“As a matter of law, the house is haunted”
Happy Halloween! Whether you’re bingeing on candy corn and caramel apples at the office costume contest, putting the finishing touches on your tot’s Dora the Explorer costume, or making a last-minute candy run, here are some law-related Halloween cases and costumes to help you get into the spooky spirit.
Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware… of ghosts? Stombovsky v. Ackley
For 12 years, the Ackleys reported their house was haunted to local news outlets and Reader’s Digest. When they put the house up for sale, they did not disclose that any potential buyer receive the added bonus of some grouchy poltergeists. Strambovsky put in an offer and down payment of the house. When he learned about the home’s ghoulish reputation, he brought an action to rescind the offer and for damages, claiming fraudulent misrepresentation.
The majority found that “having reported [the ghosts'] presence in both a national publication… and the local press… defendant is estopped to deny their existence and, as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” While the court dismissed the claim of fraudulent misrepresentation, the court opted against a strict interpretation of caveat emptor and allowed the contract to be rescinded because even “the most meticulous inspection and the search would not reveal the presence of poltergeists at the premises or unearth the property’s ghoulish reputation in the community.” Strombovsky v. Ackley, 169 A.D.2d 254 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991).
Are vampires culpable for their crimes?
Can the undead be held responsible for their crimes in a court of law (assuming they’re not sucking our blood?). Blogger James Daily explores whether vampires can be held culpable for their crimes. His analysis only applies to the vampires in the popular TV series’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, however. If you’re concerned about how Dracula, Edward, or Stefan and Damen would fare in court, we invite you to send us a post about it!
Haunted Houses and Flammable Sheep
Looking for more Halloween-related cases to impress the partners (or your partner) at the office costume party? The October 2011 issue of the New York Bar Journal has you covered. “Case Law from the Crypt: The Law of Halloween” covers numerous Halloween cases, including Strombovsky v. Ackley, personal injury suits stemming from eggings, and whether Little Bo Peep has a duty to warn people her sheep are flammable.
Law-related Halloween Costumes
It may be too late for this year, but here are four great law-related costumes to inspire you next October.
- The timely costume: Abraham Lincoln suit + “Closed” sign = Shutdown Lincoln Memorial
- The 5-minute costume: Devil accessory set + your own business suit = Devil’s Advocate
- The couples costume: Legalized marijuana and a bag of Doritos (thanks, Seattle PD!)
- The DIY costume: Make your own Schoolhouse Rock “Just a Bill on Capitol Hill” costume
Are you wearing a great law-themed costume today? Tweet us a pic: @WAStateBar