Titanic Legal Battles

Town Sues All Its Citizens

Technically, just all the registered voters, but since 61 of the 65 residents are registered, it's almost the same thing. The April election in Montezuma, Colorado, was controversial to begin with because it was the first contested election in more…

Bieber Faces Felony Egging Charge

According to the L.A. Times, the Biebster is one of eight people who were detained this morning while police searched his home, allegedly looking for evidence showing who egged his neighbor's house last Thursday. This is ridiculous for lots of…

Springfield’s Buttocks Surface; Plaintiff’s Lawyer Comments

Updating an important story from last week (see "Mistrial Declared in Rick Springfield's Buttocks-Assault Case" (Nov. 20)), two new developments. First, The Picture has been released to the media: To be specific, this is the picture the plaintiff claims she took…

South Dakota v. Fifteen Impounded Cats

In this case—now also appearing on the Comical Case Names page—the Supreme Court of South Dakota grappled with legal issues arising from an officer's decision to impound fifteen cats he found roaming around a woman's car. South Dakota v. Fifteen…

The Dude Who Went to Pizza Court

Hear Nebraska is a nonprofit group that says it "strives to make the state [Nebraska] a globally recognized cultural destination," and while that's probably more of a long-term goal there is some great stuff on its website right now. This…

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.