It’s rare when we hear laughter emerge from behind the doors of the Commonplace Fun Facts Legal Department. The usual sound of wailing and the gnashing of teeth is generally more than enough to obfuscate any signs of mirth or levity. Be that as it may, the loud guffaw that ushered forth one day suggested a level of amusement that went well beyond the inhabitants’ glee at pulling the wings off butterflies or the merriment that quickly follows their mid-day cup of warm blood.
We sent one of our unpaid interns to inquire about the source of the laughter. He was chosen for this task, not only because of his bravery in the face of danger but also because he was deemed to be the most expendable. He returned a few moments later, feeling decidedly unclean and somewhat disoriented as a result of having most of his joy and a significant portion of his immortal soul drained from his body. Before rushing off to bathe himself in industrial-strength bleach, he handed over the item that sent our legal eagles laughing so much that they would have coughed up their hearts if they actually had such things.
The source of legal jocularity was a court case out of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that went up on appeal to the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The 1992 case is about — well, it is about 11 pages long, and truth be told, reading it is about as exciting as perusing stereo instructions. If you get to the discussion of the case, though, you have already gone past the best part: the name of the case.
If you wish to read the entire case, you can find it by following this link. The first part of the name is not particularly noteworthy: United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, AFL-CIO. If you are sufficiently informed about the parallels between the development of organized labor and organized crime in the United States, you might assume this case has something to do with the mafia. We, of course, wouldn’t want to promote such stereotyping, and simply list, without comment, the names of the co-defendants in this case. The nicknames, in particular, are worthy of note and are highlighted for your convenience:
United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, AFL-CIO; Commission of La Cosa Nostra; Anthony Salerno, also known as Fat Tony; Matthew Ianniello, also known as Matty the Horse; Anthony Provenzano, also known as Tony Pro; Nunzio Provenzano, also known as Nunzi Pro; Anthony Corallo, also known as Tony Ducks; Salvatore Santoro; Christopher Furnari,Sr., also known as Christie Tick; Frank Manzo; Carmine Persico, also known as The Snake, also known as Junior; Gennaro Langella, also known as Gerry Lang; Philip Rastelli, also known as Rusty; Nicholas Marangello, also known as Nicky Glasses; Joseph Massino, also known as Joey Messino; Anthony Ficarotta, also known as Figgy; Eugene Boffa, Sr.; Francis Sheeran; Milton Rockman, also known as Maishe; John Tronolone, also known as Peanuts; Joseph John Aiuppa, also known as Joey Aiuppa, also known as Joe Doves, also known as Joey O’Brien; John Phillip Cerone, also known as Jackie Cerone, also known as Jackie the Lackie; Joseph Lombardo, also known as Joey the Clown; Angelo LaPietra, also known as The Nutcracker; Frank Balistrieri, also known as Carl Angelo Deluna, also known as Toughy; Carl Civella, also known as Corky; Anthony Thomas Civella, also known as Tony Ripe; General Executive Board, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Jackie Presser, General President [and other officers including sixteen Vice Presidents]; In re Application LXXXVI of the Independent Administrator, Leroy Ellis, Appellee v. Roadway Express, Inc., 3 F.3d 634 (2d Cir. 1993).
As we have already suggested, the legal reasoning in the case is about as exciting as sitting through the 639-year-long performance of John Cage’s “Organ²/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible).” What is infinitely more diverting is trying to imagine how all of these co-defendants got their nicknames. We assume Nicky Glasses owes his moniker to his eyesight and that Toughy can be identified by his upper body strength. The Snake and Tony Ripe raise some interesting possibilities, and we prefer not to consider how Angelo LaPietra came to be known as the Nutcracker.
Regardless, we present this matter to you for your consideration. We are also filing it away with our ongoing research about the insidious way some lawyers mimic human emotions to pass themselves off as being an indigenous species of this planet.