Weird and Wacky Wednesdays: Volume Two

In this week’s roundup of weird and wacky legal cases, we look at a case involving an eviction of a family member, a suspension of a teenager from school, and an arrest over a Burger King Coupon. Perhaps, finally, the angriest Whopper.

Judge Rules Son Evicted From Parents’ Home
In New York, a family was so exasperated with their 30-year-old son that they applied to court for an eviction order. Frankly, I feel bad for the parents. It is hard enough under residential tenancy law to have a tenant evicted, even for violations of the Residential Tenancy Act. Renters have a significant amount of power to stay where they are living. However, that power is not absolute.

What is really wacky about this case is the legal strategy employed by the son, who argued that as a family member of the homeowner, he was entitled to special treatment over and above what regular tenants get. Rather than regular eviction notice, he argued that he was entitled to six months notice. On the cusp of millennial status, it’s individuals like him who bring our whole generation down.

In British Columbia, the process to evict a tenant depends on the reason for eviction. Notice requirements are relatively brief. There is ten day notice required to evict a tenant for unpaid rent; twelve months’ notice is required if a mobile home park is being converted; one month notice is required for late rent, excessive damage, unpaid security deposit, or a variety of other scenarios; two months is required if the landlord intends to use the property, or a unit was subsidized and the tenant no longer qualifies for a subsidization; and four months notice is required for demolitions and renovictions. Interestingly, six months’ notice is not required, and not particular notice provisions apply to family.

Why? Because that would just be wacky.

Teen Suspended for Attempting to Sell High School on Craigslist
While some millennials are ridiculously dumb (see above), some are unsung heroes of genius pranks. Unfortunately for one Kansas City teen, his high school did not see it that way. After posting an advertisement on Craigslist featuring his high school, for sale at the low and inexplicable price of $12,725, his high school suspended him.

You may not think that a suspension is a legal issue, but it is. It is an administrative action taken by a high school. The suspension includes a ban from walking in the school graduation this June. In British Columbia, if such a penalty were imposed by a school, there is an administrative process in place by which the decision can be reviewed. And there are lawyers who assist in this process. It is hard to see how an obviously-not-serious Craigslist post purporting to sell something which could not be sold by this person should warrant a suspension or ban from graduation. If this type of decision were made here, I expect it would be reversed very quickly.

Burger King Coupons Lead to Assault Charge
Look, this one I kind of understand. I hate it when I can’t get the fast food order I want at the price I want. Such was the case for a man in Florida (it’s always a man from Florida) whose coupons for discounted Whopper sandwiches were refused. His reaction was highly rational. He grabbed the server and attempted to drag her over the counter. Yup, seems worth the few cents or dollars he’d save on a Whopper.

And the best part? He had to post a $500 bond to be released from custody. He could buy about 125 Whoppers for that price. A severe miscalculation.

But what is a coupon, in law, anyway? Interestingly, the law of contract deals extensively with the difference between and “offer” and an “invitation to treat.” A coupon is arguably — and probably most likely — an invitation to treat. It is not a legally binding agreement to purchase an item. There is no exchange of consideration until after the coupon is accepted by the retailer, which means that technically the holder of the coupon would make the offer with a coupon as a term of the contract, and the keeper of the Whopper would accept that offer. Then there would be an exchange of consideration (money) and the Whopper would be provided.

And speaking of consideration, damages for breach of a contract — even assuming a coupon is an offer, and an attempt to use a coupon constitutes acceptance of the offer — would not include yanking an employee over a counter and assaulting her. That’s still criminal, even in Florida.

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