Issue number: 16
Posted on: April 13th, 1999
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File under: Wet Humor
A federal judge in
Sacramento, California has ordered Gaggot & Maggers Biological Supplies of
Palo Alto to pay $6.5 million in damages and interest to a customer who found a
glob of yoghurt in a container of cockroaches. G&M, which distributes
dissection specimens to university biology labs, was sued by a professor from
Bill and Mary College of Billsburg, Virginia.
Dr. Solomon Derangler testified, "I had ordered the 'Squirmer Variety Pack' of mixed oversized revolting crawly things for our sophomore life science classes to dissect -- you know, sequoia-eating stag beetles, hairy sixteen-eyed spiders the size of a softball, 18-inch slugs as thick as your forearm -- the usual stuff. Well, I'm sure that you can easily imagine my horror when I opened a box marked 'Giant Tropical Cockroaches' and was just about to plunge both arms in up to the elbows and scoop out a heaping double handful of chitinous vermin when I happened to glance in the box and saw an enormous, slimy, slithering, repugnant blob of -- eugh, I can hardly bring myself to even say it -- strawberry yoghurt! My assistant fainted and I had to race to the bathroom to throw up. As a matter of fact I didn't quite make it, and the cleaning bill is part of the settlement. It was my favorite white coat."
The company admitted that the mix-up was "regrettable" and attributed it to negligence on the part of a new employee. G&M foreman P. Crawley (who happens to be a full-blooded Cree) explained, "We had a young woman come to work for us fresh out of junior college, and she was in the habit of eating her lunch right on the packaging line while continuing to work, loading case after case with the germ-infested corpses of lesser invertebrates. Apparently, she was eating yoghurt one day and in a moment of inattention some of it spilled into that particular roach box. Our heartfelt sympathy, not to mention our year-end bonuses for the next one hundred years, go out to the victims of this unfortunate breach of quality."
Prof. Derangler's lawyers expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the suit they had filed seeking compensation for "mental anguish, loss of work, loss of lunch, disruption of a healthy learning environment and having to appear in a 400-word joke based on the 'old switcheroo'."
Reno, Nevada: During a break in rehearsals for a stage adaptation of Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis", actor Herman E. Snowgood, who plays protagonist Gregor Samsa, decided to relax by playing the slots at the nearby Lucky Buckaroo casino. Not having time to change out of his costume. . .
Editor: Somehow, I knew this
Me: I couldn't help myself.
Editor: Let's just skip ahead to the next story, shall we?
Me: OK, here goes:
Record Settlement Against Philip Morris
Has Unexpected Consequences
When tobacco giant
Philip Morris was ordered last month to pay $81 million in punitive damages to
the family of an Oregon man whose death was attributed to four decades of heavy
smoking, most observers thought that the ruling struck a decisive blow against
the powerful conglomerate and the tobacco industry as a whole.
Surprisingly, recent market analyses have shown a sharp rise in cigarette
consumption since the decision was handed down.
Sales of all brands were up by 15% at the end of the month and those of Marlboro, which was specifically named in the record-breaking lawsuit, had risen by 21%. An in-depth field survey by Chicago-based consultancy firm Watt DeHaie revealed that the surge was due to a phenomenon that no one had foreseen: poverty-stricken families are choosing, often by some random method such as drawing straws, a "designated smoker" from among the younger adults. Everyone else then chips in to supply that person with up to five packs of cigarettes a day, the idea being that he or she will eventually die of a smoking-related illness and the surviving family members can sue the tobacco supplier for what one such schemer, who spoke to journalists on the condition of anonymity, described as "megabucks -- enough to keep the rest of us in Chivas and silk boxer shorts forever." He added, "I just pray that nobody finds a cure for cancer. Gosh -- that would ruin everything!"
One particularly disturbing case was found of an "enterprising" young man in Orlando, Florida who quit his job, bought a used Pinto and now spends all of his time driving erratically in heavy traffic, chain-smoking and buying coffee at McDonald's drive-through windows at the rate of 70 to 80 cups per day. The man's wife reported, "He says he's doing it for me and the kids, but we never see him any more. He only comes home to empty the ashtray, and with all the nicotine and caffeine he's consuming, he hardly ever sleeps."
Meanwhile, the Philip Morris executive board has announced that increased revenues due to this new turn of events are expected to enable the company to recoup its losses by the end of the third quarter.
Landmark Sexual Harassment Decision Condemns Ohio Man for "Failure to Make a Wanted Advance"
Keep an eye on Litigation News in future issues of This Publication as we keep you abreast of the latest developments in these watershed cases as they unfold:
Smaller Arachnid Protection League vs Apex Aluminum Siding and Downspouts
Drury Lane Muffin Bakery vs All-London Publicity and Press Relations Ltd
Friends of the Fox vs Gallo Brothers Vineyards
Porcine Homeowners Collective vs S&S Construction Inc.
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I think of it as a monument to freedom of speech: mine.
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¨©1999 by David Jaggard. All rights reserved worldwide.