Browsing Category



Melbourne man wrecks father’s Ferrari



Expensive mistake … a man who wrecked his father’s Ferrari makes a call after the smash.
Photo: Channel Nine

Matthew Burgess
May 5, 2008 – 1:48PM

It’s no fun calling dad after crashing his car – but it’s worse when you’ve just wrecked his rare Ferrari.

A Melbourne man had to make that call on Saturday night after destroying the front-end of his father’s ‘Italian Stallion’ in a very costly smash near Rod Laver Arena.

The front of the red sports car, which police said had been speeding, finished wrapped around a pole in the spectacular accident, which took place on Batman Avenue.

The Ferrari is a limited edition F360 Challenge Stradale.

The F360 Challenge Stradale was built to order, imported in 2004 and was worth more than $396,000 at the time.

It is understood just 16 were imported into Australia and New Zealand.

Television news crews filmed the apparently unhurt driver of the Ferrari ringing home, while the vehicle’s male passenger was taken to hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The Nine Network last night reported the luxury car had suffered “extensive front-end damage”.

Copyright © 2008. The Age Company Ltd.


Fees going up in area schools

Budget deficits prompt students to pay more for activities

 April 14, 2010|By Tara Malone, Tribune reporter

Thousands of Illinois students will pay more next year to log on to classroom computers, play in the band or suit up for sports as many cash-strapped schools raise their participation fees.

Faced with dwindling state revenues and property taxes, dozens of local districts have cut expenses and laid off teachers. Now many are asking students to pay more when they register for class or sign up for after-school programs that were free a generation ago — driving up the cost of a public education at a time when many families can least afford it.

School officials say they have nowhere else to turn.

“This is going to be a hardship for some people,” said spokesman Tom Hernandez of Plainfield School District 202. “But this is one of the few, the very few revenue sources that we have any control over.”

People tend to think of public education as being free. But for years Illinois children have paid extra to participate in sports, learn to drive or rent textbooks. They could pay even more next year in schools caught in a financial squeeze.

“We’re looking at a dire situation,” said Michael Jacoby, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Faced with a $44 million budget deficit, Elgin-based School District U-46 officials plan to more than double the cost of participating in a high school sport, to $150, increase the instructional fee from $100 to $125, charge an extra dollar for student IDs and require $19 per semester for photography, science lab and industrial arts classes, for instance. Several fees climbed at the grade school level too.

It was the first increase in five years.

Without the fee hikes, additional programs and courses might have been cut, said Greg Walker, assistant superintendent for secondary education. Elgin, the state’s second-largest district, laid off a quarter of its work force, including 732 teachers, last month.

“To operate (programs) at no cost to students, there would be a 100 percent burden on the district. You can’t operate at a loss and continue to move forward,” Walker said.

In Downers Grove Community High School District 99, families will pay more to watch high school games and school events when the cost of an activity pass rises from $60 to $75. Students will pay an extra $25 to park on campus, bringing the fee to $175. Sports will cost an additional $10 and yearbook another $5, according to district spokeswoman Faith Behr.

The increases are expected to net $245,700.

“It was seen really as a way not to make as many cuts into the programs,” Behr said.

Gurnee parent Ken Detina will pay $260 to register his twin boys in third grade next fall. He paid $150 when they enrolled in second grade.

Woodland School District 50 increased registration fees and bumped up the price of a hot lunch by 40 cents. The north suburban district also cut $2.8 million from next year’s budget.

“Obviously nobody wants to pay more. But you have to,” said Detina, who sat on the financial advisory group that studied the district’s budget and recommended the higher fees.

Glenbrook High School District 225 officials held the line on transportation costs this year and even offered a discount to families with multiple children to ensure that all students can travel to school, said Hillarie Siena, assistant superintendent for business affairs.

Instead, the district reinstated a towel charge and material fee — $25.50 in all — that they had waived last year in deference to the economy.

As a rule, public schools are not money-making ventures. They may charge rent if people want to use the gym or sell advertising rights to a sports field. But other than asking voters to approve a tax-rate increase, public schools can do little to generate revenue.

Districts draw the bulk of their money from local real estate taxes. State law limits how much they can increase the property tax rate every year to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Last year, the rate of inflation stalled out at 0.1 percent.

Adding to the strain on schools is the $1.2 billion backlog of state payments owed to school districts for transportation, special education, early childhood and other costs, according to the Illinois Comptroller’s Office.

School officials acknowledge that fees are a tiny piece of their budget. But they are reliable when state funding is not.

“It’s not an extremely large revenue source, but it’s a targeted revenue source,” Jacoby said.

State law requires that schools make fee waivers available. Students who qualify for a free lunch are exempt from paying most other school-based fees. Many districts offer a payment plan for families who earn too much to qualify for help and too little to easily afford the charges.

“Only time will tell if people drop out” of activities, said Plainfield’s Hernandez. “We heard people in the community say ‘I’d rather pay a little more.’ ”

Students in the west suburban district next year will pay double to play with the school band, sing in the choir and compete in a high school sport. Fee raises could net an additional $1.2 million for a district that cut nearly $21 million in expenses.

On a recent morning, Plainfield Central High School band director Dan Valkema coached his class through a composition that drew on every French horn, oboe, chime and euphonium in the room. Students even experimented with water-filled wine glasses and a harmonic whirly — a hollow tube that makes sound when spun quickly.

But Valkema said he plans to buy fewer new instruments, repair rather than replace aging ones and travel to fewer out-of-state performances next year. In the past, students and booster clubs helped subsidize such costs.

“We have to be careful not to price students out of our activity,” Valkema said.

Sophomore Kelli Bergeson will pay $180 to study with the symphonic band and concert choir next year, up from the current, combined fee of $90.

The 16-year-old soprano who dreams of singing professionally shrugged off the added expense.

“It’s kind of disappointing that I have to pay more,” Bergeson said. “But I’ll be paying more to do something I love.”




Mob-Kin Breakup



Last Updated: 5:00 AM, October 18, 2007
Posted: 5:00 AM, October 18, 2007

It used to be that when you got engaged to the granddaughter of a mob boss, you stayed engaged – and you’d have to be really stunad to demand the ring back if you broke up.

But oh, how times have changed.

KuehnenRingA Manhattan man is suing the granddaughter of slain Gambino crime-family boss Paul Castellano to get back the $30,000 diamond ring he gave her when he popped the question last year.

Dean Kuehnen Jr. says that his relationship with Andria Castellano, 24, went sour in September, and that the wedding is now off.

And in a move that would make any goomba’s head spin, he decided to take the matter before a judge.

On Tuesday, he filed a suit against Andria in Manhattan Supreme Court.

He is demanding that she either fork over the ring, which he gave her two days before Christmas 2006, or that she give him the appraised value of the ring, $38,800.

According to the appraisal, the ring is made up of a 3.23-carat, emerald-cut diamond at the center and a spectacular setting that includes smaller stones. It was purchased in November 2006 from David S. Diamonds on West 47th Street.

Kuehnen, 32, said in his complaint that on Sept. 9 of this year, he broke it off with Andria. He claimed he immediately demanded the ring back, but she refused.

He complained that for weeks he called and asked for the ring, and that Andria threatened to sell it, according to the suit.

And while the law of the streets clearly dictate that a mobster’s granddaughter can do whatever she wants in a case like this, Kuehnen’s attorney says that the laws of New York state otherwise.

“In New York, the marriage is the consideration, and if you don’t have the marriage, you have to give the ring back,” said attorney Lara Ott.

Andria could not be reached for comment at her home in Bay Ridge. She is the daughter of Castellano’s daughter Connie and her second husband Joseph Catalanotti, who is now deceased.

Paul Castellano was gunned down outside the Sparks Steak House in Midtown in 1985, paving the way for John Gotti to seize control of the Gambino family.

Kuehnen said last night, “I have no comment at this time. This is a private family matter. It’s a personal matter.”;jsessionid=A9E2BDE66887D65529E8075C199C71F8



Acme Products

Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


From time to time, everybody falls off a cliff into the valley below, gets beaned by a falling piano, or gets blown up. It’s not fun. It’s embarrassing. But it’s a fact of life. And sure enough, you might just get a lump on the noggin and a splitting headache to boot. That’s why ACME introduces these painless pain-killers. ACME ASPIRIN helps rid you of piano pain, boulder brain, anvil migraine, and TNT aches! It’s a dangerous world out there. Shouldn’t it at least be painless?


Need to get there in a hurry? Always late to meals? Once again, we have come up with the solution to your sustenance problems by crossing medieval advancements with good old American know-how. THE COYOT-A-PULT can toss you over three canyons in less than five seconds–Fast enough to catch any roadrunner! Its rope has been braided for maximum tension–Perfect for launching a feral animal to new heights! And while no catapult can guarantee that it won’t smash you face-down into the ground, THE COYOT-A-PULT has Nev-R-SmashTm built in to minimize that risk.


No need to resort to the fisticuffs ever again with THE BOULDER PUNCH! You pull the string! But it sure doesn’t pull any punches! Upper-cut! Sucker punch! The old 1-2! These and many more are all yours with this marvelous contraption! THE BOULDER PUNCH is another first from ACME’s labs to you. As always, the bolts are heat-sealed for maximum integrity and many years of pugilism. And the boulder? Well, let’s just say it’s survived dinosaurs, two ice ages, and ACME’s tougher-than-time Product Quality Assurance folks.


We’ve all been there before: You’re on a cliff. Your enemy is standing in the valley below, but you’ve got nothing to drop on him! Sure you could use a safe or a piano, if there’s even one available. But wouldn’t it be nicer to maintain the natural beauty of the landscape by using a boulder? That’s why we’ve introduced DEHYDRATED BOULDERS for all of your gravity needs. These pocket-sized pebbles take on monumental proportions when immersed in water. And like all of our fine boulder products, these are aged for 30 million years for maximum hardness!


The ACME 100 Earthquake Pills are a great addition to any party. Just swallow a pill and feel the earth move! Want to dance but don’t know how?? ACME’s got the answer to this problem! The more pills you take….the bigger the earthquake you experience (it is however not recommended to swallow all the pills in one big gulp). Please read all the enclosed information closely before use. The ACME laboratories guarantee that these pills are absolutely harmless, and the effect is just temporarily.


If you’ve got to catch a roadrunner, friction is the last thing you want on the interstate. ACME brand AXLE GREASE will make even the fastest flightless birds slip and slide all over the road. But they won’t slip away from you! Just apply this high quality grease to a fifty foot strip on the highway and dinner is in the frying pan. You don’t even need cooking oil. Because nobody can guarantee that the occasional roadrunner won’t burn a strip through even the best grease, splashing it all over you, we’ve included our AXLE DEGREASER to clean your fur in just such an instance.


Want to put your enemy into orbit? Or are you just looking for a way to hold a particularly large pile of papers? Either way, ACME’sGIANT RUBBER BAND is what you need. Made from ACME brand vulcanized Rub-RTm this rubber band will never break or get brittle. ACME’s GIANT RUBBER BAND will give you wonderful years of making flightless birds fly!


Has roller disco lost its edge for you? Or are you just looking for an in

novative hunting tool? Whether you’re chasing or being chased, our ROCKET-POWERED ROLLER SKATES will get you where you’re going fast. PolyLeather bindings keep you standing up when the world’s going by at top speed! The wheels are made of highly-polished platinum for minimal friction. Okay, rocket-powered skates of the past were prone to lead the wearer over cliffs, causing for some mishaps. So, we’ve designed ours with Clif-A-VoidTm to keep this type of thing to a minimum.


Boing into action with ACME’s coiled secret weapon! Break new land-speed records without breaking a sweat! The SPRING-ON-A-BOULDER has been clocked faster than the fastest of roadrunners and Latin American mice. How did we make such a great product you ask? It wasn’t easy. It took about thirty million years and a couple of ice ages. But out patience paid off! We ended up with a boulder that’s tough enough to withstand the recoil and take much more over the years. And, the SPRING-ON-A-BOULDER features ACME’s patented The SPRINGTm to get you to your dinner fast!

Evolution didn’t design you for swooping downward? Or are you just itching for a new identity? Either way, ACME’s SWOOP COSTUME will have you soaring through the canyons and gullies in no time! Made from the highest quality polyester, it comes in lime green or fluorescent yellow. The wing are made of light-weight nylon and have a span of 50 feet across. And the mask guarantees your anonymity, whether you’re hunting or just taking in a little night life.


Evolution should not de the determining factor in what you eat for dinner. You may not be as fast as your pray, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to eat him! That’s why ACME introduces its HI-SPEED TONIC. Knock back a few gulps of this potion, and you’ll be speedier than the speediest of mice and faster than the fastest of roadrunners!

The ACME XL-0-2-200 a compact rocket car which will outrun any living creature, including the roadrunner. It accelerates from 0 to 200 in just under two seconds. The XL-0-2-200 is a (for safety purposes) track based vehicle and comes with 10 miles of straight track. Curved track can be bought separately at usual low rates. The XL-0-2-200 has an easy one fuse ignition (100 fuses included). For convenient braking it has a brake parachute which works through operation of a simple ripcord. The track is made up of 30 foot long pieces made of high-density steel. The crossbars are made of Canadian pine and come with their own lifetime guarantee*.  The XL-0-2-200 is made of the finest polyester and polyethylene. The outside of the vehicle is coated with Nev-R-Burntm epoxy resin to protect it against friction heat.

Order separately:
Left curve per piece: $100
Right curve per piece only $50



Acme Plaintiff

Opening statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, Counsel for the Plaintiff, Mr. Coyote

My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, “Defendant”), through that company’s mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. Sales slips made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the possession of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Workmen’s Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th he received of Defendant via parcel post, one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote was to use the Rocket sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon receipt of the Rocket Sled, Mr. Coyote removed it from its wooden shipping crate and sighting his prey in the distance, activated the ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars, the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force, as to stretch Mr. Coyote’s forelimbs to a length of approximately fifty feet.

Subsequently, the rest of Mr. Coyote’s body shot forward with a violent jolt, causing severe strain to his back and neck and placing him unexpectedly astride the Rocket Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due to a poorly designed steering system on the Rocket Sled and a faulty or nonexistent braking system. Shortly thereafter, the unchecked progress of the Rocket Sled brought it and Mr. Coyote into collision with the side of a mesa.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by Dr. Ernest Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple fractures, contusions, and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as a result of this collision. Repair of the injuries required a full bandage around the head (excluding the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on all four legs.

Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to support himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an aid to mobility one pair of Acme Rocket Skates. When he attempted to use this product, however, he became involved in an accident remarkably similar to that which occurred with the Rocket Sled. Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without caveat, a product which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two) to inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger safety. Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document, he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of Defendant: the Acme “Little Giant” Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a full listing, see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached deposition, entered in evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and spiraling downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down to the point of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb (Catalogue #78-832), climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote’s prey, seeing the birdseed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to detonate.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote’s careful preparations to naught, the premature detonation of Defendant’s product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:

1.Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.
2.Sooty discoloration.
3.Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.
4.Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and ashy disintegration.
5.Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff’s Exhibit D. Selected fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date, no explanation has been found for this product’s sudden and extreme malfunction. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high tensile strength and compressed in a tightly coiled position by a cocking device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase, when swift reflexes are at a premium. To increase the shoes’ thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote’s prey was known to frequent. Mr. Coyote put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness, his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time Mr. Coyote’s prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him. Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote well within range of the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and proceeded to pull the lanyard release.

At this point, Defendant’s product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote As the intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in air. Then the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first collision with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters falling upon his lower extremities. The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, whereupon Mr. Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote or both came into contact with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for some time.

The sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr. Coyote viz. flattening of the cranium, sideways displacement of the tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper torso causing Mr. Coyote to expand upward and contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit an off-key, accordion-like wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing nature of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote’s pursuit of a normal social life.

As the court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of manufacture and sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote’s work. It is our contention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the detriment of the consumer of such specialized products as itching powder, giant kites, Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much as he has come to mistrust Defendant’s products, Mr. Coyote has no other domestic source of supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our trading partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a situation, where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in the most reckless and wrongful manner over and over again.

Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of seventeen million dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual damages (missed meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one million dollars; general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million dollars; and attorney’s fees of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. By awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court will censure Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right of the individual predator to equal protection under the law.

The Case of Wile E. Coyote vs. Acme Products, Corp.

Opening statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, Counsel for Mr. Coyote, Plaintiff

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for Acme Products Corp., Defendant

Acme Rocket Sled

Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


Acme Defense

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for the Acme, the Defendant

Ladies and Gentleman of the jury: the opening statement you have just heard from Mr. Schoff on behalf of the plaintiff, Wile E. Coyote, paints an incomplete picture of what occurred on the occasions when Mr. Coyote claims he was injured by ACME products.   The evidence will clearly show that my client, ACME Products Corp., a Division of Dangerously Innovative Products and Patents Incorporated (or “DIPPI”) is not at fault in this matter, and that any injuries sustained by the plaintiff were clearly caused by his own negligence, assumption of the risk and/or misuse of the products.

Now, we have all seen the footage on television of the plaintiff withstanding various injuries which appear to be caused by ACME’s products. You have seen over and over the tape of a hapless coyote being bludgeoned by a boulder as he is helplessly trapped by his ACME Spring Loaded Shoes. We have all seen the photographs taken at Warner Memorial Hospital of Mr. Coyote in a very small incubator, on life support, as his doctors attempt to straighten out the accordion-like folds from his body. We have all seen the gruesome images of the operation in which Dr. Tazmanian D. Devil whirls like a dervish, obscuring his features and creating a starry, “dust cloud” effect, while numerous limbs holding various surgical instruments swiftly repair the nerve damage to Mr. Coyote’s extremities.

It is normal for any human being to feel pity, horror, and even anger at such images. I want you to put those images aside for the moment, because they paint an incomplete picture. What the media has not disclosed to you, and what you will see in this courtroom, are various attempts at murder committed by the plaintiff – attempts which, fortunately, failed – while using my client’s products. As the plaintiff readily admits, he is a predator, and his sole function in life is to track down and kill an innocent, highway traversing ornithoid.

You see, ladies and gentleman, while the plaintiff is a natural predator, he is not a very good one. His own skills were inadequate to complete the task at hand, so he chose to seek the aid of various devices to effectuate his diabolical schemes. He looked in a catalogue, saw my client’s products, and ordered them in the hope that they would assist him in killing his prey.

But, ladies and gentleman, ACME’s products are not meant to cause intentional harm to anyone. The plaintiff has taken what were designed as amusements, toys for the young and feebleminded, and has twisted their use to his own purposes.

But, I digress. Let us examine the plaintiff’s claims and how the evidence clearly refutes the proposition that ACME is responsible for any harm sustained by the plaintiff.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13 he received an ACME Rocket Sled, that he attempted to use said rocket sled to pursue his prey, and that, upon igniting the sled, it accelerated with “sudden and precipitate force as to stretch Mr. Coyote’s forelimbs to a length of fifty feet.”

There are several reasons why ACME cannot be held responsible for any injuries caused by this incident. First, the warning label attached conspicuously to the inside of the left front tire of the sled clearly stated, and I quote: “WARNING: IGNITION OF THIS DEVICE AT FULL THROTTLE MAY CAUSE SUDDEN AND PRECIPITATE FORCE AS TO STRETCH USER’S FORELIMBS TO A LENGTH OF UP TO SIXTY FEET, OR MAY CAUSE DEATH.” That the plaintiff suffered so little as a result of his carelessness can be attributed only to Providence.

Second, Arizona law is clear on this point: a plaintiff who is found to be violating any law whose purpose is safety at the time of his injury is contributorily negligent per se. There is ample evidence that Mr. Coyote was violating both the laws of gravity and inertia at the time of  this incident, and thus he is responsible for his own woes.

I could list many more examples of Mr. Coyote’s negligent conduct in connection with his use of ACME’s products, but you will hear all about them as the trial goes on. You will also hear the following evidence:

1.You will hear the plaintiff himself testify that, prior to the injuries complained of in this accident, he has suffered numerous injuries.  As an example, on one occasion prior to the use of any ACME product, the plaintiff cornered his prey on the edge of a rather thin precipice. Taking an ordinary saw, the plaintiff began cutting away so that the edge of the cliff, with his prey on it, would drop some 1500 feet to a jagged, rocky destruction. Instead, by some inexplicable twist of fate the edge of the cliff remained standing while the whole mountain, on which the plaintiff was standing, plummeted to the bottom of the ravine, causing numerous injuries which affect the plaintiff to this day.

On another occasion, Mr. Coyote was chasing his prey and followed it off of the edge of a cliff onto thin air, not realizing until too late that his prey, a bird, could remain in the air almost indefinitely while he, a canine, could not. As a result, he fell yet again, suffering even further severe and debilitating injuries which predate the injuries complained of in this action.

2.You will also hear the testimony of Mr. Road Runner, the plaintiff’s prey and the true victim in this tragedy. Mr. Runner has been forced to live a nomadic lifestyle as a result of Mr. Coyote’s unwanted attention, preventing him from forming any type of long term relationships. Numerous restraining orders had no effect. Mr. Runner has also suffered numerous psychological problems as a result of Mr. Coyote’s actions, including but not limited to an inability to trust anyone who provides him with bird seed, a necessary ingredient in his daily nutritional schedule.

3.You will also hear from a witness to many of the incidents alleged in plaintiff’s complaint, a colorful local prospector with red hair and mustache who has been known to proclaim: “No rootin’ tootin’ coyote can outsmart Yosemite Sam on any day of the week!”  Don’t be fooled by his gruff manner and twin pearl-handled six-shooters, he’s a pussycat.

4.Customer service records of defendant ACME, which we were forced to produce in this matter, clearly show that none of the complaints registered by ACME’s customers nation-wide have ever resulted in criminal convictions of the officers of the corporation.

5.Finally, videotape evidence will demonstrate that plaintiff faked many of his injuries, setting out to create performances especially for a jury such as yourself. On numerous occasions he would “mug” for the camera, as if he was well aware beforehand that he was being taped.

For instance, during the “Rocket Sled” incident, as his forelimbs were stretched out ahead of him and his body remained behind, he looked straight into the camera with a forlorn, tired expression, as if to say: “look at how terrible my situation is, can you guess what’sgoing to happen to me now.” This jury is too smart to fall for such petty theatrics.

In summary, ladies and gentlemen, it will be clear to you from the evidence that ACME’s products, if used properly, will cause only minimal injuries to a user and his loved ones. The plaintiff in this case has brought his troubles upon himself by adopting his carnivorous lifestyle. As others have so adequately uttered: “Live by the Super Slick Jet Propulsion Automated Explosive Metal-Shearing Heat-Seeking Laser-Guided Razor-Edged Boomerang, die by the Super Slick, etc.”

I ask you, on behalf of my client, to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against it.

The Case of Wile E. Coyote vs. Acme Products, Corp.

Opening statement of Arthur B. Fuddle, Esq., Counsel for Acme Products, Corp., Defendant


Some Other Products from Acme Products, Corp.


Week Thirteen: Second Exam

Theme Concept Readings Cases
Final Exam  
For Those of You
Who Are Graduating
 (Click on pic below –
This clip deals with your
second exam and


 Bill Murray






 (This clip is for
those of you who
want to
stay at
St. Thomas)
    SSJohnny(Click on the pic above –
Bruce Springsteen,
Southside Johnny,
Jon Bon Jovi,
Steven Van Zandt,
Max Weinberg and the
Max Weinberg Seven ”
“I Don’t Want
To Go Home”
at the Asbury
Hall 2003

















Week Ten: Agency and Employment

Theme Concept Readings Cases
Agency and Employment 















  MarilynMilianJudge Marilyn
Milian on
“The People’s
(Watch this clip of
Judge Marilyn Milian
as she talks to
a law student

“Whom am I
working for?”

Todd Rundgren
“Bang On The
Drum All Day”


(Click on the pic
above –
Is this how you
about work?)




















Chapters 22 – 23

Johnny Rivers
“Secret Agent


(Click on the pic
above –
What are






Lucy v. Zehmer




Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia

November 22, 1954.

196 Va. 493, 84 S.E.2d 516




This case concerns two Contrasting Theories of Contract Objective vs. Subjective.

Should the assent of the parties be actual mental assent so that there is a true “meeting of the minds” or should assent be determined only from objective manifestations of intent, namely what a party says and does rather than what he subjectively intends or believes or assumes. 

Under the objective theory, the mental assent and intent of the parties is irrelevant. The objective theory has been dominant. A party’s intention will be held to be what a reasonable person in the position of the other party would conclude his manifestation to mean.




For Educational Use Only

Eggleston, Buchanan, Miller, Smith and Whittle, JJ.

Suit to compel specific performance of land purchase contract claimed by defendant vendors to have been entered into as joke. The Circuit Court, Dinwiddie County, J. G. Jefferson, Jr., J., entered decree denying specific performance and dismissing suit and purchasers appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals, Buchanan, J., held that evidence showed that contract represented serious business transaction and good faith sale and purchase of farm, that no unusual circumstances existed in its making, and that purchasers were entitled to specific performance.

Reversed and remanded.

A. S. Harrison, Jr. and Emerson D. Baugh, for the appellants.

Morton G. Goode and William Earle White, for the appellees.

BUCHANAN, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

This suit was instituted by W. O. Lucy and J. C. Lucy, complainants, against A. H. Zehmer and Ida S. Zehmer, his wife, defendants, to have specific performance of a contract by which it was alleged the Zehmers had sold to W. O. Lucy a tract of land owned by A. H. Zehmer in Dinwiddie county containing 471.6 acres, more or less, known as the Ferguson farm, for $50,000. J. C. Lucy, the other complainant, is a brother of W. O. Lucy, to whom W. O. Lucy transferred a half interest in his alleged purchase.

The instrument sought to be enforced was written by A. H. Zehmer on December 20, 1952, in these words: ‘We hereby agree to sell to W. O. Lucy the Ferguson Farm complete for $50,000.00, title satisfactory to buyer,’ and signed by the defendants, A. H. Zehmer and Ida S. Zehmer.

The answer of A. H. Zehmer admitted that at the time mentioned W. O. Lucy offered him $50,000 cash for the farm, but that he, Zehmer, considered that the offer was made in jest; that so thinking, and both he and Lucy having had several drinks, he wrote out ‘the memorandum’ quoted above and induced his wife to sign it; that he did not deliver the memorandum to Lucy, but that Lucy picked it up, read it, put it in his pocket, attempted to offer Zehmer $5 to bind the bargain, which Zehmer refused to accept, and realizing for the first time that Lucy was serious, Zehmer assured him that he had no intention of selling the farmand that the whole matter was a joke. Lucy left the premises insisting that he had purchased the farm.

Depositions were taken and the decree appealed from was entered holding that the complainants had failed to establish their right to specific performance, and dismissing their bill. The assignment of error is to this action of the court.

W. O. Lucy, a lumberman and farmer, thus testified in substance: He had known Zehmer for fifteen or twenty years and had been familiar with the Ferguson farm for ten years. Seven or eight years ago he had offered Zehmer $20,000 for the farm which Zehmer had accepted, but the agreement was verbal and Zehmer backed out. On the night of December 20, 1952, around eight o’clock, he took an employee to McKenney, where Zehmer lived and operated a restaurant, filling station and motor court. While there he decided to see Zehmer and again try to buy the Ferguson farm. He entered the restaurant and talked to Mrs. Zehmer until Zehmer came in. He asked Zehmer if he had sold the Ferguson farm. Zehmer replied that he had not. Lucy said, ‘I bet you wouldn’t take $50,000.00 for that place.’ Zehmer replied, ‘Yes, I would too; you wouldn’t give fifty. ‘ Lucy said he would and told Zehmer to write up an agreement to that effect. Zehmer took a restaurant check and wrote on the back of it, ‘I do hereby agree to sell to W. O. Lucy the Ferguson Farm for $50,000 complete.’ Lucy told him he had better change it to ‘We’ because Mrs. Zehmer would have to sign it too. Zehmer then tore up what he had written, wrote the agreement quoted above and asked Mrs. Zehmer, who was at the other end of the counter ten or twelve feet away, to sign it. Mrs. Zehmer said she would for $50,000 and signed it. Zehmer brought it back and gave it to Lucy, who offered him $5 which Zehmer refused, saying, ‘You don’t need to give me any money, you got the agreement there signed by both of us.’

The discussion leading to the signing of the agreement, said Lucy, lasted thirty or forty minutes, during which Zehmer seemed to doubt that Lucy could raise $50,000. Lucy suggested the provision for having the title examined and Zehmer made the suggestion that he would sell it ‘complete, everything there,’ and stated that all he had on the farm was three heifers.

Lucy took a partly filled bottle of whiskey into the restaurant with him for the purpose of giving Zehmer a drink if he wanted it. Zehmer did, and he and Lucy had one or two drinks together. Lucy said that while he felt the drinks he took he was not intoxicated, and from the way Zehmer handled the transaction he did not think he was either.

December 20 was on Saturday. Next day Lucy telephoned to J. C. Lucy and arranged with the latter to take a half interest in the purchase and pay half of the consideration. On Monday he engaged an attorney to examine the title. The attorney reported favorably on December 31 and on January 2 Lucy wrote Zehmer stating that the title was satisfactory, that he was ready to pay the purchase price in cash and asking when Zehmer would be ready to close the deal. Zehmer replied by letter, mailed on January 13, asserting that he had never agreed or intended to sell.

Mr. and Mrs. Zehmer were called by the complainants as adverse witnesses. Zehmer testified in substance as follows:

He bought this farm more than ten years ago for $11,000. He had had twenty-five offers, more or less, to buy it, including several from Lucy, who had never offered any specific sum of money. He had given them all the same answer, that he was not interested in selling it. On this Saturday night before Christmas it looked like everybody and his brother came by there to have a drink. He took a good many drinks during the afternoon and had a pint of his own. When he entered the restaurant around eight-thirty Lucy was there and he could see that he was ‘pretty high.’ Hesaid to Lucy, ‘Boy, you got some good liquor, drinking, ain’t you?’ Lucy then offered him a drink. ‘I was already high as a Georgia pine, and didn’t have any more better sense than to pour another great big slug out and gulp it down, and he took one too.’

After they had talked a while Lucy asked whether he still had the Ferguson farm. He replied that he had not sold it and Lucy said, ‘I bet you wouldn’t take $50,000.00 for it.’ Zehmer asked him if he would give $50,000 and Lucy said yes. Zehmer replied, ‘You haven’t got $50,000 in cash.’ Lucy said he did and Zehmer replied that he did not believe it. They argued ‘pro and con for a long time,’ mainly about ‘whether he had $50,000 in cash that he could put up right then and buy that farm.’

Finally, said Zehmer, Lucy told him if he didn’t believe he had $50,000, ‘you sign that piece of paper here and say you will take $50,000.00 for the farm. ‘ He, Zehmer, ‘just grabbed the back off of a guest check there’ and wrote on the back of it. At that point in his testimony Zehmer asked to see what he had written to ‘see if I recognize my own handwriting.’ He examined the paper and exclaimed, ‘Great balls of fire, I got ‘Firgerson’ for Ferguson. I have got satisfactory spelled wrong. I don’t recognize that writing if I would see it, wouldn’t know it was mine.’

After Zehmer had, as he described it, ‘scribbled this thing off,’ Lucy said, ‘Get your wife to sign it.’ Zehmer walked over to where she was and she at first refused to sign but did so after he told her that he ‘was just needling him [Lucy], and didn’t mean a thing in the world, that I was not selling the farm.’ Zehmer then ‘took it back over there * * * and I was still looking at the dern thing. I had the drink right there by my hand, and I reached over to get a drink, and he said, ‘Let me see it.’ He reached and picked it up, and when I looked back again he had it in his pocket and he dropped a five dollar bill over there, and he said, ‘Here is five dollars payment on it.’ * * * I said, ‘Hell no, that is beer and liquor talking. I am not going to sell you the farm. I have told you that too many times before.”

Mrs. Zehmer testified that when Lucy came into the restaurant he looked as if he had had a drink. When Zehmer came in he took a drink out of a bottle that Lucy handed him. She went back to help the waitress who was getting things ready for next day. Lucy and Zehmer were talking but she did not pay too much attention to what they were saying. She heard Lucy ask Zehmer if he had sold the Ferguson farm, and Zehmer replied that he had not and did not want to sell it. Lucy said, ‘I bet you wouldn’t take $50,000 cash for that farm,’ and Zehmer replied, ‘You haven’t got $50,000 cash.’ Lucy said, ‘I can get it.’ Zehmer said he might form a company and get it, ‘but you haven’t got $50,000.00 cash to pay me tonight.’ Lucy asked him if he would put it in writing that he would sell him this farm. Zehmer then wrote on the back of a pad, ‘I agree to sell the Ferguson Place to W. O. Lucy for $50,000.00 cash.’ Lucy said, ‘All right, get your wife to sign it.’ Zehmer came back to where she was standing and said, ‘You want to put your name to this?’ She said ‘No,’ but he said in an undertone, ‘It is nothing but a joke,’ and she signed it.

She said that only one paper was written and it said: ‘I hereby agree to sell,’ but the ‘I’ had been changed to ‘We’. However, she said she read what she signed and was then asked, ‘When you read ‘We hereby agree to sell to W. O. Lucy,’ what did you interpret that to mean, that particular phrase?’ She said she thought that was a cash sale that night; but she also said that when she read that part about ‘title satisfactory to buyer’ she understood that if the title was good Lucy would pay $50,000 but if the title was bad he would have a right to reject it, and that that was her understanding at the time she signed her name.

On examination by her own counsel she said that her husband laid this piece of paper down after it was signed; that Lucy said to let him see it, took it, folded it and put it in his wallet, then said to Zehmer, ‘Let me give you $5.00,’ but Zehmer said, ‘No, this is liquor talking. I don’t want to sell the farm, I have told you that I want my son to have it. This is all a joke. ‘ Lucy then said at least twice, ‘Zehmer, you have sold your farm,’ wheeled around and started for the door. He paused at the door and said, ‘I will bring you $50,000.00 tomorrow. * * * No, tomorrow is Sunday. I will bring it to you Monday.’ She said you could tell definitely that he was drinking and she said to her husband, ‘You should have taken him home,’ but he said, ‘Well, I am just about as bad off as he is.’

The waitress referred to by Mrs. Zehmer testified that when Lucy first came in ‘he was mouthy.’ When Zehmer came in they were laughing and joking and she thought they took a drink or two. She was sweeping and cleaning up for next day. She said she heard Lucy tell Zehmer, ‘I will give you so much for the farm,’ and Zehmer said, ‘You haven’t got that much.’ Lucy answered, ‘Oh, yes, I will give you that much.’ Then ‘they jotted down something on paper * * * and Mr. Lucy reached over and took it, said let me see it.’ He looked at it, put it in his pocket and in about a minute he left. She was asked whether she saw Lucy offer Zehmer any money and replied, ‘He had five dollars laying up there, they didn’t take it.’ She said Zehmer told Lucy he didn’t want his money ‘because he didn’t have enough money to pay for his property, and wasn’t going to sell his farm.’ Both of them appeared to be drinking right much, she said.

She repeated on cross-examination that she was busy and paying no attention to what was going on. She was some distance away and did not see either of them sign the paper. She was asked whether she saw Zehmer put the agreement down on the table in front of Lucy, and her answer was this: ‘Time he got through writing whatever it was on the paper, Mr. Lucy reached over and said, ‘Let’s see it.’ He took it and put it in his pocket,’ before showing it to Mrs. Zehmer. Her version was that Lucy kept raising his offer until it got to $50,000.

The defendants insist that the evidence was ample to support their contention that the writing sought to be enforced was prepared as a bluff or dare to force Lucy to admit that he did not have $50,000; that the whole matter was a joke; that the writing was not delivered to Lucy and no binding contract was ever made between the parties.

It is an unusual, if not bizarre, defense. When made to the writing admittedly prepared by one of the defendants and signed by both, clear evidence is required to sustain it.

In his testimony Zehmer claimed that he ‘was high as a Georgia pine, ‘ and that the transaction ‘was just a bunch of two doggoned drunks bluffing to see who could talk the biggest and say the most.’ That claim is inconsistent with his attempt to testify in great detail as to what was said and what was done. It is contradicted by other evidence as to the condition of both parties, and rendered of no weight by the testimony of his wife that when Lucy left the restaurant she suggested that Zehmer drive him home. The record is convincing that Zehmer was not intoxicated to the extent of being unable to comprehend the nature and consequences of the instrument he executed, and hence that instrument is not to be invalidated on that ground. 17 C.J.S., Contracts, § 133 b., p. 483; Taliaferro v. Emery, 124 Va. 674, 98 S.E. 627. It was in fact conceded by defendants’ counsel in oral argument that under the evidence Zehmer was not too drunk to make a valid contract.

The evidence is convincing also that Zehmer wrote two agreements, the first one beginning ‘I hereby agree to sell.’ Zehmer first said he could not remember about that, then that ‘I don’t think I wrote but one out. ‘ Mrs. Zehmer said that what he wrote was ‘I hereby agree,’ but that the ‘I’ was changed to ‘We’ after that night. The agreement that was written and signed is in the record and indicates no such change. Neither are the mistakes in spelling that Zehmer sought to point out readily apparent.

The appearance of the contract, the fact that it was under discussion for forty minutes or more before it was signed; Lucy’s objection to the first draft because it was written in the singular, and he wanted Mrs. Zehmer to sign it also; the rewriting to meet that objection and the signing by Mrs. Zehmer; the discussion of what was to be included in the sale, the provision for the examination of the title, the completeness of the instrument that was executed, the taking possession of it by Lucy with no request or suggestion by either of the defendants that he give it back, are facts which furnish persuasive evidence that the execution of the contract was a serious business transaction rather than a casual, jesting matter as defendants now contend.

On Sunday, the day after the instrument was signed on Saturday night, there was a social gathering in a home in the town of McKenney at which there were general comments that the sale had been made. Mrs. Zehmer testified that on that occasion as she passed by a group of people, including Lucy, who were talking about the transaction, $50,000 was mentioned, whereupon she stepped up and said, ‘Well, with the high-price whiskey you were drinking last night you should have paid more. That was cheap.’ Lucy testified that at that time Zehmer told him that he did not want to ‘stick’ him or hold him to the agreement because he, Lucy, was too tight and didn’t know what he was doing, to which Lucy replied that he was not too tight; that he had been stuck before and was going through with it. Zehmer’s version was that he said to Lucy: ‘I am not trying to claim it wasn’t a deal on account of the fact the price was too low. If I had wanted to sell $50,000.00 would be a good price, in fact I think you would get stuck at $50,000.00.’ A disinterested witness testified that what Zehmer said to Lucy was that ‘he was going to let him up off the deal, because he thought he was too tight, didn’t know what he was doing. Lucy said something to the effect that ‘I have been stuck before and I will go through with it.”

If it be assumed, contrary to what we think the evidence shows, that Zehmer was jesting about selling his farm to Lucy and that the transaction was intended by him to be a joke, nevertheless the evidence shows that Lucy did not so understand it but considered it to be a serious business transaction and the contract to be binding on the Zehmers as well as on himself. The very next day he arranged with his brother to put up half the money and take a half interest in the land. The day after that he employed an attorney to examine the title. The next night, Tuesday, he was back at Zehmer’s place and there Zehmer told him for the first time, Lucy said, that he wasn’t going to sell and he told Zehmer, ‘You know you sold that place fair and square.’ After receiving the report from his attorney that the title was good he wrote to Zehmer that he was ready to close the deal.

Not only did Lucy actually believe, but the evidence shows he was warranted in believing, that the contract represented a serious business transaction and a good faith sale and purchase of the farm.

In the field of contracts, as generally elsewhere, ‘We must look to the outward expression of a person as manifesting his intention rather than to his secret and unexpressed intention. ‘The law imputes to a person an intention corresponding to the reasonable meaning of his words and acts.” First Nat. Bank v. Roanoke Oil Co., 169 Va. 99, 114, 192 S.E. 764, 770.

At no time prior to the execution of the contract had Zehmer indicated to Lucy by word or act that he was not in earnest about selling the farm. They had argued about it and discussed its terms, as Zehmer admitted, for a long time. Lucy testified that if there was any jesting it was about paying $50,000 that night. The contract and the evidence show that he was not expected to pay the money that night. Zehmer said that after the writing was signed he laid it down on the counter in front of Lucy. Lucy said Zehmer handed it to him. In any event there had been what appeared to be a good faith offer and a good faith acceptance, followed by the execution and apparent delivery of a written contract. Both said that Lucy put the writing in his pocket and then offered Zehmer $5 to seal the bargain. Not until then, even under the defendants’ evidence, was anything said or done to indicate that the matter was a joke. Both of the Zehmers testified that when Zehmer asked his wife to sign he whispered that it was a joke so Lucy wouldn’t hear and that it was not intended that he should hear.

The mental assent of the parties is not requisite for the formation of a contract. If the words or other acts of one of the parties have but one reasonable meaning, his undisclosed intention is immaterial except when an unreasonable meaning which he attaches to his manifestations is known to the other party. Restatement of the Law of Contracts, Vol. I, § 71, p. 74.

‘* * * The law, therefore, judges of an agreement between two persons exclusively from those expressions of their intentions which are communicated between them. * * *.’ Clark on Contracts, 4 ed., § 3, p. 4.

An agreement or mutual assent is of course essential to a valid contract but the law imputes to a person an intention corresponding to the reasonable meaning of his words and acts. If his words and acts, judged by a reasonable standard, manifest an intention to agree, it is immaterial what may be the real but unexpressed state of his mind. 17 C.J.S., Contracts, § 32, p. 361; 12 Am. Jur., Contracts, § 19, p. 515.

So a person cannot set up that he was merely jesting when his conduct and words would warrant a reasonable person in believing that he intended a real agreement, 17 C.J.S., Contracts, § 47, p. 390; Clark on Contracts, 4 ed., § 27, at p. 54.

Whether the writing signed by the defendants and now sought to be enforced by the complainants was the result of a serious offer by Lucy and a serious acceptance by the defendants, or was a serious offer by Lucy and an acceptance in secret jest by the defendants, in either event it constituted a binding contract of sale between the parties.

Defendants contend further, however, that even though a contract was made, equity should decline to enforce it under the circumstances. These circumstances have been set forth in detail above. They disclose some drinking by the two parties but not to an extent that they were unable to understand fully what they were doing. There was no fraud, no misrepresentation, no sharp practice and no dealing between unequal parties. The farm had been bought for $11,000 and was assessed for taxation at $6,300. The purchase price was $50,000. Zehmer admitted that it was a good price. There is in fact present in this case none of the grounds usually urged against specific performance.

Specific performance, it is true, is not a matter of absolute or arbitrary right, but is addressed to the reasonable and sound discretion of the court. First Nat. Bank v. Roanoke Oil Co., supra, 169 Va. at p. 116, 192 S.E. at p. 771. But it is likewise true that the discretion which may be exercised is not an arbitrary or capricious one, but one which is controlled by the established doctrines and settled principles of equity; and, generally, where a contract is in its nature and circumstances unobjectionable, it is as much a matter of course for courts of equity to decree a specific performance of it as it is for a court of law to give damages for a breach of it. Bond v. Crawford, 193 Va. 437, 444, 69 S.E.(2d) 470, 475.

The complainants are entitled to have specific performance of the contracts sued on. The decree appealed from is therefore reversed and the cause is remanded for the entry of a proper decree requiring the defendants to perform the contract in accordance with the prayer of the bill.

Reversed and remanded.


Cases, Uncategorized

Jacklovich v. Stallman, A/K/A “Prom Night Problems”


Jacklovich v. Stallman


Stood-Up Prom Date Sues: Woman Says Ex-Boyfriend Broke Verbal Agreement

MOORHEAD, Minn. Posted 2:57 p.m. June 02, 1998 –

promA Minnesota teen-ager says she was stood up by her prom date. But she wants her escort to pay for it anyway. Nineteen-year-old Melissa Jacklovich of Dilworth and her parents filed a small claims case seeking $244. Jacklovich claims 19-year-old Christopher Stallman of Moorhead made a verbal promise to take her to the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton high school prom May 16. But the woman contends Stallman reneged after she had already paid $224 for a dress, alterations and shoes. She also asked for $20 in court costs. Stallman says Jacklovich asked him to the prom in February. He says they broke up in March. A judge heard the case yesterday. A decision is expected in about a week. Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press


Stood-Up Prom Date Can’t Collect

MOORHEAD, Minn. Posted 5:32 a.m. June 9, 1998 —

A judge has told a teen suing her ex-boyfriend for the cost of a prom dress after he broke off the date that she should ask an etiquette columnist, and not a court, for help. Clay County District Judge Michael Kirk ruled Monday that Melissa Jacklovich, 19, of Dilworth, can’t recover the $224 cost of the dress and the $20 in court fees she sought from Chris Stallman, reports The Associated Press. Jacklovich, shown, and her parents had filed the lawsuit after Stallman ended their relationship and canceled a planned prom date after she had purchased a dress for the event. Jacklovich claimed that Stallman had verbally agreed to take her to the prom, Judge Kirk noted. But Kirk wrote that the law limits legal remedies in cases involving a social agreement. “Whether etiquette might suggest that the defendant has a social or moral duty to help the plaintiff with her prom costs is a question for the likes of Emily Post or Miss Manners, not for the courts of this state,” wrote Kirk. Kirk also wrote that: “Even a promise for the ultimate ‘date,’ a wedding, can be broken without legal liability.” Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press

Randy’s Ramblings:

The dating game has changed By Randy Hanson, Hudson Star Observer ©1998

It isn’t surprising that it’s come to this. But still, the news from northwestern Minnesota that a girl had sued her ex-boyfriend for breaking their prom date left me dumbfounded. Channel 5’s teaser worked. I sat through five minutes of commercials to have Chris Conangla tell me about poor Melissa Jacklovich of Dilworth, a speck of a town near Moorhead. Melissa paid $224 for a prom dress and shoes believing she had a date with equally hapless Christopher Stallman. Romance, even for high-schoolers, is a tricky business.

Alas, the blossom of love in young Christopher’s heart wilted – if ever it was there. Sometime before the May 16 dance, he informed Melissa that he wouldn’t be her escort. Back when I was in high school, a girl thus scorned would have been just as devastated as Melissa was. She would have sobbed to her mother about how awful boys are, and her mom would have agreed – men are a lower life form.

The next day, the girl would have told her chums about the dirty, rotten way she was treated. Her girlfriends would have done their best to make the boy’s final weeks in high school a hellish experience. They would have asked him how he could be such a contemptible lout. No other girl would have gone to the prom with him after finding out about his cowardly act. By graduation day, the boy’s self-esteem would have been lower than a snake’s belly. That would have cheered up Melissa’s predecessor. Who knows? The sisterhood might even have found a replacement date for her. Things even out over time. People who get dumped find courage to move on. They gain an appreciation for the compassionate people of the world. Eventually, they don’t know what they saw in that jerk, anyway. That’s what Melissa would have learned in an earlier day.

But Melissa, like a growing number of Americans who have watched too many episodes of “The People’s Court,” didn’t take matters into her own hands, she took Christopher to court. She and her parents filed a small claims case in Clay County District Court seeking $244, the price she paid for the dress, alterations and the shoes, plus $20 for court costs. After hearing the case June 1, Judge Michael Kirk said he would issue a decision in about a week. I’m told Judge Kirk eventually decided Christopher didn’t have to pay for the dress. What’s worrisome is that it took him a week make that decision. If you’re wondering why the judicial system is bogged down, this is a clue.

Back when the story first broke, Channel 4 sent a reporter and cameraman to Dilworth to interview Melissa and Christopher. Tears brimmed Melissa’s eyes when she told of the pain of being jilted. I admit to male bias, but her tears didn’t look like tears of sorrow to me. I thought she looked more like a spoiled child crying because she hadn’t gotten her way. Christopher looked stunned – like someone had sneaked up behind him and clonked him over the head with a two-by-four. He stared at the ground and mumbled something about just not wanting to go to the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton high school prom. He said he hoped this would all be over soon. I bet it wasn’t his idea to spend $224 on a dress and shoes, either. I don’t know any man who would suggest that. I’m not saying there aren’t any, they just don’t eat at the same lunch counter that I do.

According to a newspaper account of the case, it was Melissa who asked Christopher to the dance in the first place. At least that’s what Christopher told the judge. She asked him to the prom in February, Christopher said, but they broke up in March. He said he received a letter from Melissa in early April in which she said she still wanted to be friends, but that she would be out of town the night of the prom. He said things were “really bad” between them at the time. Melissa’s father, Mike Jacklovich, a former Dilworth police chief, told the judge he spoke with Christopher by telephone in April, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The father said he asked Christopher whether he intended to take his daughter to the prom, and that Christopher replied that he was “leaning toward not going.” He said he got a message from Christopher later that the date was indeed off. It’s inexplicable to me why a father would be so involved in his daughter’s social life. It sounds to me like the Jacklovichs could use family counseling. The whole affair might have been a valuable growth experience for Melissa. Instead, it was Christopher who learned an important lesson: When a woman tells you she still wants to be friends, it’s over.