By: Aaron H. Wallace, Esq.
For my birthday this year, I wanted to learn more about the city I’ve called home for over a decade, so I went to Google in search of a well-reviewed historical tour of Downtown Orlando. As it turns out, the local favorite is a haunted history tour — complete with paranormal detection devices and a ghostbusting guide. “What the heck?” I figured. “Halloween’s around the corner, and what is history but a ghost story anyway?”
Imagine my surprise when, on one of the first stops, the tour guide put the flashlight to her face and uttered the word that usually scares her guests more than any other: “litigation.” As a lawyer, I wasn’t scared so much as intrigued.
As the Times tells it, two restaurant owners signed a lease but then refused to move into the famous space due to reported paranormal activity. The landlord had invested in costly renovations to make ready for the lease, but when construction workers told the tenants about their ghostly encounters during nighttime renovations, the restauranteurs decided to bail.
Incredulous but hoping to avoid litigation, the landlord offered to foot the bill for a proper exorcism. But citing their religious beliefs, the restauranteurs refused. The landlord filed suit, the tenants responded with what media outlets dubbed “the Undisclosed-Ghost Defense,” and the story soon became the stuff of national news. Improbably, the details involve everything from Backstreet Boys music magnate-turned-convicted-felon Lou Pearlman to a legal dispute over which kinds of ghosts a Jehovah’s Witness would believe in. Like a good ghost story, you have to read it to believe it. These contemporaneous stories from the Orlando Business Journal and Orlando Sentinel have every haunting detail.
I can’t say my ghost tour proved the existence of ghosts beyond a reasonable doubt, but it did leave me wondering: what are some other Halloweeny cases that have worked their way through American courtrooms over the years? FindLaw has three unforgettable examples that might get you in an All Hallow’s Eve state of mind. And if you check back at www.flmic.com next year, we’ll bring you even more tales of lawyerly encounters with the mysterious, ghoulish, and downright bone-tingling dimensions of American law. Until then: Happy Halloween from all of us here at Florida Lawyers Mutual.
Halloween Resources for Florida Lawyers
- Don’t let cybercriminals haunt your law firm’s network or digital devices. Learn the latest cyber safety tips for lawyers with this free CLE for Florida Lawyers Mutual members. After all, October is Cyber Security Month too!
- Don’t let cyber nightmares keep you up at night! Florida Lawyers Mutual members can call our Cyber Risk Management Hotline for help!
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About Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company
Created by The Florida Bar so that Florida lawyers would have a high-quality provider of Florida errors & omissions insurance, Florida Lawyers Mutual is the state’s only direct-write lawyers’ professional liability insurer and the only one created by The Florida Bar. A-rated by AM Best for Excellent Financial Strength and owned by its member lawyers, Florida Lawyers Mutual offers high-quality policy features (including a cyber liability endorsement at no additional premium cost), valuable membership benefits, and legendary member service. The Company recently declared its first-ever member dividend* and launched an expansive library of free CLE for its member lawyers. Learn more or apply for coverage at www.flmic.com.
*Dividends are paid at the sole discretion of the Company’s Board of Directors. This year’s dividend does not guarantee the payment or amount of future dividends.