THE CASE OF THE OFFENSIVE MOON
People often ask me about the kinds of legal cases that I handle. I usually tell them that I am the opposite of The Tiger and The Heavy Hitter, in that I typically defend those who are being sued. Over the years I have represented many doctors, hospitals, restaurants, trucking companies, airlines, department stores and other such entities in personal injury and wrongful death matters.
There usually aren't many laughs in the cases that I handle. I was thinking earlier today, though, about a rather humorous case that I defended some fifteen years or so ago. I was representing a restaurant that had a food counter at the front where solo customers could sit and dine. The chairs at the counter had slats in them, so that the customers' backs were visible to the rest of the restaurant's patrons. The other customers sat at tables or booths.
As it so happened, one evening a rather overweight gentleman was sitting at the counter eating his dinner. As he sat there, his pants were not sufficiently pulled up, thus allowing his bare buttocks to show. According to deposition testimony, the man's entire rear end was on display for all to see. By all accounts, this was a less than pleasing sight, and it created quite a stir in the place. Another fellow in the restaurant took strong offense. He loudly told the mooner, "Hey buddy, pull your pants up. I can see your ass!"
The mooner ignored the request. He continued eating, as if he had heard nothing. Enraged, the offended fellow then took his pocketknife--which he had been using to cut up an onion for his bean soup--and went over and began slashing and stabbing the mooner's exposed buns through the chair slats. The other diners watched in stunned silence as this was taking place.
After the initial knife-to-buns assault had taken place, the mooner ran to a pay phone outside the restaurant in order to call the police. While he was dialing, the assailant came out and finished the job by punching the mooner in the face, inflicting a fairly serious eye injury.
The restaurant was sued for alleged negligence in failing to protect its customer from the assault. I initially thought that I would be able to obtain summary judgment for my client, until testimony revealed that the assailant had previously warned waitresses of his intent to "take care of the problem" if the mooner didn't pull up his pants. Because the wait staff delayed after the assailant had issued his warning, there was a factual issue that precluded summary judgment. For that reason, we settled for a nominal amount prior to trial.