For bedtime reading, the elves in the archives at the Explanation of Everything love browsing through transcripts of old court cases for light entertainment (don’t ask), and recently they brought a couple of the more ridiculous ones to our attention.

Well, we were shocked at how some people chance an arm and a leg to hoodwink the authorities. A few get away with it too, limbs intact, and along with their attorneys, somewhat wealthier. Ka-ching! Some court cases though, are so outrageous, we can’t blame lawyers for reacting the way they do towards humans.

But before we get into these cases, we’ve had inquiries from various history geeks questioning the accuracy in some A Far Kraai columns. They challenge our claims that the Vikings built the Alps; that Marco Polo visited Paarl; and that Little Red Riding Hood was a dope dealer. Well, the elves conducting the research were seriously miffed, but in pursuit of perfection, they’ve promised not to drink their special herbal tea before 10 AM any more.

Bearing this in mind, the following cases might appear suspicious, but the elves guarantee their authenticity, although we can’t mention people’s real names. We might just get sued as well and end up paying some attorney’s annual golf club membership. So here goes…

An Australian sued the local football club for allowing him to get too drunk. In court, he admitted consuming “excessive amounts of liquor supplied by the club” at an annual function, where he clattered down a flight of stairs, breaking his ankle. Claiming medical expenses, he reckoned that management should have exercised more care to “conduct the function in a way where people getting drunk were reasonably safe”.

Did he mean remove the staircases? Pad all hard surfaces? Supply personal minders? “But surely,” the club’s lawyers argued, “that would stigmatise drinkers as incapable”. They could then counter-sue for injury to self-esteem and loss of reputation. Anyway, he lost and had to foot his own bill – for his own foot.

In the Empire of the Toxic Orange, a parent sued the local headmaster for failing her son in grade 10. She argued that for years the teachers’ clichéd comments in his report cards, like “can do better”; “must work harder”; “room for improvement” etc. had numbed his will to excel.

The fact that the lout was dense as reinforced concrete didn’t occur to Mum, but to avoid adverse publicity, the school settled out of court and he was promoted to grade 11. He was, after all, 18.

In England, parents have sued various schools for playground injuries. As a result, football during breaks was deemed antisocial and banned by the authorities in many areas, as was skipping, because some girl fell over. So the kids just sit around quietly texting, and guzzling down the tuck-shop’s pies and cokes.

But here’s the counter argument by the lawyers for many of the parents: A longer-term health-and-safety assessment would reveal that obesity caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise was significantly more likely to cause lasting damage than schoolyard football. The case is ongoing.

Local Health and Safety authorities in Surrey prohibited the sale of homemade cakes at fund-raisers. They insisted that cakes/cookies at charity cake sales, be obtained from the local shops, because we’re never really sure what the bridge club ladies might mix in with their recipes.

Only ‘certified’ cake-makers could bake and sell, which kind of defeats the concept of community members mucking in to raise funds. The housewives are not taking it lying down though, so we’ll see how that cookie crumbles.

In France, a ruined gambler sued a casino for failing to prevent him from bankruptcy. He claimed that over eight years “the staff watched me slowly get addicted and kept inviting me back with free dinners and liquor”. In effect he was suing them for failing to realise how stupid he was.

Anyway, those are just some ludicrous litigations the elves found. Love to tell more, but my defense attorney’s just arrived with some court papers…

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