The Greatest Halloween Scare

The guy rigged a remote control motorbike with a skeleton driving it and called it his "Jackie" bike. He hides across the street from a walled cemetary and when people walk by at night, they get the fright of their life. Okay, I just couldn't resist sharing this one on this Halloween weekend. Monday, we'll get back to more serious stuff. But for now, a good laugh is always a good diversion from the rest of life.

Now, if the motorbike breaks down, we hope Jackie calls us, of course.

Burdge Law Office
Helping bikers get rid of lemon motorcycles every day.
With a tip of the hat to my dad, who forwarded this video with Halloween greetings.


Court Cancels Sale of Haunted House

It's the perfect story for Halloween. In 1989 Jeffrey Stambovsky bought an old Victorian house on the banks of the Hudson River at the bottom of a dead end street in the Village of Nyack, NY. At first he thought he got a good deal. But he didn't know what the seller knew.

It was haunted.

You can find the court case in a reported decision - 169 A.D.2d 254, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 is the citation where you can find the case in a lonely law book hidden away on a dusty shelf in the dark damp corners of an empty law library that echoes your footsteps down the hallway as you search among the stacks of musty leather bound volumes no one reads anymore, tucked away in rooms no one dares to enter.

As the court of appeals laced its decision with ghostly references to literature and lore, the court also did something that no other court seems to have ever done - it held that the home was haunted as a matter of law. No if, and or but about it. The poltergeist, it seems, was legally declared to be real. Or was it?

Quipped the judge, "I am moved by the spirit" as he proceeded to declare that "From the perspective of a person in the position of plaintiff herein, a very practical problem arises with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: 'Who you gonna' call?' " Of course, we all know the answer to that one.

The buyer had signed an "as is" clause so the seller, Helen Ackley, argued to the court that there was nothing the buyer could do. He certainly couldn't sue her, she said, and the trial court agreed. Apparently the buyer had never asked if the house was haunted so, technically, the seller never really lied or hid it from him. He just didn't discovery it until he moved in. Haunted by the seller's treacherous deceit, the plaintiff appealed.

Like the 3 ghostly apparitions residing in the home, the appellate papers worked their way through the twists and turns of the legal system until they ended up on the desk of Justice Rubin of New York's Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Then, on an undoubtedly stormy summer night in 1991, no doubt with a headless horseman effigy hanging from a tree out front in the dark, Justice Smith sided up with Justice Rubin and together they crafted their wiley words that would undo the heartless seller's dirty deed.

No doubt with a straight face, the appellate judges noted the difficulties a buyer would face if the ghostly-burdened seller was allowed to avoid liability by her silence. "The notion that a haunting is a condition which can and should be ascertained upon reasonable inspection of the premises is a hobgoblin which should be exorcised from the body of legal precedent and laid quietly to rest." And so they proceeded.

With citations to the ghost of Hamlet from Shakespeare, joined by Prosser on Torts, and muddied with actual case law to support the fearful logic of it all, Justice Rubin noted the difficulties faced by all home buyers if the seller's "as is" clause allowed her to sweep under the rug the loud proclaiming she had made (both nationally and locally) about her home's regular (and irregular) hauntings, made in the years before this unsuspecting buyer came along.

"Applying the strict rule of caveat emptor to a contract involving a house possessed by poltergeists conjures up visions of a psychic or medium routinely accompanying the structural engineer and Terminix man on an inspection of every home subject to a contract of sale," announced the court of appeals. A normal "subject to inspection" clause might never be the same.

In a written decision that resulted in 17 published points of law [which lawyers call "headnotes", not to be confused with the headless notes of less worthy court decisions, no doubt], the court ruled that since the house was haunted with poltergeists, then the seller did not deliver the premises "vacant" as required by the sales contract. Ahah, with the contract breached, a remedy had to be found.

To that end, the court declared the contract rescinded by the Law of Equity - and with that the seller's ownership of the home arose like a zombie from the grave to haunt her again. And the buyer's purchase was cancelled as the court ghoulisly called the sale "a most unnatural bargain."

So, if this Halloween season you are lured into buying a house without knowing it's haunted, you might want to call the fabled lawyer who got this seller back his money. He went on the become the town attorney for a nearby New York community - presumably where there are no poltergeists.
As for the seller, Helen Ackley, she finally sold the house and moved to Florida in the early 1990's. And just by a curious coincidence, perhaps, just across the river from the haunted house is Tarreytown. Sound familiar? It should. All little children have heard the story. That's where the famed Sleepy Hollow is - the one described by Washington Irving's Halloween tale of the headless horseman, "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow."

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves everyday, even from poltergeists.

Special thanks goes out to Nadine, a great friend and source of the case citation above.
The photo above is copyright by Warner Bros. from their 1940's movie "I Walked With a Zombie"

Now it's Nissan's Turn to Recall Millions of Vehicles

The Japanese manufacturers are having a rough year. First Toyota. Now Nissan.

Nissan has announced its third largest recall in its history, over ignition defects involving 2,140,000 vehicles. The defect can lead to engine stalling and involves a variety of Nissan models, from its small minicar up to its big Infiniti QX56 SUV luxury model.

Turns out the defect can stall out the vehicle and you may not be able to restart it.

The recalled Nissan vehicles were built in Japan, the US, Canada, Spain and Great Britain, indicating a design issue may be at the root of the problem.

Recalled vehicles were built from August 2003 to July 2006 and involves, in the US, model years 2004 and 2005 and 2006 Nisan Armada vehicles, Titan trucks, and the Infiniti QX56 Suv. also recalled are 2005 and 2006 Nissan Frontier vehicles, Pathfinder vehicles, and the Xterra model vehicles.

Although the fix can be quick, this Nissan recall follows a flurry of safety and emissions related actions by toyota and BMW and Honda too.

If you've got a recalled Nissan, get it to your dealer right away for repair. You don't want to be heading down the highway and have it stall out on you.


RV Park Demands More Naked Time for Resident

Okay, now for some "odd" Rv park news today, let's turn to Florida, Paradise Pines, and Brandon Barger, whose reckless and inconsiderate conduct (or lack of it) is about to get him kicked out of the park apparently.

Paradise Pines is a unique Rv park. The Lutz, Florida homeowners association of the Rv park wants to kick out a disabled resident, Brandon Barger. One of the reasons is that he doesn't get naked often enough for the rest of them, according to the St. Petersburg (FL) Times newspaper and United Press International reports.

Paradise Pines is a Florida nudist Rv park (click here to see the happy campers) and apparently they have rules and, you know the old saying, "rules is rules."

The association says that the 28 year old Barger doesn't look after his dog or maintain his property either. But apparently what may be their biggest gripe is that "he is not a practicing nudist" but it's got us wondering, just how do you "practice" that, anyway?

We checked the Rv Park's Rules of Conduct that are posted on their web site, but there's nothing there about how often one has to "practice" their nudity - or where or when. Although the rules do, understandably, prohibit picture taking "without the consent" or at least "the presence" of a member of "the BOD" whatever that is.

Barger gets around in his wheelchair and suffers from nervous system and brittle bone ailments but says he actually is nude quite often and admits to a a failing eyesight, but it sounds like the other residents, who apparently want to check him out to make sure he is complying with their rules, don't see him naked and out and about often enough.

Meanwhile, Barger says that his wheelchair keeps him from getting very far from his Rv and tells them "They say I'm not a nudist? I say, well, come look." Sounds like a challenge, indeed.

Surely Rv life has enough difficulties without picking on a nudist in a wheelchair, one would think. Apparently not for the Paradise Rv'ers.


Most frequently stolen cars?

A 19 year old Camry turns out to be the most frequently stolen car on the streets right now because thieves can shop it down and make more off the parts than what the car is worth running.

The data is compiled yearly by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, but the Highway Loss Data Institute, which notes that the biggest insurance loss on stolen cars is racked up by the Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV, which results in an insurance claim usually above $40,000.

The numbers vary state by state but here's Ohio's "hot" list:

1 Dodge Caravan 2000

2 Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera 1995

3 Honda Civic 2000

4 Buick Century 1995

5 Ford Taurus 1999

6 Honda Accord 1994

7 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size) 1990

8 Ford F150 Pickup 1995

9 Chevrolet Cavalier 1999

10 Ford Explorer 1997

Another reason that the pre-2000 model years are often stolen is that thieves run into few factory installed anti-theft devices on those earlier year vehicles. Keep that in mind when you go used car-shopping.

Burdge Law Office

Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.


Flammable Fords Still on the Road, 8.4 million

Federal safety regulators at NHTSA just released a warning that there are still about 8.4 million Fords on the road that are subject to the "it can burn up at any time" recalls of 14 million Fords between 1999 and 2009. If you know anyone with one of them, tell them it's dangerous and to get their Ford to a Ford dealer to be checked out.

We've written about these flaming Fords before, like the one that burned down Peter Romans home in Ohio that burned his wife and two children to death. Or, in the same blog post, we talked about the homeowner in Minnesota whose 2000 Ford Expedition was parked in the garage and, all on its own, burned down the house.

Well, even though millions were recalled to fix the defect in the cruise control system in millions of these Fords, many owners had sold their Ford to someone else and many ownership records at Ford were simply out of date. With no way to reach them, and with over 8 million Fords not fixed, federal safety officials decided to release another press announcement to warn the public.

We went to the local Lowe's one weekend last summer when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that anyone who owned a Ford pickup truck parked out front should go out to their vehicle right away because it was on fire. Sure enough, when we came out of the store, there was a fire truck parked near a Ford truck, still putting out the engine compartment fire that apparently erupted while the owner was inside shopping.

This danger is real. And it can be deadly. And there is no advance warning. It just bursts into flames.

The only way to know for sure that your Ford had the recall repair done is to take it to a Ford dealer and ask. They shouldn't charge you either.

Don't let it happen to you. If your Ford dealer gives you a runaround or any stall or delay,contact us or call us right away, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know what to do.

Here's a list of the affected vehicles.

1. 1993 – 2004 F150
2. 1993 – 1999 F250 (gasoline engine)
3. 1993 – 1996 Bronco
4. 1994 – 1996 Econoline
5. 1997 – 2002 Ford Expedition
6. 1998 – 2002 Lincoln Navigator
7. 1998 – 2002 Ford Ranger
8. 1992 – 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car
9. 1993 – 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
10. 1993 – 1995 Ford Taurus SHO with automatic transmission
11. 1994 – Mercury Capri
12. 1998 – 2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
13. 2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac
14. 1992 – 1993 and 1997 – 2003 Ford E-150-350 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
15. 2002 – E-550 gasoline engine vehicles
16. 1996 – 2003 E-450 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
17. 1994 – 2002 F-250 through F-550 super Duty trucks (gasoline engine)
18. 2000 – 2002 Ford Excursion (gasoline engine)
19. 2003 – F250 – F550 Super Duty, Ford Excursion
20. 1995 – 2002 Ford F53 Motor home chassis
21. 2002 – 2003 Lincoln Blackwood

Don't let it happen to you. If your Ford dealer gives you a runaround or any stall or delay,contact us or call us right away, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know what to do.

Burdge Law Office
www. US Lemon Lawyers .com
Helping People Protect Their Families from Flaming Fords Since 1978

Click here to see what your state's Lemon Law says.


Ford - the last one to the Battery Car Party

Nissan has its Leaf about to come out. Chevrolet, its Volt on the test track and almost ready to roll. And then there's all those other companies, like Tesla, that have had electric cars out for months already, if not years.

And then there's Ford, the last one to the party - if they get there at all.

Ford has announced that it has 5 battery powered vehicles "in the pipeline" but it only offers a hybrid gas saver for now. And the pipeline? Well that'll be two years from now, maybe. They're calling it a "slower entry" into the market. Yeah, that's like the speed that they implemented air bags too.

Our bet is that none of what Ford is saying is reality. More likely, it's "blue sky" hopes and wishes that all depend on just how well its competitors do to crack the market open in the first place. If their cars don't generate good market demand, you can likely see Ford's electric powered vehicle designs sitting on a shelf somewhere in two years.

But for now, Ford doesn't want the others to get all the press so they talk up their long-term plans that are so long term they don't have to be reality if the suits behind the blue oval change their mind.

Now that's real commitment, folks. It's also a good explanation for how we got so many Prius cars on the road too.


Toyota - Unsafe at any Cost?

Toyota's current ad campaign makes a statement that has gone largely unnoticed - but not by Ralph Nader.

Nader almost single-handedly launched the auto safety movement decades back in 1965 when he challenged General Motors with his book "Unsafe at Any Speed" and now he is taking on Toyota. He wants them to prove their latest ad claim, that they are spending $1,000,000 AN HOUR "to improve our technology and your safety."

By his calculations, Nader says, "That is an astonishing amount" that works out to $8.7 billion annually. Toyota's head of US sales, Jim Lentz, reportedly has agreed to answer Nader but it turns out that Nader isn't the only one scratching their head over Toyota's numbers. The New York Times asked earlier and got the vague answer from Toyota that the million dollar an hour comes from "all Toyota R&D spending globally, much of that allocated to new quality and safety technologies."

The whole problem, of course, comes from Toyota's attempts to come back from the disaster-public relations mess that arose from the October 2009 recall of over 9 million Toyotas for sudden acceleration and other safety problems.

So will Nader get a better explanation than the New York Times? Not likely, we bet.

Toyota's ad seems like something learned from the many highly misleading campaign ads that are running on tv more often the Toyota ads - if you believe any one side then you might as well believe the other side because all the politicians seem to be slinging the same misleading mud at each other. Personally, we don't believe any tv ads by any politician any more.

It all kind of makes you wonder if Toyota is using the same ad agency as the politicians, huh?

Changing Paper Would Save US $500 Million

With the federal deficit never ending and never lowering, there could be an easy way to make at least a half billion dollar dent in it. There is one thing they (or we) could do that would reduce the federal paperwork by over $522 million. It's simple. It's painless. And it's easy.

For the last decade the federal government has been trying to persuade Americans to make one simple change that would do it. Metal industry lobbiests and the vending machine companies got behind it.

The Government Accountability Office, the federal office that is the watchdog over all aspects of the federal government, was for it and released a report in April 200 that said it would save the government $522 million.

Citizens Against Government Waste, the folks who've been fighting congressional earmarks for years, released a report last Spring saying they were all for it. Anti-tax groups like Americans for Tax Reform gave it a thumbs up.

Heck, even the US Mint, the folks who make our money, are for it. Seems like everyone is for it but no one is doing it.

The government even spent $67 million dollars trying to get people to do it. This one simple cost-saving tip that would save the government what seems like an awful lot of money, but habits are hard to change and people just wouldn't change.

It's simple. Get rid of the dollar bill and use the dollar coin instead. The simple fact is that metal coins last longer than paper does. There's lots of wasteful spending going on in Washington, yes, but here's an example of something that you and I (and everyone else) can do right now to help stop it. Don't use dollar bills.

Now, I know that some folks are upset that when they came out with the presidential series of dollar coins some stupid designer took the "In God We Trust" phrase off the obvious face of the coin where it had been forever and put it on the coin's edge, but you don't reward one unknown person's stupidity by being stupid yourself.

In God We Trust was moved back to the coin's face in 2009 and it is still on the new dollar coins, it's just in smaller print. The rumor that it isn't on the coin at all is just a myth. And if that really bothers you, then the way to fix that is by writing a letter to all your federal elected officials and tell them to put it back on the front big and obvious.

Besides, there's plenty of those Sacagawea dollar coins (minted 2000-2006) you can use and even some of those Anthony dollar coins (minted 1979-1999) too.

Meanwhile, you can help our government save money by simply stop taking and using dollar bills. Your local bank has plenty of dollar coins for you to use. And if you really want to get adventurous and daring - well you might even start using two dollar bills too.

Neither political party may ever get around to cutting the federal deficit, but you help a little too.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers help themselves since 1978.