July 10 was national pina colada day. (Who knew? But good luck getting that song out of your head now that you know.) In honor of this great national holiday, I thought I might explore the intersection of pina coladas and the law. I am not aware of any accredited law school currently offering a course on “Pina Coladas and the Law,” and that is not surprising because, among other things, a search of all state and federal cases reveals only 46 cases that mention the term “pina colada.” Perhaps not surprisingly, most are criminal cases and involve the consumption of the delicious beverage as part of, or ancillary to, some alleged crime. But, at least one case makes a (somewhat) more positive reference to the drink.
In Elsom v. Elsom, a Connecticut man sued to compel the sale of property that his ex-wife had been living in since their divorce. The parties had agreed that the ex-wife could live in the home until she remarried. Her ex-husband claimed that she was living with a new partner in the home, and thus had effectively remarried, so the property should be sold. The Connecticut court rejected the claim, holding that the ex-wife’s new relationship was not akin to a marriage, which he described as follows:
Marriage has its good times and its bad times. It is holding hands and walking on the beach drinking pina coladas. It is fighting over trivial matters. It is making up. It is enjoying common activities together. It is enjoying growing old together. It is taking care of one another when they are sick. It is all of the things embodied in the standard exchanging of vows which encompass a relationship for better or for worse.
While I don’t remember pina coladas being part of my wedding vows, they should have been, even though my wife and I would be given a ticket if we were drinking them on most New Jersey beaches.
Happy national pina colada day to all!
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