The American Bar Association Journal this last week – along with indicating a case in which the judge declared that a house was “haunted as a matter of law” [though not fact] – also provided the following couple of tragically comedic case thumbnails:
• A Florida woman sued her neighbor for defamation, harassment and emotional distress because of Halloween decorations that included an insane asylum sign that pointed to her yard and a fake tombstone with an inscription she viewed as a reference to her single status. It read, “At 48 she had no mate no date/ It’s no debate she looks 88.”
• A man who created tombstones lampooning his neighbors filed a First Amendment suit against police for asking him to take them down. One of the tombstones read: “Bette wasn’t ready, but here she lies ever since that night she died, 12 feet deep in this trench, still wasn’t deep enough for that wenches stench!” The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the police officer was entitled to qualified immunity.
Though perhaps funny to the outsider, isn’t this really poor form? It would be interesting to know if these cases were precursed or followed by boundary disputes.
At any rate, time now to move from Halloween to All Saints Day. As always, unless your neighbors have generated absolutely intolerable situations, seek to keep your relations with your neighbors peaceful, harmonious, and hopefully friendly!