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Don't Do That: A Harrowing "Ask A Lawyer" Lightning Round

Welcome back to Ask a Lawyer, wherein I, a lawyer, respond to your questions. Got a vexing legal issue? Send it over, or drop it in the comments below. Today, we’re tackling the weirdest emails we’ve gotten so far, all at once. Let’s hit it.

I am a 26-year-old man living in Michigan. I have a 17-year-old coworker who really wants me. Is it legal for me to have sex with her? Thank you for your time.

You can easily track this issue state-by-state here, which also links to at least one relevant Michigan statute (I’m certainly not touching this part of the question). Assuming you determine that you won’t run afoul of your local and state laws for sexual consent, please also consider a universal law that applies to you and your coworker: Don’t shit where you eat.

A few years ago, I loaned a friend money every so often when he was in a rut. His marriage was crumbling, and he’d give me sob stories about how he couldn’t get his kids Christmas gifts, etc. He owes me $5,000. I am getting to my wits’ end about it—I don’t want to lose a friend, but honestly, I’d rather have the money. Also, he recently moved back home, so he doesn’t even live near me anymore. (I live in NYC.)

We never signed an agreement; all I have are saved texts, Gchat convos, and bank statements that corroborate when money was withdrawn from my account to when he asked for it. Is there any way this is enough if I took him to Small Claims Court or regular court to get my money back? What if I got him to agree to sign something now that said he owes me X amount?


Can you take him to Small Claims Court? Sure. Is your “evidence” usable? Possibly: It depends on the judge and the details of the documents. Would a settlement agreement work? Yes, and that may also save your friendship, so start with that. Also, stop showering your friends in usury money without at least an agreement written on the back of a cocktail napkin from the bar where you got drunk enough to agree to it in the first place.

I was named executor of my still-living parents’ wills many years ago, and we are now estranged, and I do not speak to them, because they are both emotionally abusive, somewhat crazy, and currently enabling the hell out of my addict brother. I would like (that’s an understatement) to be released from the responsibility of executorship, and ensure that I will not be required or asked to carry out their wishes or handle their estate in any way upon their deaths. Can this be done legally with a letter? Do I need a lawyer’s assistance to officially / formally / legally relinquish this role? We all live in North Carolina. Let me know if you have questions or need more gory details. Thanks in advance.

Boop: Here’s N.C. Statute § 28A-5-1 - Renunciation by executor. Why would I want gory details? Definitely consult an in-state attorney on this one—you don’t want to get caught up in your ghost parents’ craziness.

Is it legal to take your grandkids from their mom and get custody without her being notified of court date????


I don’t know where you’re located, so I can’t answer definitively, but don’t do that. Also, I am certain that it’s not legal to use that many question marks in any U.S. state.

I’ve been selling jerseys that I’ve bought from China on classified sites; they appear authentic, but are not. I call them replicas. What kind of trouble can I get in for selling them to people?


Are these sites classified by the U.S. government or the Chinese government? Are you cleared for that level on either side? Are you really a double agent? Are you looking to be the new Edward Snowden? What makes a jersey “not authentic”: the lack of one sleeve or neck hole, making it not by definition a real shirt? If they are replica jerseys, are they in 1:18 scale? What kind of trouble are you looking for? Did I answer your questions thoroughly and in a way that ensures you have no follow-ups?

Does a “stay back 200 feet, not liable for damage” warning on a truck mean anything more than the owner of the truck-hauling company is an asshole? I’ve looked this up online before and found ... nada. It doesn’t seem to me that when I’m on a public road (or a private road, for that matter), I’ve agreed to a contract with the driver of said Huge, Dirty Truck. If they are dumping rocks all over the place, and it’s damaging my windshield, does that sign (which you can’t read until you’re within 10 feet anyway) do any good?


Generally, drivers of trucks are responsible for damage just like any other driver. That said, if you run into one asshole trucker on the road, that trucker is probably an asshole. If you’re running into asshole truckers on the road all day long, then maybe you’re the asshole.

So, I should say that I’m a lawyer myself, but the question is outside my expertise, and I’ve gotten conflicting advice from some colleagues I’ve confided in. In a nutshell, I fucked my paralegal. I knew it could get me fired, but I did it anyway. She eye-fucked the shit out of me in the interview, and didn’t waste any time once she started here in letting me know she was interested. So, an after-dinner beer turned into an all-night fuck session at her place.

I told her that she couldn’t tell anyone and that we couldn’t have a relationship, because I’d get fired once it came out. We did it on the down-low for about two months. She didn’t really believe that it was that big a deal and pushed for a relationship. I basically told her that we had to stop seeing each other, and she didn’t take it well, but she didn’t tell anyone. She left the firm for another job after a few months of a completely awkward work environment. It’s been about a year and a half, and no one at the firm knows. How long before I don’t have this hanging over my head? If it somehow comes up five years from now, do they still have to fire me for creating potential sexual-harassment liability?


Memo to other people: Don’t do that. Getting the shit fucked out of you by eyes during an interview is the only red flag you need. As for you, letter-writer, you’re a fellow lawyer, so to save you some public embarrassment, I’m going to transmit a very detailed action plan to you via secret lawyer telepathy: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. What you do with the wolf carcass and leftover Circus Peanuts is your business.

Ask a Lawyer is a practicing lawyer with over 15 years of broad legal experience. He is part of the team at the Unwonk Podcast and can be found on Twitter. Keep in mind that this is general information, and not formal legal advice or legal representation; if you need any of that, you should get it from a lawyer in real life, not an internet column. A legal problem is serious and fact-specific, and you should treat it accordingly. But you have common sense and already knew that.


Art by Sam Woolley.

Adequate Man is Deadspin’s new self-improvement blog, dedicated to making you just good enough at everything. Suggestions for future topics are welcome below.

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