Associate Attorney for Health Care Liability, Construction Litigation, and Employment Law Attorney

By: Mary Stoner

Also, it is Mary Stoner’s Birthday today so we asked her to write this post! Happy Birthday Mary!

“April Fools’ Day” has been celebrated on April 1 for several centuries all over the world. Typically, the traditions involve playing hoaxes or practice jokes. While its exact origin is a mystery, yelling “April Fools” at the end of said hoaxes or jokes has become well known and embraced among many different cultures.

There are numerous theories among historians about the origin of April Fools’ Day. One theory is that April Fools’ Day dates back as far as 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the “Gregorian calendar”, where the year had moved from April 1 to January 1. The people of France allegedly continued to celebrate the new year during the last week of March, and hence became “April fools”. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day is tied to the “vernal equinox,” or first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, when “Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather”.   If that were the case, here in Nashville, “April Fools’ Day” could be celebrated weekly.

In more modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create April Fools’ Day pranks, sometimes leading to unplanned and unfortunate consequences, such as lawsuits.  For example, a Hooters restaurant in Florida ran a contest for its employees designed to improve beer sales. The employees were told that the server who sold the most beer in a month would win a Toyota. At the end of the contest, the winning server was escorted to the parking lot, blindfolded, where she thought she would receive her prize. To her dismay, when her blindfold was lifted, she saw a Toy Yoda, the character from Star Wars. Hooters claimed it was an April Fools’ joke, but the waitress did not find it very funny. She quit and sued the owner of the restaurant for beach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.  The case eventually settled for a confidential amount, though her lawyer later stated that such amount would allow her to go to the lot and purchase any Toyota she wanted.

Remember, when it comes to April Fools pranks, it is best to use common sense and prank responsibly.

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