View Full Version : A Great Lawyer story:

Harold Acosta
02-15-2003, 12:25 PM
The following is a true story and was the 1st place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest...

A Charlotte, N.C., lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire, among other things. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason -- that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued....and won!

In delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated, nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be an "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires."


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

02-15-2003, 12:55 PM
Great story, Harold, but an urban myth. From www.snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com):

"Origins: This legend began its Internet life after it was posted to the newsgroup alt.smokers.cigars in early 1996, and it has continued to circulate as a "true story" in newsgroups and e-mail ever since, despite its having been identified as an "urban legend" when it was first posted. The version posted was, in fact, nearly identical to one that has been circulating since at least the mid-1960s...
"Insurance policies are generally written so that deliberate actions on the part of the policyholders cannot trigger payouts. Furthermore, destroying your own property isn't arson, as long as the act isn't intended to defraud anyone. If a court had already ruled that the insurance company was required to pay, then obviously no fraud was committed, and thus the burning could not be considered arson."

Harold Acosta
02-15-2003, 07:39 PM
I was just searching the internet for some legal advice, when I came upon the information. Thought it was funny, the lawyer getting "burned" for trying to be a smart a$$.

Anyway, if I had thought of it a little, the story was kind of "too good to be true."

Thanks for the clarification...

02-15-2003, 08:26 PM
Although that one is an ancient myth, it's still a good story.

02-16-2003, 08:28 AM
It is a good story. Like most good comedy, it has elements of truth in it or describes something or relates to something true about the subject. At a time when lawyers, the lawmakers and the courts can engineer multi-million dollar awards for getting scalded from hot coffee, and award paramedics compensation for emotional trauma resulting from responding to an vehicle accident (Coca-Cola truck rams school bus in Texas), the story is close enough.

However, I think you meant it is an urban myth, not an ancient one, snipershot. I don't think lawyers and the courts were so predisposed to towards absolving individuals of self-responsibility in ancient times. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

02-17-2003, 02:22 PM
Now thats a story with an appropriate ending.