Lawyer Wanted to Protect Kids … and Consume Alcohol

beer bottleSpecial thanks to Senior Judge James Barlow, from San Antonio for all the classic stuff he has sent to Here’s a distinguished jurist who not only appreciates a good laugh, but possesses a lifetime collection of legal humor treasure. He’s sent along a lot of gems not available elsewhere. Here’s an interesting one:

Apparently because he was the only person in the family with a driver’s license, a man (a lawyer, apparently) was ordered by a Giles County, TN, chancery court to shuttle two kids of divorced parents back and forth during periods of visitation.

But the involuntary driver–“intervenor” in the pleading below–filed a petition to relieve him from the transportation duties in the best interests of the children on that basis that “Friday afternoon by 1700 hours, and particularly on Sundy [sic] by the same time, your intervenor, generally has consumed three or more beers,” and that, as a consequence, he will “register .15 or higher on any cop’s ‘Get’m’ scale.” (The copy of the petition bears the clerk’s file stamp (May 13, 2002), and appears to be authentic.)

Further, he said he didn’t know how to operate child seats or the seatbelts in his “pickity-up truck.” Children, he asserted, should not be subjected to such danger.

Whether or not you sympathize with the intervenor, it’s hard to deny his sincerity (original typos left in):



NO. 2196


Comes the petitioner, Wm. Travis Gobble, who professes to be greatly aggrieved by the order of this court … whereby your intervenor was ordered to provide transportation for Suzanna and ‘Log-Jam’ White, minor children of Derrell and Chrysty White, during periods of visitation between the said parties, in the following particulars:

1. Your intervenor is the only damn one in the family with drivers licenses.

2. He should not be required to risk losing his.

3. On Friday afternoon by 1700 hours, and particularly on Sundy by the same time, your intervenor, generally has consumed three or more beers.

4.  Three, or more, beers according to all the clients your intervenor has represented causes a driver to register .15 or higher on any cop’s “Get’m” scale.

5. According to MADD mothers, any driver who has consumed three beers, whatever he registers, is drunk and a menace to society.

6. Small children should not be subjected to such danger.

7. In addition thereto, your intervenor drives a small pickity-up truck with only two seat belts, neither of which he can make operable.

8. The two children are of such a size that both must be bundled inside a device resembling and over-sized football helmet. Your intervenor has tried, but has been unable to date, to secure said children into such a device.

9. In any event, he, two children and a fourth person would crowd his little truck.

10. In the event your intervenor elected to have a fourth, or a fifth beer enroute [sic] ith said kids, he would have no place to sit said cans and would have to drive one-handed.

11. The kids themselves would be a further distraction.

12. A distracted driver is a dangerous driver.

13. Without a fourth person to assist him, should minor children commence to cry, a common occurance [sic], your intervenor would surely drop his beer and wreck.

16. As the common carrier, your intervenor would be trown into regular contact with both parents and subjected to all the

allegations hurled from both sides. Your intervenor is too old to suffer such.

FOR ALL OF WHICH Wm. Travis Cobble respectfully moves this Honorable Court to assign said duties to some other caring soul.

— In the Matter of White v. White, Giles County, Tennessee, Chancery Court, No. 2196, filed May 13, 2002. Thanks to Senior Judge James Barlow.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Learn more...

Funny Law School Stories
For all its terror and tedium, law school can be a hilarious place. Everyone has a funny law school story. What’s your story?

Strange Judicial Opinions
Large collection of oddball and off-the-wall judicial opinions and orders.

Product Warning Labels
A variety of warning labels, some good, some silly and some just really odd. If you come encounter a funny or interesting product warning label, please send it along.

Tortman! Andrew J McClurg
Tortland collects interesting tort cases, warning labels, and photos of potential torts. Raise risk awareness. Play "Spot the Tort."

Weird Patents
Think it’s really hard to get a patent? Think again.

Legal Oddities
From the simply curious to the downright bizarre, a collection of amusing law-related artifacts.

Spot the Tort
Have fun and make the world a safer place. Send in pictures of dangerous conditions you stumble upon (figuratively only, we hope) out there in Tortland.

Legal Education
Collecting any and all amusing tidbits related to legal education.

Harmless Error
McClurg's twisted legal humor column ran for more than four years in the American Bar Association Journal.