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brick wall foundation

Was it “Wait, I thought we tested the soil?” or “Soil, shmoil. It looks fine to me. Build it!” It’s unclear what happened because the case of the sliding house has not yet gone to trial … but it’s headed there now. As reported by NJ Advance Media for NJ.com:

A $7.4 million judgment for the owner of a Florham Park house that is gradually sliding down a hill was thrown out by an appellate court last month. But another appeal may still bring it to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The initial $7.4 million award was made to homeowner Humayun Akhtar in 2011 when a judge reached a summary judgment without hearing the arguments of the defendants: JDN Properties, Joseph D. Natale, Deltrus LLC, and Randy DeLuca, said the attorney for Natale.

“He improperly suppressed the answers,” said David Stanziale, the lawyer for Natale. “We’re very happy now that Mr. Natale’s going to have his day in court.”

Yes, it’s sliding down the hill! Probably should have tested that soil.

The Akhtars paid $1.56 million to build the home on Beacon Hill Road, according to court documents. The architect’s plan called for testing of the soil, but that testing was never done. The owners closed on the house, but then heard from a plumber doing work on the property that the house was “sliding,” according to the records. The Akhtars never moved in, and the house remains unoccupied, said the attorneys.

The appellate judges overturned the award on Feb. 24, saying that the Consumer Fraud Act and the triple damages that come with it did not apply, since a failure to test soil at the site was not “fraud” — but just potentially a “breach of warranty.”

Akhtar and his wife, however, will petition the New Jersey Supreme Court to try and make the Consumer Fraud Act — and its increased penalties — stick, said their attorney, Jay Rice.

You’ll find photos of the house, and the source, here.

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Is it worse to burgle your family or strangers? That’s for you to decide. But this particular theft was particularly uncool (and gross) regardless.  As reported by kmov.com (St. Louis, Missouri):

The victim of a burglary says her father’s ashes were stolen and that two relatives and a third man are to blame after they thought they were stealing cocaine.

“I just couldn’t believe that they would take the ashes,” said Debora Matthews, the victim of the robbery. “But you know, they were kids and I guess just stupid.”

Ma’am, there’s no need to guess about that one.

Matthews says Devin Gesell and two minors rummaged through her home in St. Peters, stealing several items in addition to the ashes. She also says she believes the minors are two of her father’s grandchildren.

“I’m very upset because of the minors. I mean [they] were his grandsons,” Matthews said. “They did that to their grandfather. They didn’t even realize it was their grandfather’s ashes.”

But the did realize it eventually. How? Well …

She says the three thought the ashes stored in a container was cocaine, but after they tasted it, they realized what they had really stolen. However, instead of bring it back, they scattered the ashes all over the highway as they fled.

St. Peter’s police arrested Gesell and the minors. Gesell is now facing possible burglary and theft charges.

They tasted their grandfather’s ashes! You’ll find the source, and a video of the story, here.

(This post, and the thousands of others on LegalJuice.com, are brought to you by Washington, DC, Maryland & Virginia automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian accident attorney John Mesirow.)

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Regular Juice readers will remember this recent post about a school bus aide in New Jersey who stole lunch money – and lunches! – from a bunch of kids on her bus. Well, it turns out that’s not all she stole.  Per The South Jersey Times (via nj.com):

The bus aide who allegedly stole lunches and lunch money from 29 kids was given an additional charge of theft for also stealing from the bus driver, police said.

Rosa M. Rios, 33, of East Broad Street, was charged on Feb. 20 with robbery and theft after being caught on camera rifling through backpacks of kids — ranging between 3 and 5 years old.

Bam!

Millville police began investigating Rios on Feb. 4 after the bus driver complained about money being stolen from her. When police watched the security camera footage from the bus, they saw Rios going through the backpacks.

Upon further viewing of the security camera footage, she was also observed stealing from the bus driver’s pocketbook as well, according to Lt. Jody Farabella.

Here’s the source, including a mug shot of Ms. Rios.

 

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Since the dawn of the school lunch, their have been bullies around to steal lunch money. But this is not your typical lunch money shakedown, and not just because it also involves stealing lunches. No, this case is unusual because of who did the stealing. nbcphildelphia.com reports that …

A New Jersey school bus aide was arrested after she allegedly stole bagged lunches and money from dozens of preschool students.

Now that is pretty damn low.

Rosa Rios, 33, of Millville, New Jersey, was arrested Friday and charged with robbery and theft. Rios worked as a bus aide for the Sheppard Bus Service.

A Millville Police Officer said she was looking over surveillance footage from a school bus in the company back on Feb. 4 while investigating whether money was stolen from the bus driver. She then spotted Rios on camera going through the students’ backpacks, police said. In all, Rios stole lunch money and bagged lunches from 29 kids between the ages of three and five, according to investigators.

Police said the thefts took place between the beginning of January and the beginning of February.

So a bunch of kids went hungry for over a month? No wonder they set bail relatively high.

Rios is currently being held in Cumberland County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Police also said she no longer works at Sheppard Bus Service and the company is working with them to obtain more surveillance footage.

Click here to see the source, which includes a short video news story.

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puppy dog

Although The Juice has represented dog bite victims, he still likes the rest of the critters. So he was not pleased to read about the behavior of these would-be robbers in The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana).

Two men armed with a gun attempted a robbery in a home in the 200 block of Esmond Street shortly after noon Tuesday, Fort Wayne police said.

The victims told police that two men knocked on the door asking for a 17-year-old who lived in the home.

Great plan so far. It gets better.

When they were told the person they were looking for wasn’t home, they pushed inside, pointed a gun to the resident’s head and demanded money, police said.

When the man told the suspects he did not have any money, police said, they threatened to shoot his dog. Police said two other people inside the home who heard the commotion also had the gun pointed at their heads while the suspects demanded money.

So much for Plans A, B, C and D.  Apparently there was no Plan E.

When everyone continued to tell the suspects they didn’t have any money, the men left, police said.

Well, that went well, at least for the victims – although they were undoubtedly terrified. So did the cops catch the perps?

Shortly after, two men with guns were seen in the 3000 block of South Clinton Street, which is near the home on Esmond Street, police said. Officers were not able to locate the suspects.

Nuts. Here’s the source.

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mall

This is not meant to discourage good Samaritans from taking action. However, when you have two apparently equal sides (who should be able to work it out themselves) arguing, in these gun-toting times, if you intervene, you’re liable to get yourself shot … As reported by The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina):

Investigators told local media outlets that a man trying to stop an argument between two groups of people at Magnolia Mall was shot in the leg around 7:45 p.m.

Police say the gunshots caused hundreds of people to run out of the mall and the shooter was able to get out in the chaos. The family of the man shot drove him to the hospital.

Fortunately, the well-intentioned gent was treated and released.  Trigger happy pappy is still at large. Here’s the source.

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shit expletive swear cuss bad word words

As reported by the Spokesman-Review:

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza apparently has a dim view of people swearing in his courtroom. He halted proceedings midway through Friday’s first appearance docket after a teenager got up and stormed out of the courtroom, leaving a string of expletives in his wake.

Cozza demanded that the teen come back inside the courtroom and told him he was in trouble. The teen’s initial response was to say “Do I have to?” but he complied with the judge’s instruction. He told the judge that he’d been in court to see his brother, who had been arrested the day before. “I’m just a little bit irritated,” he said. “Some of the allegations were false.”

Cozza gave the teen a brief lecture on proper courtroom conduct and he was handcuffed by two Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies. The 17-year-old was booked into Spokane County Juvenile Detention, where he celebrated his 18th birthday on Saturday.

Here’s the source.

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Yes, some people want rules in their neighborhood.  And that’s why some people move into condos or neighborhoods governed by homeowners associations. But there are some really stupid rules – like this one! And some of you will say that these folks could have read the rules in advance, but nobody reads the rules! Do you read everything you sign (or click!)?  This is just an overreach by a group of folks who clearly have nothing better to do. As reported at Syracuse.com

The Kimry Moor Homeowners Association has filed a lawsuit against residents David and Arna Orlando in Onondaga County Supreme Court because they are parking their 2014 black Ford 150 pickup in their driveway at 511 Kimry Moor, just outside the village of Fayetteville.

The association wants an injunction to stop the couple from parking their pickup in the driveway of their home.

Yes, you read that right. And what’s the legal basis for this claim?

The association cites its regulations, which limits parking in driveways only to “private, passenger-type, pleasure automobiles,” according to the lawsuit. The association owns all the driveways in the development, according to court filings. The Orlandos could park their pickup in their garage, but not in their driveway.

Hmm. Sounds pretty vague to The Juice, and the association wrote it, so they lose! Not so fast. But what do the Orlandos have to say for themselves?

David Orlando said the pickup is his own personal. passenger vehicle and not a commercial vehicle of any sort.

“This is absolutely absurd,” he said.

David Orlando also said other people are parking pickups in their driveway. This past week a Syracuse.com/Post-Standard reporter saw a full size pickup with cap, a large van and a sports utility vehicle parked other driveways in Kimry Moor.

Orlandos’ lawyers said in court papers that the Orlandos’ pickup is a “private, passenger-type, pleasure automobile” and therefore is in compliance with the rules. Orlando and his lawyer, Tom Cerio, said the pickup is registered with the state as a “passenger vehicle” and not as a commercial vehicle. And the Orlandos do not have commercial drivers’ licenses.

“This is a silly rule,” said Tom Cerio, who is representing the Orlandos. “It’s fair to say the association is definitely overreaching. And they are enforcing this rule for a personal use vehicle, not a commercial vehicle.”

So what’s the status of the case now?

The lawsuit was filed in August 2013 and is still in discovery with depositions to come next, Cerio said. He declined further comment because this is a pending court case.

The Juice really hopes the Orlandos win on everything, including their claim against the association …

Court papers also said the association has “impeded and interfered with the Orlandos’ “quiet use and enjoyment” of their property. The Orlandos are seeking an unspecified amount of damages, which would help them pay for having to hire a lawyer to represent them in this legal proceeding.

The Juice will leave you with one more stupid association rule:

… holiday decorations must be displayed “in a subdued and proper manner.”

Sounds like a war on … celebrating! Not cool at all. Here’s the source, which includes a photo of the “offending” vehicle!

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Here’s an example of a judge in Arkansas who couldn’t keep it in, although he really didn’t pay a price for his misconduct. As reported by ArkansasMatters.com:

A Union County District Court judge is being disciplined after the investigation of several complaints.

The Juice has seen worse, but this stuff is just not cool.

One of the complaints involved a witness in a 2013 criminal case. While giving testimony, it was reported that Judge Van Hook appeared “angry, agitated and frustrated,” verbally berated the witness, then ordered his arrest without any probable cause documentation from any law enforcement officer or the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

After the witness’s arrest, he hired an attorney and all criminal charges filed against him due to the judge’s actions were dismissed by a special judge in 2014.

In other complaints, the Judge was reported to have spoken to people in court in a “discourteous and undignified manner,” telling one woman who appeared before him in June 2014 that she had “meth teeth.”

He also called someone else before him “stupid” and “yelled at him repeatedly to show his driver’s license to the Court.”  So what was the discipline?

The action amounts to a Letter of Censure issued to Judge Van Hook, which cites six complaints.

You call that discipline? You’ll find the source, including a link to the disciplinary order, by clicking here.

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Craigslist is a great resource.  But that doesn’t mean that everyone who uses it is legit, as pretty much EVERYONE should know by now! As reported in the Colorado Springs Police Blotter:

Officers responded to a robbery where a shot had been fired. Investigation revealed that the victim responded to the 1400 block of Alvarado Dr. to purchase a vehicle from an ad he had seen on Craigslist. The victim met the alleged seller at an apartment complex and the victim gave him cash toward the payment of the car. The suspect then ran from the victim and the victim chased the suspect. A physical altercation occurred in the area of Verde Dr. and Zebulon Dr. where the suspect produced a handgun. A second suspect arrived and struck the victim in the head with a bat. The victim then continued to run after the suspect into a field east of that location and the suspect fired one shot at the victim. The suspects left the area in a black Altima with possibly bearing a temporary tag. Suspect 1 is a black male in his 20’s wearing gray sweats and a jacket. Suspect 2 was a black male in his 20’s with unknown clothing description. The victim was treated at the scene for his injury from being struck with a bat. Investigation is continuing.

That is one tough – and lucky – dude.

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