This week on The Outlaw Lawyer, Josh and Joe discuss the law and how it affects everything around us. And as always, here at The Outlaw Lawyer, our attorneys tackle all of the day's most urgent burning legal questions such as does a seller have to disclose if a home is haunted and can you be charged with murder for shooting a ghost?
That's all coming up next on The Outlaw Lawyer. Welcome in to The Outlaw Lawyer's Josh Whittaker and Joe Hamer, Whittaker and Hamer Law Firm. They're the managing partners of the firm. They're practicing attorneys here in North Carolina and offices conveniently located Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead City. I'm Morgan Patrick, Consumer Advocate. Each and every week we talk legalese, we get into the different topics, but we also provide, well, a service for you. If you have a question that you are facing legally and you need some answers, you can always call Whittaker and Hamer by dialing 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186, or you can email your questions to the show.
That's questions at TheOutlawLawyer.com. Gentlemen, welcome in. Good to see both of you. Well, I see Josh. We've got a remoting in, Joe. Yeah, you can't see me, man, but I look really good today.
I'm telling you, got a nice, fresh haircut yesterday, and feeling great, man. Well, Joseph, this is going to be our Halloween show. This is our Halloween-themed show, so once we get motivated enough and then get to our legal topics today, they will all be Halloween-themed cases. Did you see the script? Yeah, I did, man. The idea that I had for us to dress up in Halloween costumes and come in and film this, I thought it was a fantastic idea. You didn't seem very enthusiastic about it, man. I take you as someone who doesn't enjoy dressing up in costumes very much.
I don't, man. I was never a big Halloween kid. Halloween was just not a big holiday for me, and that's translated into adulthood. My kids get really pumped up for it. My wife is good at getting all the seasonal stuff done, and they enjoy it, which is good, but yeah, I've never been a scary movie guy. The Halloween just escaped me, which I always feel like I'm the downer on the show. I don't participate.
Yeah. We should work on that, man. You're like the Ebenezer Scrooge of Halloween, so what season do you like? Do you even like a season, or you just hate everything?
As a grown-up, we're lawyers, but we run a firm. I consider myself some type of a businessman, and I don't like business to be interrupted, so I shy away from all the holidays, but I guess if I had to pick one, I don't even know what I would do. Maybe Labor Day, where you just get a day off. Labor Day?
You don't have to do anything. That would probably be, man. You get no enjoyment from any holiday. You're telling me that. Well, it's nice to spend time with family, whatever the holiday is, you know? Well, then Thanksgiving. Yeah, Thanksgiving's a good Christmas holiday, I mean, you know. I feel like we need to paint me with a better brush on the show to represent me.
I really dig the stretch of... It's funny, because I don't necessarily... Every season kind of, when it comes in and it's fresh, you get that feeling, and it's a good thing, and then they all kind of wear their welcome out eventually, like the cold gets old, the heat gets old, but I really dig that stretch from starting with Halloween through Thanksgiving and to Christmas. It's a good home stretch of the year to bring it on home, and then by the time Christmas is over, I'm like, yeah, I'm over the cold, I'm over the dark, but I like Halloween, man. I'm a big Halloween person. I'm sorry you can't share my enthusiasm. Wow. I would have loved to have dressed up in a costume with you, but maybe next year.
That was going to be my question. I mean, obviously, Josh just rained on the entire parade. Yeah, he did. I was going to say, when you were a kid, was there a costume that you kind of gravitated to, did more than once, really enjoyed, or maybe that one Halloween where you just really knocked it out of the park? I don't think I had that, Joseph, what did you got?
Oh, man, I did this. We had one year, I remember this. I remember trick-or-treating around my grandma's house.
She lived in the Garner area. We went to her neighborhood, and I was playing Pee-wee football at the time, and I did this costume where I had a head and a helmet, and I pulled my shoulder pads up and made my head gone. So I spent the whole night. I couldn't see.
I was running into everything. I was a headless football player. I think that was probably the most solid Halloween costume I've ever done, I'd have to say. My kids are pretty creative with what they come up with. I got three boys, and they're very creative. But no matter what they want to be, they want to be the zombie version of it, right? I got one kid who wants to go as Josh Allen, but not Josh Allen, zombie time.
Zombie Josh Allen, yeah. I got one kid that wants to be Iron Man, but not regular Iron Man, zombie Iron Man. I like that, man.
It makes me happy that you haven't sat the joy and the enjoyment from your kids' love of the holidays, man. Let those kids have that. I don't know, though. I mean, think about it. They want to go as Iron Man.
Why don't you go as a dead Iron Man? Yeah. Yeah. They really give it their all, man. They really try to think it through, but the Halloween season to me, it's always like the beginning of, even though the games don't start until later, this is about the time we start getting preseason polls and stuff for college basketball, so being a lifelong North Carolina resident, I still have the love for college basketball in me, even though the games kind of changed a little bit, but as an NC State fan, preseason polls never really mattered to me. How'd they turn out in the preseason polls this year? I didn't see. I hadn't seen them.
I hadn't looked. Where are the Tar Heels? I think they've got everybody back, and they're bringing four or five alumni classes back to play on this team. I mean, they've got everybody back. Well, people just don't leave. You don't leave, Carolina. You stay forever and ever.
Classes are hard. Baycott's been there for 72 years now. It is a movie star. I remember him playing alongside Eric Montross. He backed him up.
Salvadori, Winstrom, what was that? Yeah, Carolina's number one, man, and it means a lot of things, but I think that the number one thing it means is the crushing weight of expectation. It's true. It's very true.
It's very true. It's tough, man. It's tough being a fan, you say it's tough being a fan of a good basketball team. It's not that hard, but it is tough in the sense that when you reach a certain level and there's a certain level of success that your team has attained, you're going to end almost every year in disappointment, right? Because if your aspirational goal is a championship, you're not going to do that very many times. So man, there's good and bad with pulling for a team that traditionally has success. I guess I can't judge you there.
You can't relate to that. I'm hoping this year that for NC State games, I can watch them and not be angry. I can watch them and we can at least, we won't be down like 25 out of the gate or anything. Yeah, be competitive, man. Like Duke football this year, man, that would be a good goal. Win some games and have hope. I think what you're trying to say, Josh, is you just want to go into every game with some semblance of hope.
That's right. I know we're not gunning for a national championship, but I'd like to be competitive, be able to enjoy the game, win some, lose some. But no, I think Duke football, you guys couldn't have asked for a better year. No, man.
I think it's vastly exceeded expectations. If you watch videos of Coach Elko talking to the team, that guy will have you ready, man. I'll come tackle you right now if he tells me to, Josh.
I'll drive to wherever you are and I will tackle you. I think we should warn the listeners, too. This week is just me and you, right?
So we don't have Cassandra and Nicholas is not with us, Taylor Smith's drugs, or Taylor Scruggs Smith not with us, and nobody else. It's just me and you. So if that's important to you as a listener, I just feel like we should, I feel like we should tell you that. But coming on for another segment, it's really just, it's just me and Joe the whole time. The managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer, the main hosts of this show.
It is going to be a rock star of a show. I like when we have a guest with us who they're usually, we were very blessed. They're all, most of our guests are attorneys at the law firm and they're attorneys at the law firm because they're very good and they're very, very, got attention to detail and things like that.
So it's always nice to have them as a resource. I just want to phone it in, man. You're not doing that today. You're not doing that on our Halloween special. It's our Halloween special.
So you need to get engaged. I just wanted to say our studio guests are kind of mesmerized by Josh. You know, he just, he takes control, you know, authoritative and, you know, Joe chimes in very sarcastic most of the time. I mean, yeah, it's, it's, it's pretty interesting to watch. All right. Halloween theme. So we have, uh, what would you call these spooky cases, Halloween theme cases?
What would you call these? Yeah, man. Spooky, spook. Can you, if you could put an effect on my voice, spooky cases. Now can you preview the first case and then we'll take it to break.
All right. So the first case that we are going to talk about after, after the break is Stam Bofsky V. Ackley, which was a New York state court of appeals case, uh, which talked about a house being haunted and, uh, does that have to be disclosed to a potential buyer? What, how does that affect a, a real property sale?
And so that was, uh, I think that's been in like the past 20 years. That's a more recent case, but in conjunction with that, we're going to talk about the rules in North Carolina for, uh, for a, for a haunted house. What does the seller have to disclose, not have to disclose. So there's a, uh, uh, there's a, our first spooky Halloweeny legal case topic. All right. Halloweeny.
I like it. The outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, the managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm, again, practicing attorneys here in North Carolina offices, conveniently located in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead city. So Josh, if you have a legal situation you're facing and you've got some questions you need answers to, you can always call the firm 800-659-1186 that's 800-659-1186, leave your contact information briefly what the call is about. An attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch and you can always email your questions to the show. We'll answer them on a future broadcast questions at the outlawlawyer.com.
We're back right after this. Welcome back into the outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer law firm are your hosts. They're practicing attorneys here in North Carolina offices, conveniently located Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and Moorhead city. I'm Morgan Patrick, consumer advocate. Each and every week we get into legal topics. We have these discussions. You may have a situation you're facing where you've got questions and you need some answers. You can always call the firm 800-659-1186 that's 800-659-1186, leave your contact information briefly what the call is about. An attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch and you can always email your questions to the show.
Questions at the outlawlawyer.com, we'll answer them on a future broadcast and check out the website, the outlawlawyer.com. Gentlemen, we're going Halloweeny. All right, yep, this is how, I don't know if that's a real word, that's how, that's, I like that word. That's a real word. It is now.
I was going to say it is now, but I'm guessing no before now. I'm making a firm legal ruling and we're going to go ahead and add it. A precedent. This is a, this is a Halloweeny case. And so our first case is again, anytime we talk about a case, we want to know what courts hearing it. I don't know if it's state or federal, but this is a Stambofsky, which I'm sure I'm mispronouncing, the Ackley. And this was a New York, this went to the New York state court of appeals. We recently had another New York state court of appeals case. I can't remember which one it was.
I think it was the- They got some good cases that way. I think it was the elephant. Is the elephant a person? Should the elephant, does the elephant have civil rights case?
You remember that one? Oh yeah. It's not, all right.
It's one of my, it's one of my favorite cases, man. See there. Or there, I guess. Stambofsky v. Ackley. So in this case, Ackley owned a house. I can't remember.
We're in New York. I can't remember what city or town we were in, but we're in New York and Ackley owned this house that according to local folklore, local legend was a haunted house. He had kind of advertised it as such.
I think they did some tours. There was, he had talked to local reporters, national reporters about the, how this, I don't think there was a, was this a poltergeist, I think I- Yeah. He, basically the seller himself is the one who put it out there that the house was haunted.
He's seen apparitions. He had really publicized that fact. So he really played it up and he owned his house for a while and then they put it on the market and listed it with a real estate agent, went on their, their local MLS listings there. And, and so Stambofsky was not from the area.
He was, he was moving in from, from out of town and had gone under contract on this house and then put down a deposit and then found out. And I didn't see how he finally found out, but he finally discovered- He probably just read, I mean, it was, it doesn't seem like this was a hidden fact, you know, it's just, he was coming from out of town. I think it was actually well known in the, in the area. And that's a, and I'm assuming it's a little bit of a smaller town.
So probably, you know, you know how small towns are, Josh. It probably got, got to him fairly, fairly quickly after it was known he was purchasing it. And so this, yeah, he didn't, he didn't have knowledge and so they had gotten, we won't go to, we won't drag a, drag everybody down into the contractual process.
But anyway, he's at a point where he can't really get out of the contract anymore. This was not ever disclosed to him. He discovered it and it was concerning enough where he decided he no longer wanted to, to buy this house. Didn't want to lose, you know, tens of thousands of dollars in deposits and inspections and all that good stuff. And so there was, he sued and in the trial court level, you know, caveat emptor buyer beware. At the trial court level, they said, Hey, this is on the, the buyer and the seller has no duty to disclose any of this stuff. In most States, the seller does have a duty to disclose some things, right? So in North Carolina, you know, you have to disclose material facts, right?
You know, if you know the plumbing, you know, is, is hanging on by a thread and, you know, at any moment it can, it can go and you've had problems before, you know, this is something that you would have to disclose. That's a material fact here. There's no, in, in, in New York anyway, there's no statutes. There's no case law. There's no rules.
There's no requirements that you disclose that you think your house may be habited inhabited by a poultry Geist. I suppose that's how you put that. Yeah. That's how you put it, man. It was good. Good way to frame it.
Right. So he said in the trial court said, Hey, you got nothing here, you know, denied, you know, you're gonna have to buy the house or lose the money or what have you lose your deposit. So he appealed it to the New York court of appeals and they, they kind of, they kind of, uh, went a different way. Did you see that? Yeah, I saw that, man.
The New York court of appeals is known for being a very ghost friendly, uh, court. Yeah. So they, they said they, you know, they, the courts kind of look at this two different ways. You know, you've got, you know, contract law, right under contract laws or any way I can get out of this. So you can make your arguments and sometimes the course will go to what they call like equitable arguments and be like, all right, well, as far as the contract goes, you're, you're stuck. Right. The seller didn't do anything wrong.
You're stuck. But sometimes they'll go and then take these equitable arguments where they're like, but in fairness, you know, should you have to do this? It's kind of like a last ditch effort where the court, uh, kind of wants to make things happen. And so the court here, they, they sided with, uh, with the buyer here. They sided with Stambowski and, uh, and, and rescinded the transaction, rescinded the contract, let them out of it.
I was surprised. Yeah, basically what they said is, you know, the fact that the seller was responsible for, uh, putting all this information out there, the seller's the one who, who created this reputation of the home as being haunted, uh, really publicized that as such, the seller basically can't now claim that the house is not haunted. And, uh, you know, they, they stepped in and said that, uh, it was that the seller, basically wherever the seller creates a condition that materially impacts the value of the contract and that condition is known by the seller, but it's not something that's likely to be discovered by the buyer.
The seller's non-disclosure gives the basis for that rescission. So basically the fact that the seller created this and it's not something that's going to be readily apparent to the buyer, uh, that's, that's where this ruling comes from, which, um, you know, it's like you said, man, it's interesting. It's an interesting decision and there were some classic quotes that the, uh, that were handed down by the court when they issued this decision. The, you know, I thought it was funny, you know, in a, we've talked about this before, but in a court of appeals case, you, you're, you're just in front of, uh, I would judges, but they're called usually called justices and you, you might have a panel of three, you might have a panel of seven, uh, every state's a little bit different, but, uh, you go before, uh, justices and they, they just rule, you're not retrying facts. There's not a jury. The court of appeals is just looking at what happened at the trial court level. And so here, you know, you had a majority agree that even though there was no foundation in law, just equitable, just, just rules of fairness, since like you said, Joe, the seller helped create this, this, this, uh, this issue, uh, this, this poultry heist, uh, our knowledge thereof that we're going to let the buyer out, there was a dissenting opinion.
So one of the justices were just basically like, no, this is an arms link transaction. The buyer has the responsibility to understand the quality of his bargain under the notion of caveat emptor. And so you hear that a lot. The buyer beware.
Yeah. And so that's kind of the standard. And I think that's the way it is in most States, um, but, uh, but not North Carolina, right? So in North Carolina, just to bring this back to, to local, you don't have a duty to disclose anything, uh, like that, you know, you don't have a, you don't have a duty to disclose, uh, a lot of things in North Carolina. It's really, you know, the buyer beware, the only time, the only things you have to disclose are things that amount to a material fact, you know, something that the buyer is not going to be able to discover even with inspections and things like that, that you're aware of. And so, and, and, and, you know, you hear that and you would think, well, haunting, you know, that's something that, how do you discover that? And, uh, but at the same time, the way it's looked at in North Carolina is that is not something that is, is considered a material fact in and of itself, but it, you know, material facts include, you know, facts of specific importance is what we call them.
So if it's something that a buyer specifically asks about and you have knowledge of it, then it can be considered a material fact. So if you know your house is haunted and you're asked that by the buyer and, and, and you represent to the contrary, then you could have an issue, but just a haunting in and of itself is not something that you would have to disclose. So you, anyone here that's listing a haunted house, you're going to be all right.
You're safe. Well, you know, between you and you and me, Joseph, no house is haunted, right? It's not a thing.
It's not, it's not a real thing that happens, right? You say that man, but, uh, funny enough, we bought, we just bought this nice, beautiful office in downtown Clayton. Very old, very old house. Very cool. Very cool, by the way. Very cool.
That's what I've never seen. Anyways, I had a buddy of mine, uh, just randomly hit me up. He found out we bought this. He was like, Hey man, it's like, I see you bought that this place. He was like, you know, we were looking at that for our office and, uh, and we were walking through it and, and the realtor was like, yeah, there's a ghost boy that lives upstairs and we completely noped out of it. As soon as they told us that no one disclosed that to us, Josh, that was before we purchased this.
That was not disclosed. Well, you know, I was going to say that you're North Carolina. We don't really, you know, I mean, North Carolina is a relatively new state.
We don't have houses that are 400 years old, 500 years old, right? You know? And, and I think, I think for something to be haunted and again, I'm no expert, but for something to be haunted, does it, there have to be a death in the house first?
Like I don't know what the rules are. I think usually, man, you know, I, uh, I was consulting, I did some, some, some, I watched some, some videos to prepare for this. Have you, there's a Casper, have you heard of Casper have, you know, yeah, he's a friendly ghost. Yeah, he's a friendly ghost, but I consulted, uh, and I think, yes, you have to have unfinished business. That's the one thing I've learned from Casper and, uh, generally, yeah, there'd have to be some kind of death in the house, man. So that's, that is correct.
Can I jump in? I just want to ask this question. You guys deal with real estate all the time, um, as, as a big part of your business with the firm. What about, what if there's a murder in a house? Is that, does that have to be disclosed? Uh, you know, you put me on the spot here, Morgan, but to my, to my knowledge, that, that kind of thing does not have to be disclosed unless it amounts, uh, it's kind of all that this kind of always the attorney's escape clause here, you know, uh, unless it amounts to a material fact. So, you know, if the house was like a crime scene that was shot up and a lot of work was done or some systems were damaged, you know, there are some fact patterns where it can amount to a material fact, but usually you don't have to disclose things like that. Yeah. I think it's, I think it's basically like the situation with the haunted house, right?
It's not, unless it impacts some kind of system, uh, you don't necessarily have to disclose it unless you're specifically asked. So mate, you know, maybe add that to your list of things you asked, is this a murder house? That's a good, you know, that's a good place to start or, or take it a step further. Is there a ghost boy living in the attic? That could be a question. Well, you posed two large guys, aren't you just a little bit curious about the ghost boy and maybe investigate the history of the home. Yeah. I mean, that's the thing. I don't think I think my family actually lived here at one point, like distant relatives, and I don't think there was any ghost boys.
Maybe it's a, it's just a tiny ghost man that they confused for a boy. That's possible. Right.
That could be a thing. The, uh, I've never heard that. So I've never heard that.
It is, uh, it's one of the older, the older houses in Clayton, I believe. So I mean, I guess it's old enough to where something could have happened. But, uh, I've never heard that. Never at all.
Yeah. And I have not, I've yet to see the ghost boy. No, no ghost boy interactions. I tell you the place we, we came from our old office was actually an even older building than this building. And that place, that was, that place was creepier to me personally than, than this place now. But maybe next Halloween we do like a, we do a show at night. We'd maybe do a seance, um, you know, maybe we take it to the next level and see if we can get this ghost boy on the air with us as our special guest.
Well, we'll have to work that out. Hey, I was going to tell you too, you know, there's a, I don't know, there's a Simpsons, right? There's a Simpsons where, where Marge becomes a real estate agent. Do you remember that one? Have you seen that?
No. And she sells, she sells a house to Ned Flanders, but they end up, it's a murder house and she's got all this guilt. She doesn't disclose it to, to the Flanders family and they put. So is that, is that one of the, what's the, what do they call the Simpsons Halloween episodes?
The tree house of horrors. Is that it? That is not one of those.
That is a regular. We've been watching all those. So you like those? Like you'll watch those. So you have some interest in this, in the season and I really, it's about it.
It's just cause it's Simpsons that you like it. That's all. Yeah, probably. All right, guys, the outlaw lawyers, we're going to take a short break. We're back.
It's the Halloween edition. We're going to get into some more issues out there. Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer are the managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer law firm, the power behind the outlaw lawyers. We're practicing attorneys here in North Carolina offices, conveniently located in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verena, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead city. If you have a legal situation you are facing, you can always get answers to your questions by calling the firm 800-659-1186 that's 800-659-1186 leave your contact info briefly what the call is about and an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch and you can always email your questions to the show questions at the outlawlawyer.com.
We're back right after this. Welcome back into the outlaw lawyers. Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners Whitaker and Hamer law firm are your hosts. They're practicing attorneys here in the great state of North Carolina offices, conveniently located in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Verena, and Gastonia as well as Moorhead city brand new in Moorhead city. I'm Morgan Patrick consumer advocate each and every week we talk legalese, little bit of a Halloween edition, scary edition of the show.
If you've got questions you're facing when it comes to legal, you can always contact the firm by calling 800-659-1186 that's 800-659-1186 leave your contact information briefly what the call is about and an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch and again you can always email your questions to the show questions at the outlawlawyer.com and check out the website the outlawlawyer.com guys. Before we continue our Halloween episode of the outlaw lawyer and I really hopefully Morgan you've got plans and post to put a lot of scary noises in here. Yeah, we should definitely do that.
I feel like some Scooby Doo noises is what we need. But I do want to encourage, you know, if you listen to the show, if you have any comments on the show, good, bad suggestions, you know, give us a call, shoot us an email, again if we can help you with anything or you have a legal matter that's pressing that you need attention to, our attorneys are always happy to hear from folks and we had a lot of calls last week. I don't know what we did last week to encourage but our calls doubled last week so we reached out to a lot of folks and had some good conversations and had some folks that did need legal help, legal representation and the firm was able to take that on and assist. So we are here to help so definitely don't be afraid to call for any reason or no reason. You can just leave us a message and like I said we're always open for suggestions, things to talk about. We can't, they can't all, we can only have one Halloween episode a year so this is, can't do this every week. So we do appreciate when folks do call in and like I said we like to talk to people, we try to talk to everybody who calls in so always happy to do that but Joseph, what's our next case?
I like that man. You can call for no reason. I'm anticipating we just get a lot of calls of people just breathing heavy. Try to call. Call us and breathe into the phone. Joe, what are you, what are you doing in your spare time?
Heavy breathing? Oh man, I think it's the ghost boy, the ghost boy here who has me shook. Hey man, Josh, you did, you prepared this show for us, you know, you didn't want to dress up but you did do the legwork on this preparation and this one you found is a fine, this is a fine case, man.
I wanted it to give you kudos for it. This is an old, old, old case. This is early 1800 so this is coming out of, this is coming out of Britain, this is coming out of the London area but this is one, I think even in law school when we were like we were in school and law school back in the day, back in the olden days and it was Halloween and they wanted to kind of present something that was a little, a little Halloweeny. This is one that came up. So this is the criminal trial of Francis Smith and again this is from the early 1800s but this is, this is one that was the basis of one of our questions here.
This is can you be found guilty of murder for shooting a ghost? So that was one of our intro questions. This is where it comes from. So here we had someone, what was this guy's name? I got this man.
I got this. It's 1803 in the town of Hamersmith and the village is terrorized by a ghostly figure that appears in all white and scares the town's folks. And so yeah, so the villagers and travelers have all claimed that they've seen this ghastly figure dressed in white that attacks them in the fog in the night. Like we're in England, right? It's foggy always and it's always dark and dreary and so you've got the townspeople and you've got people passing through and they're all getting, getting attacked by this, this, this white figure, this spirit, right?
So that's the setting and this is, this is like a thing that has really captivated everybody. Everybody's aware of it and it becomes such a thing that they basically put together a neighborhood watch and you know, they're not all, you know, it's the 1800s. I don't know if people were more inclined to believe in the supernatural back then. They didn't have the internet, so that could have contributed, but the townspeople basically come up with the logical conclusion that this is just a person, right? That's dressing up in a sheet and going out and terrorizing the people. So they, they develop like a neighborhood watch and, and never have any success, right?
They never have success with, with these patrols they're doing to, to really capture this, this person or this entity. And so at one point there's this gentleman, Thomas Millwood, he's a bricklayer, he lives in the town and he goes out, he goes out on the regular and this very nice outfit that's, that's basically all white. So he's got like white trousers, it's very unfortunate these events, man, but everything he's wearing is white and his family actually has warned him because you know, it's so well known that there's this, this ghost out there doing these things or this person pretended to be a ghost and his family's like, look man, you, you look like a ghost.
Don't go out into the fog, put a coat on, do something different. Don't wear your white clothes because you're just asking for trouble, right? And so little, would you know it? He goes out, he's got his white on, he doesn't put the, he doesn't put a coat on. He is, he's walking down black lion lane and he is mistaken for the ghost. And Francis Smith, the person we mentioned at the beginning, actually he's a customs officer and it said that he, he had gotten frustrated with the lack of success of neighborhood watch groups finding this ghost. So he kind of takes it into his own hands and just starts camping out like in a deer blind, just looking for a ghost. So he actually, he actually shoots and kills Mr. Millwood who is mistaken for the ghost and that kind of sets the stage for this case.
Yeah. And so, so I think it's important, Mr. Millwood here wasn't doing anything, right? He wasn't acting menacing, he wasn't chasing, he wasn't chasing Mr. Smith here. He wasn't, he was just, I think the term I saw was lying in wait.
Mr. Smith took Mr. Millwood as a ghost lying in wait about to do something. And he shot him, as my kids would say, he straight up shot him. He did.
Right in the mouth it sounds like. It's like a really, he mentioned Scooby Doo earlier, man, this is a really messed up episode of Scooby Doo where Fred just pulls out a gun and blasts the old caretaker dressed up in the mask. So he went on trial for murder, right? Mr. Smith shot a man who wasn't doing anything wrong, wasn't, maybe didn't make the best decisions, the safest decisions, dressing all white and going out, but hadn't done anything wrong, hadn't assaulted anybody, hadn't menaced anybody. And Mr. Smith asserted the defense of self-defense, right? So that's a, that's a defense to the act of murder that you're acting in your own defense, you're acting in self-defense. And the court didn't buy that.
They said, you know, Mr. Millwood's not doing anything wrong. You know, you're what you believe, you know, and this kind of echoes till today, you know, if you go take your concealed carry permit class, they're going to spend a lot of time talking on, you know, self-defense, defensive others, you know, your subjective, subjective belief as to what's going on, doesn't Trump what's actually going on, right? So if you see two people in the fight, you come to the rescue of the one you think's the victim. But it turns out that's just the aggressor and you get involved and you hurt, harm, stop, kill the wrong person.
Well, guess what? What you thought was happening doesn't, doesn't matter. It matters what's actually happening. And so here, his, his, his, what I would call crazy, subjective belief that that Mr. Millwood was a ghost, lying in wait, didn't matter.
That's not a, that's not a, it doesn't sound like a defense at all. I guess back then, maybe it was a little bit different. I think people were harder to trick back then. But yeah, man, I think what I've taken from this case personally is that if, if, if the ghost boy does happen to show himself, I can't shoot first and ask questions later, you know, and this is the thing, man, he just blast this guy. Like there was no report of anyone being harmed by the ghost, really, you know, it was kind of just terrorizing the people running after him. No one was actually injured.
So that's pretty drastic response. And the other thing, man, I'm not a crime scene investigator from the 1800s, right? But it says that he shot him literally through the mouth. He shot him through the mouth and it talks about how it was dark, it was foggy, he couldn't really make him out.
Pretty crazy coincidence there, Josh, yeah, you know? You know, the little summary of the case that we have in front of us, it says that for the deceased, Mr. Millwood was obviously killed, that his spirit still lingers in the town pub. And so talking about unfinished business, but I'm not a big guy who believes in things being haunted and things like that. I think it's all, you know, kind of, kind of made up, you know, like our, I guess the Clayton office's ghost boy, somebody just made that up, right? And then it just, it just takes on a life of its own, you know?
Yeah. So this guy, you know, he gets killed and that does not kill the ghost. You know, the ghost actually continues to appear. But eventually enough publicity about this death gets around that it's John Graham, who's a local shoemaker, actually steps forward and claims responsibility for being the ghost. And he says that he became the ghost and started scaring villagers to get revenge on his apprentices after they told his kids scary ghost stories.
So that's some Scooby-Doo stuff right there, man. It's nonsensical. And it just doesn't, it doesn't make any sense. But anyway, people had a lot of free time back in the 1800s is what I've determined from this. But some of this, this is a British case from the 1800s and, and, you know, the US common law, when we, when the US court systems first got started, we brought over a lot of common law. So if you hear people talk about the common law, it's just kind of the underpinnings of the law. And that, a lot of that came from Britain. So a lot of these ideas about self-defense and, you know, subjective terminations of what's going on.
And when you're in danger, not really mattering, you know, that comes from there. So it's a very old case, very Halloweeny, but still relevant. So that's, that's about as good as we can do for a Halloween case. The Outlaw Liars, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm. Again, Whitaker and Hamer, the power behind the program, the Outlaw Liars. They're practicing attorneys here in the great state of North Carolina offices in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Gullsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and Moorhead City. We are having kind of a holiday edition for Halloween or Halloweeny.
And we'll talk more when we come back. The Outlaw Liars, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm, offices conveniently located in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Gullsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead City. Our practicing attorneys here in North Carolina. I'm Morgan Patrick, consumer advocate.
We hit the legal topics each and every week. If you've got a situation you're facing and you need answers to some of your legal questions, you can always call Whitaker and Hamer 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186. Leave your contact info briefly what the call is about and an attorney with Whitaker and Hamer will be in touch.
You can email your questions to the program. We'll answer them on a future show and we'll keep you anonymous. Questions at the outlawlawyer.com. Gentlemen, more Halloweeny.
So Joseph, before we get into any more Halloweeny type cases, I was preparing for the show and I was doing some Googling and I was trying to find like the best all-time TV legal sitcom drama, but you know, legal TV show, best Halloween episodes. Okay? Okay. That's what I was trying to look for. It doesn't exist. That list does not exist. Anytime I'm Googling something that I think should probably, somebody should have done it and anyway, so we got to put that together and I don't know how we're going to do it.
So we're going to, we're developing an outlaw lawyer TV show for this purpose? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, we're going to, we got to develop the list. Oh, the list? Okay.
We got to put the list together. What if there's just no episodes that deal with it? Well, surely there are. There are. Night Court had a ton of them.
Right? I can tell you that from personal experience. I believe, trust me, if I'm going to believe anybody about Night Court, it's going to be you. But I was trying to, I was trying to look at it because the one that I was thinking about, you know, there's a, there's a, we talked about Treehouse of Horror, The Simpsons. There's an episode where it's the devil versus Homer Simpson. I'm sure you've, I'm sure you're familiar with it.
Yes, yes, certainly. But Homer Simpson purports to sell his soul to the devil. The devil is Ned Flanders in this Treehouse of Horror, but he, he sells his soul for a donut. The devil comes back to collect and they have a, they have a trial, right? Because Homer, Homer doesn't want to go to, go to, go down there with the devil. But anyway, so they have a whole trial and, and, and Homer ends up winning because he had already pledged his soul to, to Marge before they got married.
So he couldn't then convey his soul to the devil because he no longer own it. He had given it. So it's a nice little, you know, it's a nice little, I'm taking, that's going to be number one on your list. Spoiler alert.
Oh, I think that is. Number one on the list. Even though it's not a legal show, but, but anyway, that list needs to be developed. Maybe someone out there listening can get to it before we get to it. But there needs to be a top 10 list of TV sitcom slash dramas that deal with a legal topic or trial with a Halloween theme and they're out there and there's things.
Yeah. Maybe that'll be in place by next Halloween. So it'll make our show planning easy to do, make it even more Halloween-y. But in my searching now, there are lists right there already, and this will make this job easier. Somebody, the people have already compiled like just, you know, alphabetical list of every TV sitcom, drama, Halloween episodes, right? So you can look up, you know, if you want to see every Halloween episode that, that night court had, you can, you can look that up.
Now they're not ranked in any shape or form or they haven't been subdivided in any way. But one of the things that really surprised me and there's no discussion that goes with this, I just want to share it. Cause I didn't know it existed. You know, growing up in the eighties as a big Knight Rider fan, Knight Rider, you're from Knight Rider? Knight Rider.
Hasselhoff. Okay. Yeah. It was very, it was, it was about the time. I know the theme.
I know the theme. There was a, there was a time in the eighties where machines that talked like took over everything, right? There was, what was the one with the helicopter?
Helicopter rider. What was, what was the, Morgan, what was the air, air wolf? Air wolf. That sounds pretty sweet actually.
Never I've literally never in my life heard of it, but it has Jan Michael Vincent. Yeah. Air wolf. It was big. It was big time, man.
It was big time. I believe you. I mean, it, it, it stopped airing before I was born. So you can't blame me, but Knight Rider had a Halloween episode and I can't for the life of me, remember it. So later today I'm going to hunt it down and watch it. I'm assuming it's out there somewhere and I can, I can get it.
Look at you, man. Getting in the spirit, watching thematic TV shows. It was called the Halloween night. I just Googled it myself.
It's the benefit of being remote, having my research available for me. So I just wanted to share that with everybody just so everybody else knew and fans of the Knight Rider who may or may not remember that there was a Halloween episode can enjoy that this Halloween. You know, you've got that going for you. So we got this whole, we're going to run out of time, but we got this whole list of cases that are, that are, that are Halloweeny. Joseph, what's the first one you want to talk about? You know, this is the cigarette slip up as it is called. And this, this isn't necessarily a spooky, I guess it's spooky if it happens to you, but basically you had a gentleman Frank for, for Lido. He attended a costume party. He was dressed, dressed up as his wife was little Bo Peep and he was her sheep and he spent all this time man making this, this fantastic sheep costume out of Johnson and Johnson cotton balls. And at some point during the party, Mr. Furlito, he, when he drinks, he likes to have a cigarette, right?
Not an uncommon. So Mr. Furlito probably had a couple of drinks, man. He lights up his cigarette and unfortunately his entire costume catches on fire.
So he suffers burdens as a result and the Furlito family ultimately sues Johnson and Johnson for a failure to warn of this consequence. And please tell me they lost. They did. They did.
They did lose, but not for, not for the reasons you probably want them to lose. They did not testify. There was not evidence presented that a warning on the package would have, would have deterred them from using the cotton balls to create the costume. Uh, so, so assuming that Johnson and Johnson failed to properly warn their consumers that cotton balls were in fact flammable, uh, here it didn't cause, it wasn't the proximate cause of the damage.
Uh, cause there was no evidence presented that that would have stopped. Uh, and, and I never read, I mean, who reads the warnings on the, on cotton balls? And I mean, I guess somebody does.
I don't know. Josh, you're not a rocket scientist, man, but I have to imagine that you don't, you don't need a warning to tell you that you don't start puffing a sig with cotton balls. I was going to say, if you're doing a homemade costume, you're thinking to yourself, okay, is this going to be, you know, possibly a fire hazard?
I need to be at least aware of it. I can see people at that party, man, seeing this dude just lit on fire and like, Oh my God, that's an amazing costume. Like, how did he, that's incredible. Is that part of it? What?
The flames? Well, he survived, right? So he was obviously, but I always think about that. That person coming into my office, you know, and we, we try to take everything serious or you make a consultation with us, we're going to sit down with you and kind of talk through your problems. But like the attorney, they got really jazzed about that case, you know, like, Oh man, yeah, we're going to get them this time. I always think about the, who was the attorney's name on Seinfeld? What was that guy's name? You know, I'm talking about Seinfeld, the attorney that took all Kramer's crazy cases. I don't know his name, but I know what you're talking about. I know Jackie something. Anyway, uh, that's the, that's the attorney I picture anytime. Like I read one of these cases and I'm like, what attorney took this case? And like, you know, thought we got another one, man.
Let's do another one real quick. We got, uh, the broken nose nightmare. Basically you had a lady who went into a haunted house. Uh, you know, you go into a haunted house, you know, you might be scared while you're inside. That's the reason you go, right? So she's walking through the house.
Somebody jumps out of the dark and hollers at her and, uh, she gets startled, turns, begins to just sprint away, smashes face first into something, breaks her nose. So that's the basis of this case. A lot of those haunted houses, I mean, they have you sign a lot of them, you know, have you signed the waiver when you go in, right? And you can select, I've never been to one.
So we got to talk about future episode. Maybe next Halloween we talk about there's this place, McKinney manner, and we can't get into it now, but it's basically, it's a haunted house where you sign like a 50 page all inclusive waiver. They can do anything to you. And literally no one's ever made it through it period ever. Cause they just, it's just like they torture you.
So they have, they have a cash reward if you make it through, right? It's a pretty, yeah, it's like 20, I want to say 25,000 maybe that I'm just throwing that out there, but literally no one's made it. And then you hear people talk about it and it sounds like the dumbest, the second dumbest thing we've talked about next to lighting yourself on fire in a cotton ball suit. Is that a local place or is that like a national, I think since San Diego, but, uh, it's, it's, it doesn't sound, it does not say, you know, Halloween's not for you in general, Josh.
I can say confidently that this place is not for you. But like, if you really enjoyed, like you seem to like Halloween, I guess you wouldn't do that either. Right? Nah, I mean, this isn't even like they're jumping out and scaring you like a ghost. They're like the tying people upside down and waterboarding them and shocking them with cattle prods. Like that's not even that scary, man.
It's just like, what are you doing? Yeah. Read the, read the fine print when you sign those things. Just be careful.
Yeah. Anytime, anytime you go to like a haunted house or, uh, I've even seen some of the corn mazes do it, but like trampoline parks, any of that stuff you're signing a waiver, right? You just, uh, but, but, but here.
In this case, yeah, she wasn't, she wasn't successful because, uh, she should have expected to be surprised, startled, or scared by the exhibits. And here, I don't even think there was a waiver in this case, but I think most of them nowadays, they have some sort, even if it's like a short little waiver, you know, just giving you a heads up and, and, and it's hard to sue someone when you sign a waiver saying you're not going to sue in general. It is hard, but you can still do it.
It's just, it's not very easy. Well, we've got a few more cases we're going to get to on the other side. The outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, Whitaker and Hamer law firm, they're the managing partners there.
And again, the power behind the outlaw lawyers is Whitaker and Hamer. If you've got a legal situation that you're facing and you've got questions outside our Halloween episode, now you can always call the firm 800-659-1186. That's 800-659-1186.
Leave your contact information briefly. What the call is about an attorney will be in touch with you from Whitaker and Hamer. And you can always email your questions to the show. We'll answer them on a future broadcast, questions at the outlawlawyer.com.
We're back to wrap it up right after this. The outlaw lawyers, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer, managing partners, Whitaker and Hamer law firm offices in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Goldsboro, Fuquay, Varina, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead City. They're practicing attorneys here in North Carolina.
I'm Morgan Patrick, consumer advocate, and we talk legalese each and every week. And this week we're spending some time on Halloween, some interesting cases that are out there. Josh? Joseph, are you a big haunted house guy? Do you hit the haunted houses this time of year? I don't, man.
I don't because none of the people that I like and that I'm friends with care anything about it. Like you, Josh. Like you wouldn't go. And I'm not going to go by myself, man. That's just weird.
A random guy just showing up. I can see that Josh and Joe holding hands, walking through a haunted house. Terrific.
Yeah, we should do that live streaming for the people. And I think that would be great, man, but you don't like my ideas, Josh. But I'll tell you what is fun, man.
This is unrelated. But what is fun is if you've ever and you probably wouldn't like this because you know, you don't like anything. But if you did like things, being being like an actor in a haunted house, we did a charity one and back in college and in the great the great city of Wilson, North Carolina.
And there was an old abandoned mall that got shut down. The police department put this thing on and they got college kids to come and like participate. That's a lot of fun, man. Scaring people.
A whole lot of fun. Anyways, back to this McCamey Manor thing because I just got the wheels turning. So you know, my understanding is this place is they offer us a twenty thousand dollar price, right? Cash.
No one's ever won it. It's free to go. It's free to like give them dog food is what you do. You don't even pay to get in. And what do you think the wait list is for this place, Josh, for people to go and basically get tortured?
What do you think? Take a guess. All right. A month.
Twenty four thousand people on the wait list. God. Yeah.
Yep. So but yeah, no one's ever made it, man. I think you have to last you have to last 10 hours, I believe it is.
I think it's a 10 hour and I don't know that anybody's gotten through a couple. But again, like they will literally just start beating you, like just be they'll shave your head. Like I said, the water boards you like it's not it's not a it's not a fun time, man.
It doesn't sound like a very fun time, but but I think I think the viewers, the listeners, I think they'd love to see you go and give it a shot, man, if we can bump you to the top of that list. So why do you why do I'm sorry, maybe this is so why do people do it then? It's the money. They want the money. But no, I think it's a combination of there's some just there's just people out there who are some people that are into that kind of thing, right? And even people who are into that kind of thing aren't making it very long. But then it's the money. I think it's the I think, you know, people sit there and they think, like, I can do anything for 10 hours to get 20 grand. I think that's part of it. And some people are just thrill seekers, man.
Why do people jump off of buildings with wingsuits like, you know, there's there's just some people out there that they need that adrenaline rush. My whole life as a lawyer, you know, when I give advice to people, my whole my whole career is built on like people not like clients not being surprised, like not having surprises planning estates, right, doing your state plan, you know, planning out litigation, preparing for pitfalls. Everything that I do is built on not being surprised.
So I like to go home and watch the same shows I've always watched the same people I've always been around. No surprises for me, man. Well, you're not going to be surprised if you go to McCamey Manor, because it says right here, number 36 in the contract talks about them potentially pulling your teeth out or pulling your nails off. So you would know like what's coming potentially. Yeah, somebody was telling me here recently, they had been to a local kind of haunted house, haunted farm, but there was a there was it wasn't like that, obviously.
But there were there were some extra options, right? So you could sign up for the where they could they could do stuff to you. You know, I don't know. It was scary, but kind of I don't know if ruffy ups the word, but you know, I'm fighting. I'm fighting a teenage kid that puts his hands on me in a haunted house.
Yeah. How do you they're going to have to they're also going to have to sign a waiver if I'm signing a waiver and how much money, man, how much cash for you to let this McCamey guy pull one of your teeth, man? None. There's no there's no amount. It'd have to be millions.
I have to like for undergo something like that. I'd have to for one million, dude, you would like for one million. I bet you're letting this guy pull one of your teeth right now live on the air.
Probably for one million. Yeah. Is it a tooth?
That's kind of bad anyway. He gets to pick the tooth, man. You know, he's picking.
He's going to pick the front one. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.
Like a hockey player. Then though you look cool with one tooth out. Look, you know, we encourage folks to give us a call. Do not call me about drafting your waiver for your haunted house where you want to also be able to assault people and I don't want to do it. I don't have.
I don't have a good template for that. I don't want to do it, but it, but anyway, so these Halloween cases, you know, the thing I thought about these Halloween cases is they're kind of crazy, but they also still, you know, still apply today. Right. You know, they actually have some relevance. They're not just Halloween need to be Halloween.
They have relevance and some of them are still used today. You know, I tell you, it's always fun to get into seasonal topics. And we were Halloween today this week on the Outlaw Liars, Josh Whitaker and Joe Hamer. They are the managing partners at Whitaker and Hamer law firm practicing attorneys here in North Carolina offices, conveniently located in Raleigh, Garner, Clayton, Gullsboro, Fuquay, Verena, Gastonia, and now in Moorhead city. They are practicing attorneys again here in the great state. And if you have any legal situation that you're facing and you've got questions, you can always call the firm 800-659-1186 that's 800-659-1186.
You can also just leave your contact information briefly what the call is about and they will be in touch. You can email your questions to the show, we'll answer them on a future broadcast, questions at theoutlawlawyer.com. Another great show in the books, we'll see you on the radio next week. Outlaw Lawyer is hosted by an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina. Some of the guests appearing on the show may be licensed North Carolina attorneys. Discussion of the show is meant to be general in nature and in no way should the discussion be interpreted as legal advice. Legal advice can only be rendered once an attorney, licensed in the state in which you live, had the opportunity to discuss the facts of your case with you. The attorneys appearing on the show are speaking in generalities about the law in North Carolina and how these laws affect the average North Carolinian. If you have any questions about the content of the show, contact us directly.
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