More Chutzpah:

From Yates v. City of New York, 2006 WL 2239430 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 4):

The word chutzpah, despite not debuting in a reported judicial opinion until 1972, [citing Kozinski & Volokh] is now vastly overused in the legal literature. Yet in a case such as this -- in which an individual, after being mauled by the 450-pound Siberian tiger he had been raising inside his fifth-floor apartment along with an alligator, sues the city and the police who entered the apartment in an effort to rescue the animals for doing so without a search warrant -- it is a most appropriate term to use....

In the early afternoon of October 1, 2003, Antoine Yates was mauled by his pet 10-foot-long, 450-pound adult male Siberian tiger named Ming that Yates had been raising inside his fifth floor Harlem apartment.... An anonymous caller twice dialed 911 and said that a man had been "bitten by dog" at Yates's address .... Police officers responded to the apartment building, which was owned and operated by the New York City Housing Authority, and found Yates "lying face-up on the floor" near the fifth story elevators "screaming and crying in pain." His wounds included a gash below his right knee that exposed the bone and a half-inch cut to his right forearm. Yates told the officers he had been bitten by "a large brown and white pit bull." EMS personnel arrived on the scene and took Yates to Harlem Hospital; all the while, Yates continued to insist that a "pit bull" or "dog" had bitten him.

Two days later, on October 3, the New York City Police Department ... received an anonymous tip that a tiger was living inside 2430 Seventh Avenue, Apartment 5E, and that the tiger had mauled a man who was recuperating at Harlem Hospital. Officers responded to the location but did not enter the apartment because no one answered the door. Later that evening, the police returned to the building and interviewed one of Yates's neighbors, who said that there was "a large wild animal," apparently a "full-grown tiger," living in Yates's apartment. The neighbor said that Yates had shown the animal to her daughter and that "large amounts of urine" sometimes cascaded from Yates's window down into the window of her apartment. The police also went to Harlem Hospital to speak with Yates, who insisted that he had been bitten by a pit bull in the stairwell of his residence and that he did not own a tiger.

At midnight, NYPD Captain Michael Polito interviewed Yates's brother Aaron, who said that Yates had both a fully-grown tiger and a large alligator living inside his apartment. Aaron also said that on the night before, he had opened the door to his brother's apartment, thrown in several pieces of raw chicken and watched as the tiger came toward the food....

Oddly enough, despite Yates' chutzpah, the court acknowledges that the legal question -- whether the warrantless search was justified by the "exigent circumstances" exception to the warrant requirement -- is quite difficult, though it ultimately concludes that the police officers are shielded by qualified ammunity "because it was objectively reasonable for them to believe they were complying with the law." (I myself am puzzled why they didn't get a warrant, given that they ultimately didn't enter the apartment until more than twelve hours after they were pretty sure that there was a tiger inside.) But that is a story for another day.