful Gustav apathetic and depressed" and unable to perform. Gabel calculated his damages according to the number of offspring Gustav allegedly would have generated during the six-month outage, had he been able to perform up to his previously lustful standards.
But when the case went to trial in March (and I assume the proceedings were not continuous, because I don’t see how it takes three months to try an ostrich-impotency case), the court called its own expert who did not support the farmer’s claim. Expert Christoph Kistner testified that while ostriches do become stressed upon hearing loud noises, he did not believe there was a connection between the stress and the infertility since there is no evidence that stress affects ostrich sperm production. The report did not explain whether this hypothesis has been tested — and if it has, I’d very much like to know how — but the judge accepted the testimony and ruled against the farmer.
The teens will have to pay his vet bills, presumably for the stress they caused Gustav, but not the nearly $7,000 in lost-offspring damages that Gabel was seeking.
Link: Houston Chronicle