Every month in America, plenty of bizarre lawsuits get filed (like suing Jessica Simpson for baby snatching) but Indiana has had one strange May, with three ‘unique’ cases making national headlines.
The ACLU is stepping up to represent a Greenfield, Indiana police corporal attempting to exercise his constitutional right of speech. The police officer was attempting to exercise this freedom on his license plate through a vanity plate. Corporal Rodney Vawter had a sense of humor when he bought the vanity license plate “0ink” with the obvious humorous self-referencing slang “pig” for police officers. Vawter actually had acquired the license plate years ago, but only was recently denied renewal under a statute referencing Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) right to refuse vanity license plates for “offensive or misleading content”.
The suit beginning with Vawter has developed into a full class action suit against the BMV. The vague content restriction is not constitutional, according to Vawter’s attorney. In furtherance of confusion and unfair enforcement, Vawter’s choice to use a zero for the “o” in oink was as a result of “oink” already have been taken by another Indiana driver.
Archaic Law’s Last CallNot all lawsuits in themselves are bizarre; rather, some attempt to take down the bizarre status quo. One does not need to live in Indiana for long to become familiar with the rather odd way the state of Indiana micro-manages beer sales. The temperature of beer to be sold has long been regulated by Indiana, with cold beer being banned to consumers. However, chilled wines, containing higher levels of alcohol could be sold cold. This archaic unnecessary statute has recently been modified to permit liquor stores to sell beer cold. With this one-sided exception, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association has initiated a lawsuit to be treated equally.
Currently, alcohol ranks third for items purchased at convenient stores. However, according to store owners, if they are allowed to sell beer cold, the item would leap to the number two spot. This would lead to great gains for convenience stores, simplicity for consumers, constitutional fairness, and simply the abolishment of an outdated, silly law (Oklahoma is the only other US state which puts any sort of regulation on the temperature of beer).