Law Times

January 7, 2019

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Page 16 January 7, 2019 • Law Times u Bizarre Briefs By Viola James u The InsIde story SPIDER FIGHT ALERTS AUTHORITIES An Australian man triggered an emergency police response after a noisy exchange with a spider startled a passerby into reporting what sounded like a violent disturbance to the au- thorities, media reported. Reuters reports a neighbour was walking past a house in the west coast city of Perth re- cently when they heard a man repeatedly yelling "why don't you die?" and a toddler screaming. The neighbour then called the police emer- gency number, according to media reports. "Multiple police units responded (with) lights and sirens," the reports said, quoting from a Twitter post that appeared to have been post- ed by police in Wanneroo, just to the north of Perth. The post has since been deleted. The tweet showed what appeared to be a law enforcement communication log that included the initial emergency call, followed by an update 15 minutes later that said "police spoke with all parties who advised that husband had only been trying to kill a spider (has serious fear of spiders)." The log said the man "apologised for incon- venience to police" and that there were "no inju- ries sighted (except to spider)" and "no further police involvement required." The reports did not identify the man, or the type of spider. An out-of-hours call from Reuters to the Western Australia state police's administration number went unanswered. Australia has one of the world's highest populations of spiders, compared to people, and biologists have said a southern hemisphere summer heatwave has raised the likelihood of finding arachnids in buildings. FINCH SMUGGLING BUSTED A man was caught at New York's JFK airport recently trying to smuggle dozens of South American finches into the country, a bird that Guyanese immigrants covet for chirping but officials fear could spread disease, officials said. Reuters reports that about 70 finches were found hidden inside a shipment of hair rollers at John F. Kennedy International Airport when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agricul- ture specialist inspected the unidentified male passenger's luggage. Some of the birds had died enroute. The birds may have been destined for sale to Guyanese immigrants for a game that involves betting on how often the finches chirp per min- ute, said Customs spokesman Anthony Bucci. "They may ultimately wind up as a pet, but within the Guyanese community that is the primary purpose," Bucci said. The passenger was not admitted into the United States and was sent back to Guyana, Bucci said. The finch- es were quarantined and euthanized by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Photos on the CBP's Twitter page showed the birds squeezed into individual hair rollers with small nets cov- ering each end. The birds can spread infections such as avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu. A 2015 bird flu epidemic resulted in the culling of 50 mil- lion commercial turkeys and chickens and $850 million in damage, according to CBP officials. DICE ROLL SINKS CANDIDATE An Arkansas city council candidate who twice showed up too late to vote for himself in a con- test that ended in a tie wound up losing the race in a dice roll to decide the winner, reports Re- uters. Becky Linebaugh, an incumbent alder- man in the small town of Hoxie, recently rolled a "six" to hold on to her seat for a third term, defeating challenger Cliff Farmer who came up short with a "four." The dice roll broke a 223-223 tie in a Dec. 4 runoff election, according to the Lawrence County Clerk's Office, which oversaw the game of chance that ultimately decided the winner. The runoff was scheduled after none of three candidates for alderman in the Nov. 6 election got a majority of the vote in Hoxie, a town of about 2,700 people located 120 miles (193 km) northeast of Little Rock. "The main thing is for people to get out and vote," said Linebaugh, 65, a bank bookkeeper. "I early voted because I was afraid something might happen and I might not be able to make it to the election." Her opponent, Cliff Farmer, 33, had a dif- ferent approach.Bad planning twice prevented him from making it to his local polling place in time to cast a ballot in the runoff vote. The first time he tried to vote early on Nov. 29 after his work day ended but arrived at 6 p.m., when the courthouse had already closed. The second time, he was returning from a business trip on the runoff day, and planned to vote after his plane arrived in Memphis, Ten- nessee at 6:30 p.m. local time. Memphis is 80 miles from Hoxie, and Ar- kansas polls statewide were scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. Farmer, on the eve of the dice roll, had some advice for his fellow U.S. citizens. "It doesn't matter what you're doing — get out there and vote!" said Farmer, who did not imme- diately respond to a Reuters request for comment. NO FREE MONEY IN NEW JERSEY Police in New Jersey recently urged people who grabbed banknotes that spilled out of the back of an armored truck during rush-hour traffic to return the cash, no questions asked. East Rutherford police began receiving calls that cash was blowing out of the bullet-resistant truck and multiple vehicles had crashed after several motorists abandoned their cars to chase the money, reports Reuters. Videos posted on social media showed a Brinks armored truck with its hazard lights f lashing on Route 3, about 10 miles (16 km) outside New York City, as people ran after bills blowing between cars and trucks on the busy roadway. A person in uniform chasing the money ap- peared to be the truck's driver. Brinks did not immediately respond to a re- quest for comment. LT WINDSOR TO RENOVATE LAW SCHOOL The University of Windsor Faculty of Law has chosen Dia- mond Schmitt Architects to redesign its law school, with renovations likely to begin in 2020, says dean Christopher Waters. The school has opted to keep and update its existing on-campus building, built in the 1970s, instead of moving down- town, says Waters. "We want to keep many of the really bold lines of the origi- nal building project — when the building was constructed it very much had unique Windsor Law values in mind, and it was meant to ref lect law as a social process, as the architects of the time put it," says Waters. "We want to keep many of those features but we want . . . a build- ing that is environmentally sustainable and really, a building that acknowledges our unique location. We are steps from the Detroit River, steps from the U.S.-Canada border and we are at the start of campus." According to Waters, the aim is not to make room for more stu- dents, but rather, to adjust the building for existing students — for example, adding more women's washrooms to ref lect demographic shift since the 1970s. Among other plans are a circular or non-hierarchical room for teaching Indigenous legal orders, improved accessibility, natural light, and more collaborative work spaces, says Waters. University of Windsor will launch a campaign for supporters and alumni to raise capital, says Waters, who adds the school will likely remain open during renovations. MACKENZIE LEADING LSO ELECTION A motion presented to Convo- cation on Dec. 10, 2018 suggests that the regulatory body appoint Toronto lawyer Gavin MacK- enzie of MacKenzie Barris- ters PC to preside over an up- coming election. Malcolm Mercer, treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, may appoint a non-candidate li- censee to run the elections if he runs in the election, the bylaws cited in the motion said. MacK- enzie is a former LSO treasurer. VUIA JOINS WADDELL PHILLIPS PC Venessa Vuia joined Toronto law firm Waddell Phillips PC as an associate, the firm an- nounced on Jan. 2. Vuia has expertise in plain- tiff-side class actions and also acts as legal counsel in a private company, advising on regula- tory compliance within the al- cohol and cannabis sector. Vuia previously worked at Merchant Law Group LLP. 40 % INTERESTED IN JUDGMENTS IMPACT ABOUT INDIVIDUAL LAWYERS 40 % OTHER AREAS 20 % LAW TIMES POLL Some of Law Times' top stories of the year focused on Ontario rulings that could affect lawyers, tuition costs and law schools, and Law Society of Ontario rules that govern the profession. Law Times asked readers what they were interested in learning more about in 2019. Forty per cent of respondents indicated they were most inter- ested in judgments that could im- pact their practice as the top issue they would like to learn about, while another 40 per cent selected specific stories about individual lawyers, like those involved in the disciplinary process. Another 20 per cent chose other areas of in- terest in the legal profession. LT When you are looking for specialized legal counsel, turn to the resource that showcases peer-ranked Canadian legal talent. LAWYER Untitled-5 1 2019-01-02 10:52 AM Christopher Waters says construction on the redesigned law building at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law is slated to start in 2020.

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