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Game of thrones, the court case | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, January 21, 2022 @ 2:40 PM | By Marcel Strigberger

Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
This is a good a time as any to discuss the law of the toilet. In Italy. The Supreme Court in Rome awarded damages to a couple living in Liguria Region’s, Golfo dei Poeti, whose apartment neighbours, four brothers, installed a very noisy flushing toilet next door, interrupting the couple’s quality of life. The action started in 2003 and ended in 2022 after going through all three courts.

The trial judge threw out the case. The Appeals Court allowed the plaintiff’s appeal. I can just visualize the Notice of Appeal:

1. The learned trial judge erred in not finding the said toilet insanely noisy …”

Can such a case ever hit our courts? Why not? However, given COVID-19 and what we see happening these days with on again and off again court sessions, the plaintiff may incur delays in getting access to justice. I imagine of course this kind of case would be a priority. The chief justice’s direction might read, “The court will endeavour to give priority to matters involving serious criminal offences, urgent family law applications and noisy toilets.”

We get that. Then again with the growing backlog of cases, the matter may not be reached for trial until 2029. And even then, there may be impediments as parties may not be able to enter the courthouse unless they are fully vaccinated, having received booster number 14. And who knows whether booster 14 will even be effective against the latest COVID variant, Klingon? Perish the thought.

And since we still have the anachronistic availability of juries in civil matters, the year 2029 may look optimistic. No doubt most prospective jurors would be proud to say they performed their duty serving the cause of justice by sitting on a toilet case.

Incidentally, the town Golfo dei Poeti, or Gulf of Poets, is so named as many famous writers lived there, including Byron, Shelley and D.H. Lawrence, who penned Lady Chatterley’s Lover there. I wonder whether his story would have turned out differently had D.H. lived in the plaintiffs’ apartment with a rambunctious toilet disturbing him. I could see the plot deviating a bit with the hothead lover Mellors jumping out of bed in the midst of a passionate encounter, running over next door and pummelling the brothers with a toilet plunger. Badda bing badda boom. And he would probably get off scot free as his charges would get tossed out for delay.

As mentioned, the action ended in the Supreme Court in Rome. I guess all courts lead to Rome. And like Rome, this case was not resolved in one day. The court awarded the plaintiffs $714 Canadian per year from the start of the complaint, or $13,568 in total. Not that I sympathize with the defendants, but I think the court should have discounted the damages a bit as no doubt with COVID the brothers likely flushed the demon toilet a bit less often since at times there was a shortage of toilet paper. I looked carefully and saw nothing in the news article suggesting the defence lawyers raised this mitigating argument in their pleadings

Philosophically speaking, I wonder whether a toilet flushing in a forest makes any sound? Then again if you are in a forest, who needs a toilet? Just wondering. I digress.

Common sense would have expected this case to resolve and not take the path it did. When we think about the likely astronomical legal expenses incurred, both sides could simply have discussed sharing the costs of replacing the subject toilet. Presumably, the plumbers’ fees would have been less. Presumably.

Who knows? Then again as the Kenny Rogers song goes, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” Just maybe the brothers could not get themselves to drop that royal flush.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His just launched book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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