Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction


Occasionally, my legal work steers me to a particularly amusing set of facts, which, when stated in the dry and formal language of an appellate judge, inherit an air of absurdity. This one just hit me that way:

Ann Marie O’Sullivan vs. Lin and Tai, Inc., 1996 Mass. App. Div. 103

The trial judge’s findings as evinced by the record reveals that on the evening of November 10, 1991 at approximately 11:00 p.m. the plaintiff, ANN MARIE O’SULLIVAN, was injured while on the premises of the corporate defendant, namely, LIU & TAI, INC. d/b/a KING’S CHINESE AMERICAN RESTAURANT, hereinafter referred to as “KING’S.” The circumstances thereof indicate that the plaintiff placed an order for Chinese food with an employee of “KING’S” and paid for it. While waiting for her order she determined from her receipt that she had been overcharged which prompted her to confront the employee. A hands on dispute followed over the plaintiff’s receipt and as a consequence thereof the plaintiff fell to the floor where she was then kicked by the defendant PHIL LIU (a “KING’S” employee), together with another employee of “KING’S.”

I lament the deplorable state of customer service.


11 Responses to “Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction”

  1. 1 Terry

    Ha-ha. Deplorable is right.

  2. Yup – wouldn’t be getting my food from there!

  3. Sounds kinda’ poetical to ‘lament’ the deplorable state of customer service. I agree with you Pete, this is amusing. I’m with Jemi though, no more take-out from King’s. 😉

  4. 4 A Barker

    Hey Pete, Hurray for the Law Reports–an endless source of plot-lines and human comedy for writers.

  5. 5 Peter

    I’ve thought about this overnight, and perhaps we’re being a little snobbish. I’d rather get tackled and kicked by a Chinese waiter than chased by a French chef with a meat-cleaver.

  6. 6 Matt

    Hope she got her money’s worth in the ass-whooping. Personally, I’d rather drop a spare sawbuck than have my health insurance dinged, my reputation sullied (whether I won or lost the fight), and my attorney getting paid to think I’m an idiot.

  7. “…as a consequence thereof, the plaintiff fell to the floor…”

    Sheesh, they make it sound like a mere accident.

    As a consequence of being home when the rapist broke into the house, the plaintiff was…

  8. Can just imagine the UK version: The plaintiff.’Excuse me, I’m so sorry to bother you but there’s seems to be an error in the addition…’
    The defendant: ‘Gosh, really? I’m terribly sorry. Pleas have a fortune cookie. It lists all the best violence-free chinses restaurants…’

  9. 9 Pete

    Helen, don’t you have any soup-Nazis in London?

    Cate – this is what makes the language so absurd in these things.

    “The plaintiff consumed several large mouthfuls of fish chowder, as a consequence of which, a small bone became lodged in her esophagus.”

    That reminds me – I have another case to post!

  10. Pete, this is a total hoot. Still, it is rather uncomfortable attending restaurants of any variety in a full metal jacket…clashes badly with the steel capped boots, and capsicum spray. although one may bee tempted to add capsicum spray to rampantly dangerous bowls of fish chowder.

  11. Excellent point, Sooz!

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