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Ask Lola's Lawyer

by Adam Bobker


Dear Lola,

I am a professional dancer with the Tweedsmuir Arms Ballet. Last Saturday, I performed naked at the corner of Yonge and Dundas. After the show, I held out a hat for contributions. I had collected four dollars and change when Officer Hartawn snapped my wrists with cuffs. The ordeal at 52 Division lasted for hours. Then they dropped the charges! What do I do? Can I sue?

Signed, Mary-lou (Tweedsmuir, Ont.)


    Dear Mary-lou,

    Although he would have you think otherwise, the Rule of Law applies equally to both Officer Hartawn and you. While you can be arrested for public indecency, if your arrest was not based on reasonable and probable grounds that anything indecent was going on, then the arrest may have been illegal. Officer Hartawn may have assaulted you and you could sue. In order to prove your case, you could refer to the case of a University of Guelph student who fought for and won the right for Ontario women to go bare chested in public. You will have to appeal to the judge's sensibilities. If Her Honour finds that Officer Hartawn had no reasonable belief that "Ode to the World of Shoes" was obscene by community standards, and that he was just hassling you, then she may award you some damages. You likely wouldn't get a lot, but I say represent yourself and go for it.

Dear Lola,

My partner and I walked into a gallery the other day. On the wall, in front of anyone who cared to see it, was a photograph of me seriously getting it on with my partner's best friend at Bayview Village. I don't know how the photographer managed to find us, let alone take the picture. We certainly didn't give him our permission. He must have used a telephoto lens. My life is a mess! Can I sue?

Signed, Getting it on at Bayview Village


    Dear Getting it on,

    While you, your partner's best friend, and all the other patrons at Bayview Village have a constitutional right to privacy, it is only a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. The police cannot tap your phone or search your house without proper authority. But, if you and your partner's best friend are caught in flagrante delicto at the Restoration Hardware you likely don't have anyone to blame but yourselves. Try roses. Try poetry. Going to court is not likely going to help your cause.

Dear Lola,

A few months ago an amazing idea for an installation came to me in a dream. I told my pal Hank about it in detail over drinks at La Hacienda. Two months later, I went to see his show. It was the installation from my dream. He stole my dream. I feel violated. Can I sue? How much can I get?

Signed, Gossamer Polenski (from somewhere within the GTA)


    Dear Gossamer Polenski,

    Nice name. There is no property in ideas (or dreams). Although good ideas are in short supply, they are free as air - a common resource for all to use as they can and wish. Copyright only protects you once you express your idea in an original creative work. On the other hand, Hank may have had a duty to keep your idea a secret and not steal it for himself. That would depend on whether you told him about the idea in confidence or in rapture after the fifth pitcher of sangria. If a judge held that Hank had breached your confidence she may order him to pay over to you whatever money he made from having the installation in the show. I'm sorry, but I don't like your chances.


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Disclaimer: THIS COLUMN IS WRITTEN FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY. These situations are fictitious. Any similarity to one you know of is a coincidence. Every case is different. These are NOT legal opinions. YOU rely on the ADVICE contained in the answers at your own peril. IF YOU HAVE A REAL LEGAL PROBLEM CALL A LAWYER. (Adam Bobker is really a lawyer.)


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