Supposedly, this is a true story and was the 1st place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest. For a good time at the expense (as usual!) of the poor, beleaguered lawyers among us, keep reading.
A 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 a 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. Nevertheless, the judge stated 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 unacceptable fire, and was obligated to pay the claim.
Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 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 fine.
UPDATE: According to the invaluable Snopes website, this is an urban legend. It persists, like most of these legends, because we wish it were true.
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.