Lawsuits (Ridiculous)

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Why Donald Trump Is Wrong (This Time)

Donald Trump's lawyer should be quite pleased with himself, because most of us will never get the chance to say this kind of thing, no matter how long we practice law:

Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump's birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan.

As you've probably heard, Trump the Younger is mad at Bill Maher because Maher made fun of him on the Jay Leno show. Noting Trump's offer to give $5 million to charity if President Obama would release certain documents, Maher wondered why Trump wasn't being just as transparent. Specifically, why hadn't he ever released his own birth certificate to the public? What was he trying to hide? Maher then offered to pay Trump $5 million if Trump could prove he was not descended from an orangutan. (That particular speculation was linked to the color of Trump's hair, he said.)

O-TRUMP-570Never one to back down from a fight, no matter how stupid, Trump said he was taking Maher up on his offer. He sent Maher a copy of his birth certificate (right), accompanied by the lawyer's letter quoted above, and later sued when Maher did not pay up. "He made an absolute offer. I made an absolute acceptance," Trump opined. "I showed him documentation, and he owes me $5 million, which I'm going to give to charities."

Like so much of what the Trumpster says, this is wrong.

The Hollywood Reporter has a good analysis of why it's wrong. Basically, Maher didn't make an "absolute offer." He made a joke, and so there was nothing for Trump to accept. Of course, theoretically anybody who wanted to get out of a contract could say he was "only joking" when he made the offer, so the rule is that it's considered an offer if an "objective, reasonable person" would have viewed the statement as an offer. If so, then someone can accept it and form a contract.

Probably the best-known case on this is Leonard v. PepsiCo, in which a court rejected a high-school student's claim that Pepsi owed him a fighter jet.


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UPDATE: Birthers’ Record Is Worse Than I Thought

Last week I mentioned that the lawsuit (if you can call it that) filed against me, the President of the United States, and a number of other dignitaries by birther/dentist/lawyer Dr. Orly Taitz had been dismissed. I also mentioned having seen…


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Orly Taitz Now 0-158?

I saw a chart the other day that was said to contain information about every "birther" lawsuit that's been filed, and according to that chart, including appellate decisions the birthers' record is currently 0-157. I can't vouch for that number,…


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Orly Taitz Is Trying to Sue Me, I Think

The publicity would probably be good but she doesn't seem to be able to do it right. I occasionally write a column for Forbes.com, and a few months ago I wrote something about the nutballs who were then running in…


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The Money FunnyJunk.com Isn’t Getting

In a bag In funny shapes As I think I mentioned, Carreon dismissed his lawsuit against Matt Inman (The Oatmeal) the other day when it became clear he was likely to lose. There’s a good post on the whole saga…


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Carreon v. The Oatmeal: Plaintiff Continues to Dig [Updated]

As Popehat has already covered in detail here (see also Adam Steinbaugh), Charles Carreon has again escalated his frivolous lawsuit against Matthew Inman (creator of The Oatmeal), IndieGoGo, and two charities (the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Foundation). This…


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Carreon Complaint Amended, Still Odd

Internet darling Charles Carreon has already amended the complaint he filed just last week, and while it's not unheard of to file an amended complaint that quickly, it does tend to encourage the belief that maybe the initial filing was…


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The Guy Continues to Mess With The Oatmeal

Last week, I mentioned the fact that Matthew Inman, author of the hugely popular humor site The Oatmeal, had been threatened by a lawyer for a site called FunnyJunk.com after Inman dared to complain that FunnyJunk had copied and reposted many…


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Lawyer’s Defective-Breakfast Suit Dismissed

In one of the year's least-surprising results so far, Richard Katz's lawsuit against his health club has been dismissed. Katz sued The Setai Wall Street Club and Spa last year, alleging it had broken a promise to provide him with a…


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Plaintiff: This Soap Did Not Attract Women as Promised

From a Courthouse News report of new filings in February: Frank O_____, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. The Dial Corporation [et al.] No. 3:12-cv-361 (S.D. Cal. filed Feb. 9, 2012) Class action complaint for…