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November 2021 Newsletter

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Happy November! This month, we thought we’d do a seasonal article with a fun, historical twist on our usual informational content. Because, finally, we’ll get to answer the question you’ve probably wondered at least once: How did the turkey pardoning tradition start?

The annual presidential turkey pardon is one of the more strange, yet interesting, American traditions. In recent pop culture, a “Rick and Morty” episode featured Rick, a mad scientist who had committed multiple war crimes, attempting to turn himself into a turkey in order to get pardoned. As it turns out, the origins of the presidential turkey pardon are a little complicated, since it depends on how you define “origin.” WHO


Abraham Lincoln was the first president to pardon a turkey in 1863 at the behest of his youngest son, Tad. However, the pardon was actually given to the turkey during Christmas. Although the Lincolns received the turkey as a gift for Christmas dinner, their 9-year-old, Tad, had named the turkey Jack and taught it to follow him around on the White House grounds.

When President Lincoln tried to explain to Tad that the turkey would become dinner, Tad cried, “I can’t help it. He’s a good turkey, and I don’t want him to get killed.” From there, Lincoln gave in and wrote out a pardon on a card for his son. They didn’t eat Jack after all.

An accomplished Lincoln scholar, Dr. Wayne Temple, explains, “Lincoln was always looking for something to amuse the children, so he pardoned the turkey.” He’d written similar pardons for toy soldiers that his sons had sentenced to death. (To be fair, the toy soldiers' trials probably didn’t have fair due process!) WHEN


Since then, presidents and some first ladies have pardoned turkeys — but not continuously. John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and First Ladies Thelma “Pat” Nixon and Rosalynn Carter all pardoned turkeys at one point. Harry S. Truman is alleged to have pardoned the first turkey, but that appears to be a myth. Truman was the first president to receive a turkey from the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation in 1947 after his administration began a new government initiative called “poultryless Thursdays.” The poultry industry protested by gifting the White House crates of live chickens with the slogan “Hens for Harry.” Gifting a turkey to the president over the holidays promoted the poultry industry and was intended as a political sign of goodwill — but there is no evidence of Truman sparing the turkey’s life.

The practice of sending the poultry industry’s presentation turkey to a farm became a norm under President Reagan, but it became a “pardon” when his successor, President George H.W. Bush, quipped to an animal rights activist, "But let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone's dinner table, not this guy — he's granted a presidential pardon as of right now — and allow him to live out his days on a children's farm not far from here.” So, finally, turkey pardoning became an official annual tradition.

The truth behind turkey pardoning tradition is many things: wholesome, politically motivated, and humorous! We hope you enjoyed learning all about it like we did. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! –The Reardon Anderson Firm

In looking to continually serve our clients, Reardon Anderson is gauging client interest in monthly webinars to explain issues impacting individuals and businesses in 2021 and beyond. If you think this would be an added value, please let us know your thoughts by emailing Thank you so much for your support!

Jelly Bean Deception
Why Jelly Belly Got Sued for Using Sugar

Before Bang and other creatine energy drinks became all the rage, many companies tried their hand at candy designed to energize. Not wanting to miss out on the action, Jelly Belly developed Sports Beans.

Like most other energy supplements, Sports Beans contained electrolytes, carbohydrates, and a plethora of B vitamins. They also included the phrase “evaporated cane juice” as one of the ingredients — but this got them into some legal trouble.

A woman named Jessica Gomez filed a case against Jelly Belly in 2017 over this ingredient. She claimed the company had falsely advertised their Sports Beans by stating they contained juice instead of sugar. Gomez believed the company portrayed that the beans were healthy by trying to appeal to athletes instead of stating that the product contained sugar.

Her complaint argued that the product’s label was designed to mislead consumers, asserting that she would not have been willing to pay as much or at all for the product if she knew it contained sugar.

Jelly Belly responded, calling the lawsuit complete nonsense. They pointed out that evaporated cane juice and sugar are interchangeable terms and also cited the product’s nutritional chart which showed that each serving contained 17 grams of sugar.

Jelly Belly further picked apart the claim by stating that Gomez did not insist on expecting a sugar-free product, and she did not explain why anyone would be surprised to find sugar in a product described as jelly beans.

This is not the first lawsuit against a company for using an alternative term for sugar. Though the Food and Drug Administration does no have any legal requirements regarding “evaporated cane juice,” it recommends calling the ingredient sugar to avoid these instances. The courts ended up siding with Jelly Belly, as Gomez failed to show any facts specific to the purchase or the advertising of the product.

False advertising and deceptive practices do happen, but this case was not one of those instances. If Gomez had paid attention to the nutritional chart, this entire lawsuit could have been avoided.


Some Are Amazing — Others Are a Little Bizarre

It might surprise some people that construction laws vary throughout the U.S. — you simply can’t start building in a different state and expect the rules to be the same in yours. While there are lots of technical details to these differences, there are also very unique, interesting differences! Here’s some of the most interesting ones.


In Wyoming, all new public buildings that cost over $100,000 to build must dedicate at least 1% of the total cost on public art for the building. If a building’s budget is a million dollars, that leaves $10,000 to be spent on public art. This is certainly a great way of supporting local artists and the state’s art scene.


In 1885, New York passed the Scaffold Law, which provides that whenever a construction worker is injured on a job site while using scaffolding or a ladder, it’s the contractor’s burden to prove that the job site was safe. This law has survived many challenges and is designed to ensure that developers are held accountable for keeping construction sites safe.


Strangely enough, there are specific laws referring to feet on a bathtub. In Kansas City, Missouri, a city ordinance prohibits the construction of bathtubs with four legs resembling animal paws. In Minnesota, however, a state law requires that all bathtubs have feet.


When you visit certain old towns, the consistent, old-timey charm may impress you. However, sometimes, there’s a good amount of work that went into that. To paint your house on Main Street in Hingham, Massachusetts, the colors you choose must first be approved by the historical society. Also, your house may only have white lights — colored lights are strictly prohibited.


If you’re building in Arizona, you better hope there isn’t a saguaro cactus on your land. Saguaro cacti can only be removed if it’s on privately owned land, the protected cactus hasn’t been taken off the land or offered for sale, and the state was notified of intended destruction 20–60 days before the plants were destroyed. If these rules aren’t followed, you may receive up to 25 years in prison. Some of these might seem extreme, but we think we can all agree: The relative autonomy and freedom of states to set their own laws certainly makes the United States a very interesting place!


We recently obtained a ruling on behalf of our client ordering Toll Brothers to return improperly held deposit monies. The case involved our clients (the buyers) having to pay a substantial deposit to Toll Brothers in connection with the construction and purchase of a new home — sounds simple enough, right?

However, through no fault of our client, the closing did not occur, and they sought the return of their deposit pursuant to the Contract of Sale. Toll initially refused to return the deposit money. After trying the case, an award was issued requiring Toll Brothers to refund a substantial portion of the deposit monies paid by our clients.

In this matter, the buyers entered into a contract with Toll Brothers to purchase a home that was being constructed in a new development.

Following the execution of the contract, it was determined that the closing could not occur. Accordingly, the buyers sought to cancel the contract and have their deposit returned. Toll Brothers refused.

We became involved with this matter and attempted to resolve the case. However, Toll Brothers was not receptive to those discussions. Pursuant to the contract, the matter was tried through binding arbitration. The arbitrator entered an award in favor of Reardon Anderson’s client. In rendering its award, the arbitrator noted that Toll Brothers’ form contract had an unenforceable provision concerning liquidated damages — specifically, that no matter how much money was paid through the deposit, in the event the sale fell through, Toll Brothers would be entitled to keep all of the deposit. The arbitrator found that this was an unenforceable penalty and ruled that Toll Brothers was only entitled to actual damages it sustained. In this case, the actual damages sustained by Toll Brothers was significantly less than the deposit provided.

Often, homebuilders require customers to sign contracts that only benefit the builder. It is not uncommon when deals fall through that homebuilders attempt to bully the customer and refuse to return deposits. If you are facing a similar problem, please contact Reardon Anderson so we can help.



  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 8 oz can mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb green beans, cooked
  • 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup and 3 tbsp flour, divided
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups almond milk


  1. Set the oven to broil.
  2. In a shallow baking pan, combine onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp flour, and panko breadcrumbs.
  3. Broil for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Afterward, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add shallots, mushrooms, and garlic, stirring until tender.
  5. In a large bowl, mix mushroom mixture with the cooked green beans.
  6. In the same skillet, add 4 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of flour, whisking until golden. Gradually add the almond milk until it thickens, then toss with the green beans.
  7. Transfer mixture into a baking dish and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Add onion and breadcrumb mixture on top, then bake for another 5 minutes.



The holidays are right around the corner, and while many people can’t wait to eat turkey and swap presents, others only see stress on the horizon. Especially for those hosting parties, between decorations, big dinners, excited kids, and visiting family, it can all feel overwhelming. If celebrations are happening at your house this year, here are three tips to lessen the strain and keep up the holiday cheer.


Ensure you’re rested and recharged before the holidays by taking time to relax, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that make you feel good. When you’re rushing to get everything done, it can be tempting to skip self-care routines, but that will cost you in the long run. Your daily exercise and other health activities keep you balanced and ready to face challenges head-on.


Holidays always arrive faster than we expect, so begin preparing early. If shopping for presents is a pain point, don’t wait until the last minute. Decorate earlier than you need to — or better yet, get the kids to do it for you. There’s only so much cooking you can do ahead of time, but ensuring you have all of the equipment and nonperishable ingredients you need a few weeks in advance will reduce both your workload and anxiety.


The sooner you let go of the idea of a “perfect” holiday, the sooner you’ll be able to have a happy one. Face it: Something will go wrong. Whether it’s an overcooked dish, a child throwing a temper tantrum, or your uncle talking politics at the dinner table, nothing will ever go just how you planned. So, embrace the imperfections. Whether you’re celebrating this year with a group of two or 20, holidays can be a stressful time — but they don’t have to be. With these tips, your festivities may not be picture-perfect, but they will be a lot of fun.

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