Trees Falling in Michigan, Still Making Sounds

Looking up through the trees, by flickr user Chris Connolly, licensed by Creative Commons

Blood on the leaves?

There is an old philosophical argument that goes as follows: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? A recent lawsuit in Michigan is finally providing an answer: Yes. Residents of Bloomfield Hills, MI have taken up a class-action against tree removal by the power company DTE Energy. Reports say they hired a tree-trimming company to take trees down in a short period of time without giving notice to the community. The power company was worried about the trees interfering with cables they had been running in the area, and had petitioned to remove them. Clearly upset by the secretive manner in which DTE went about this deforestation, the people living in Bloomfield Hills are now seeking $54 million in restitution. Read more

Vanilla Extract Leads To DWI Charges

Licensed via Creative Commons

Vanilla Extract

Those that are bound and determined to drink and drive can almost always find a way. Though most people think of trips to the local liquor store as a place to pick up supplies, the reality is that even a quick trip to the grocery outlet will suffice, if the intention is to find something with enough alcohol to get wasted.

As proof that there are lots of surprising things that can get a person drunk, a 46-yaer-old woman from Seneca Falls, New York was arrested last week and has since been charged with drunk driving after consuming, of all things, vanilla extract. According to police reports, the woman was spotted by officers driving erratically in a Walmart parking lot.

An officer then approached the car and began questioning the woman who admitted, almost immediately, that she had been drinking vanilla prior to getting behind the wheel. Officers say the woman explained how she had consumed two regular-sized bottles of pure vanilla extract not long before getting in her car. She soon became disoriented and was unable to navigate her way out of the Walmart parking lot. Read more

College Sued by Football Star’s Accuser

DSC02151, by flickr user Matthew Stinson, licensed by Creative Commons.

State of Confusion

The woman who brought a lawsuit against Florida State’s quarterback is heading back to the courtroom. Citing a “hostile educational environment”, the plaintiff became famous for accusing the college’s athletic department for covering up rape allegations against Jameis Winston, the man under center for the Seminoles as they went undefeated in 2014. She cites Title IX, a civil rights law protecting the rights of all students under the Higher Education Amendment of 1972. The woman claims Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy Winner, sexually harassed her in 2012, but a case was never filed at the time. This latest lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando.

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Tourism Lawsuit Leaves Town Misguided

Lafayette Square, Savannah, GA by flickr user Chris Yates, licensed by Creative Commons

Hip to be square

Tour guides in vacation destinations may have to begin passing certifications to entertain tourists. One group in Savannah GA, headed by a woman named Michelle Freenor, has filed a lawsuit against the city itself over the certain registration laws. Michelle and 3 others (including her husband) have led walking tours around the historic town for years, before the word spread of a new ordinance them to become “certified tour guides”, passing medical and academic tests. The city stands firm behind the idea that registration can only help, not hinder the tourism industry in Savannah. The group is backed by non-profit law firm, with Freenor now at the head of a movement that has hit many popular destinations for tourists, including New York City, Washington D.C., and New Orleans. Read more

Spider-Man Swings to Supreme Court

spider web, by flickr user cybershot dude, licensed by Creative Commons

Trapped in a web

If you are a child during the holiday season, there may be no better gift than a brand new Spider-Man toy. However, it appears that a trademark lawsuit may keep some Marvel merchandise off the shelves. A man named Stephen Kimble invented a toy glove that fires silly string, allowing kids to pretend they are the web-slinging hero Spider-Man. Marvel bought the idea and had been paying Kimble royalties from sales, until his patent on the idea ran out. Furious, the inventor filed a lawsuit to overturn a 50-year-old Supreme Court ruling about expiring patents, seemingly forcing Spider-Man to trade in his red-and-blue spandex for a suit and tie. Read more