Ace legal wiz Leonard "J." Crabs has more than his fair share of successful legal battles under his belt... as well as many other things. As the official legal force of our site, Something Awful, Leonard has decided to generously donate his precious time to maintaining a weekly / biweekly column that tackles all your toughest legal issues. Feel free to drop Leonard a line with any questions about the law you may have!
Things have been quite slow on the legal front lately. As a result, I have been hanging out around the local Dairy Queen, waiting for some people to become involved in some lawsuit-caliber material. No luck so far. To "boost" business, I even walk up to people who I deem to be "accident prone" and ask them if they know anybody I can sue. Usually they tell me that they don't, so I steal their ice cream and beat a hasty retreat to the nearby alleyway where I scarf down their ice cream amongst the homeless and downtrodden members of society who have chosen to live 10 feet away from puddles of their own urine. I consider these men to be my brothers; we often pretend we're time-travelling pirates who must defeat the evil Queen Victrolia in order to restore law and order to our kingdom. Our "kingdom" is represented by an eggcrate with the words "MANNY" scrawled across it, and Queen Victrolia is a large, abandoned refrigerator which hosts a family of watermelon-sized rats inside.
Bah, enough about my exciting adventures, let's get on to the legal "Q&A" (that means "Question and Answer" for all you legal simpletons who did not attend my prestigious college of Harvard's School of Law and Legal Matters and Oil Rig Maintenance).
From: Candy Mendoza
Subject: Company Problems
I love your column, much more than that other column that one guy wrote about the thing. Anyway here's my problem: recently I attended a social gathering at my boss' house. Is there any way I can sue?
Whoops, I guess I should've started out this reply with "Dear Candy". Well, I'm new to this whole legal "Q&A" thing, so please bear with me. As for your legal problem, the event that you described can result in a myriad of lawsuits you may file against your boss. Try to answer these questions to determine which lawsuit would be best fitted to suit your particular legal needs:
1) Did your boss sexually harass you at the party? You were officially the victim of sexual harassment if he made any of the following comments to you: "hello", "you look nice in that dress", "may I take your coat?", "the earliest writing in Mesopotamia was a picture writing invented by the Sumerians who wrote on clay tablets using long reeds", and "want to hop up and down on my man-machine all night long?" are all lawsuit material.
2) Did he or anybody else at the party make you uncomfortable in any way? Did somebody give you "weird", "strange", or "normal" looks? Did you see any furniture that looked "out of place" or "tacky"? When somebody spoke to you, did they make the symbol for "quotation marks" frequently? If so, you probably have good legal grounds to sue.
3) Do you have repressed memories? If you do, you probably won't know it. So think about it; are there any memories you're not aware you know of? If you answered either yes or no to this question, I think you can safely bring your jerk boss to court.
If there's anything I've learned in the 400+ years I've been practicing law, it's got to be "never bring your mother's charred corpse into court as a character witness." I also learned that juries are very lenient on sexual harassment cases, assuming the plaintiff is very attractive and wears a short red skirt with no underwear. Oh yeah, and she can't have a penis either, or you can just throw the entire suit out the window.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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