America. The leader in many things, mostly innovative and groundbreaking, but, sometimes, a lot of times, embarrassing or ridiculous. Lawsuits fall into the latter. Sue-happy people looking to make a quick buck abound. Nowadays, one must be careful to not attract the attention of these litigation leeches. Everyone and every business face the fact that they might be filed against for any little thing they do or say. Sometimes, even when they are not even involved. Your chances of being sued are better than winning the lottery, to say the least.
Indeed, people will try anything to make easy money and hundreds of claims are filed daily. Even so, many filed lawsuits are dismissed since they hold no legal merit. Ones like: suing your own child because they cause emotional distress, your workplace because they didn’t make an effort to wake you up in the morning, or maybe suing fast food chains for making you fat. These are a few examples of ridiculous attempted lawsuits that happened in America. But, for your entertainment and pleasure, we’ve gathered the more ludicrous ones for this article. After scouring the Internets, here are fifteen that are truly the most ridiculous.
15. Happy Birthday! Now, Pay Me.
In 2011, Jennifer Connell was attending her nephew, Sean’s, 8th birthday party, Connell walking into the backyard and, upon seeing his aunt, Sean ran and jumped to hug her. Causing Connell to fall backwards, landing on the ground and breaking her wrist in the awkward “I Can Stop My Full Body Mass With My Hand” falling process.
Instead of doing something rash— like accepting that Sean is eight and it was an accident since the laws of physics are not clear to him yet— she did the rational thing. She filed a lawsuit against the nephew. She claimed the boy had been “careless” and she wanted $127,000 for emotional suffering and medical bills. In her claim, she stated that she had recently attended a party and her inability to hold her “hors d’oeuvres plate was distressing and embarrassing.”
14. Once Bitten
Before diving into the craziness that is this case, a little background. You can’t just sue because you feel like it. In case you’ve thought about it, just know that the law doesn’t appreciate you wasting their time. With that said … behold, the case of an innocent woman and a vicious dog.
In 2009, a woman in Detroit was bitten on her bum by a police K9 dog during an open house event. Even though the department and the city offered to cover medical costs, she wanted to sue. So, she filed a claim— against the dog. In case you don’t know, dogs, even police dogs, don’t get paid. They’re dogs. Not only was the case dismissed, but the judge fined the woman for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Bad plaintiff! No biscuit! (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
13. I Don’t Feel More Attractive
Way back in the ancient time of 1991, one of the pinnacles of ridiculous lawsuits ever attempted is the one filed by Richard Overton. He filed suit claiming that Anheuser-Busch’s advertisements of far-off tropical lands where average American men were surrounded by bikini models who were actually attracted to them because they drank Budweiser were misleading. What woman doesn’t love it when her man is pounding beers all day long?
So, after Overton drank all the Bud he could, he noticed something. He was still in his garage, not in a tropical locale and, not surprisingly, there wasn’t a model in sight. He filed suit against the beer giant claiming that their advertisements of men and beautiful women “engaged in endless and unrestricted merriment” turned out to be untrue and caused him not only emotional distress and mental injury (I’m not sold that Anheuser had anything to do with that one), but also financial loss. The case was dismissed.
12. When Animals Intimidate
Warning! The events that transpire next not only are the main ingredients in ridiculous lawsuit stew, but, they are graphic. Reader discretion is advised.
In 2006, Mary Meckler was walking out of the mall after a day of shopping. Leaving the building, she had to take a pathway lined by trees to the parking lot. Walking along, minding her own business when suddenly she was attacked! By a squirrel!
This terror of the trees came at Mary like a lion and latched on to her leg! Mary stated she had to “run for her life!” Even had to “detach” the squirrel from her leg or maybe pants, and in this process fell sustaining even more injury. However, this time it was physical injury. She filed for a $50,000 claim saying the mall failed to warn her there were squirrels in the their trees. Mary found no justice and the vicious squirrels continue to roam unchecked today.
11. But I Looked Like This First
In 2006, a man was suffering beyond measure. He had to hide from the public. He couldn’t go to his favourite places anymore for he would be mobbed. When he tried to play a simple game of basketball, people gathered around and stared. Why? Because he resembles someone famous and because of this, for fifteen years this man went through pain you wouldn’t believe.
The man’s name is Allen Heckard. He suffers from looking somewhat-kinda-identical to Michael Jordan. Quite possibly the most famous basketball player ever. Heckard claimed that due to Mr. Jordan’s popularity, he was being harassed everywhere he went and it caused him “emotional pain and suffering.” He figured $416 million ought to clear that right up. It went on for awhile and Heckard even included Nike in the motion, making the attention to the case grow— as did the money. Heckard had been asking for over $800 million before he finally dropped the lawsuit.
In Heckard’s defence, he is eight years older than Jordan, so the look does belong to him. There are some slight differences however, Heckard is thirty pounds lighter and six inches shorter. But, he does have a shaved head and wears one earring!
10. Brock v. Brock
In 1995, a Virginian prison inmate, Robert Lee Brock, was determined to prove his innocence. While he couldn’t trade places with the man, he could at least seek restitution. Brock filed charges, stating that his religious beliefs had been violated and felt entitled to $5 million dollars. The defendant? Robert Lee Brock. He was filing suit against himself. Of course, since he was in prison, the state would have to pay.
Brock argued in his handwritten seven-page lawsuit that when he “partook of alcoholic beverages” in 1993 he violated his religious and civil rights by getting himself “so drunk” that he would be suggestible to breaking the law. He also offered to pay the money back to the state once he was released from the slammer. Sure, cheque is in the mail.
9. No, They’re MY Divine Powers
God saw what magicians were doing and this made God angry. In 2005, “God” or Christopher Roller filed suit against illusionists David Blaine and David Copperfield. Roller claimed that the performers needed to reveal their secrets to him or they are defying the fundamental laws of physics, thus, they have “God-like” powers. Since Roller was “God” (according to Roller), the tricksters were stealing his power. God wanted 10% of the two Davids’ lifetime earnings, which was exactly $50 million dollars plus fees, so saith the Lord. A very brave or atheist judge dismissed the case.
8. Can I Get That Heart Attack Super Sized?
Ceasar Barber was in trouble. He was obese, diabetic, and had a multitude of other ailments. Barber stood up for himself, and took responsibility for the situation— by blaming someone else. In 2003, Barber filed suit against McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and their evil chairman, Colonel Sanders (cue lightning and thunder). Barber stated that since these fast-food restaurants did not warn him that their “food” was bad for him, it was their fault that he was in the condition he was in, otherwise he wouldn’t have eaten it four to five times a week. The judge dismissed the case and Ceasar did all that walking into court for nothing.
7. The Enriched Science Of Google Maps
Lauren Rosenberg of Park City, Utah was headed on a perilous journey. Rosenberg was setting out to go from 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah to 171 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah. The perilous route of 2.1 miles would take the better part of an hour. A straight shot, she does what the pros do: she Google Maps it on her Blackberry. Halfway into her walk, she comes to Deer Valley Drive where Google commands her to continue on walking and her destination would be just on the other side. Lauren took pause and noticed there were no sidewalks or pathways for pedestrians on Deer Valley Drive. She would just have to walk along the side— the side of Utah State Route 224, aka Deer Valley Drive.
A few near misses and she struggles on. Then the money shot, Lauren Rosenberg has been betrayed by a trusted friend. Google mocks her. Rosenberg mocked back by filing suit to the tune of $100,000 claiming the directions given were “unreliable and unsafe.” However, Google had the upper hand since the directions come with a warning that the plotted route may be unreliable and unsafe and to use caution. Lauren should start with using common sense and once mastered, move on to caution since it’s merely an advanced course of the previous lesson.
6. Not Just God, Not Just Dog. God’s Dog!
In 2002, Doug Baker was driving when he claims that “God steered him towards” a stray dog. Baker admitted that people thought it was ridiculous, crazy even, especially when he dropped $4000 on the dog’s vet bills. I mean, if it’s God’s dog, you probably want to do what you can, right? Baker and the dog were inseparable, so enamored with the mutt that he couldn’t leave him, not even to take his girlfriend out to dinner without someone to watch over this divine dog. He hired a sitter for the dog and his girlfriend finally got to go out on what I am sure was an eloquent evening. The sitter’s, however, not so much.
While Baker may have been a tad over-attached to the miracle dog, the feeling was not mutual. That ungrateful mutt ran off. The sitter looked everywhere, alas, turned up with nothing. Baker returned home to heartbreak. While his girlfriend still cared for him, at the time anyway, Baker felt forsaken and knew he must find his dog (he likely was looking for Baker and ran off).
Baker spent months looking for God’s dog, searched the entire city and those surrounding it. He took out a full page colour advertisement seeking the mongrel. Baker would even urinate in different locations to leave his scent so his four-legged soul mate could find its way home. Finally, after four long months, the loss of his girlfriend, his business in tatters and spending thousands of dollars, Baker finds the dog. He did two things right away, bought a collar, and filed a suit against the dog sitter for $160K. Twenty-thousand for the cost of the search, thirty for income lost, ten for the loss of the dog’s “special value” and, of course, the emotional toll was worth $100,000. The case was dismissed.
5. I’m Sure It’s The Homeless
Karl Kemp owned a posh antique store located in the even more posh area of Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. However, Kemp had a problem, business was not up to snuff and he didn’t need an analyst to explain why. He knew why and what to do. In 2010, Kemp filed a one million dollar lawsuit against the four homeless people that were “lingering” in front of his shop daily. His claim stated that the unfortunates were “scaring off” potential customers and causing a loss of income. The case was dismissed, and even if Kemp had won this ridiculous lawsuit, I doubt that million would be coming his way. Unless he took pop cans.
4. Yeah But, It’s Your Floor!
This is the case of Amber Carson. This innocent woman was severely injured when at a Philadelphia restaurant. During that fateful outing, she slipped on a puddle of soda and broke her tailbone. Paramedics came rushing, but couldn’t save her tailbone. Just kidding! About the paramedics, that is….
In 2009, Carson filed a $113,500 suit against the eatery. However, in a twist that M. Night Shamyalan would be proud of, the restaurant had the upper hand. The spilled soft drink was only present because not thirty seconds earlier, Carson, threw her cup of the carbonated beverage at her boyfriend whom she had been arguing with. The case was dismissed and Carson’s boyfriend received the sentence of having to stay with her.
3. But, There’s A Girl In There!
Robert Glaser was having a blast when he attended a 1995 Billy Joel concert at Jack Murphy Stadium. Really into the music— a mystery in itself— Glaser finds he has to answer Nature’s call. He went to the nearest restroom and found a woman in there squatting over a urinal. Glaser was embarrassed thinking he had entered the wrong bathroom. His search continued. But, every restroom he tried had a woman in it. Desperate for privacy to pee, he was disheartened when he discovered that the bathrooms at the stadium were unisex.
Logically, Glaser chooses to hold it for the rest of the concert; just a short four hours. Glaser filed suit against the stadium and the city of San Diego for $5.4 million for “emotional distress” and “embarrassment.” His claim also stated that the venue did not label the bathrooms clearly. Glaser, though lucky to not have damaged his bladder, lost the case. Maybe he would have won, or at least had been an American hero, if he sued Billy Joel instead for still making music. It’s true, only the good die young and the horrible live forever.
2. Pearson’s Pants
Roy L. Pearson was a proud man. He had just been awarded a position of honor among his field; Pearson was to sit on the bench as an administrative judge. Starting his new job soon, he went out and bought a nice suit that fit him well, except that the pants needed some hem work. Pearson took them to the local dry cleaner to have them altered. When he returned to pick them up, a storm cloud loomed over-head— the pants had gone missing!
On his first pass, Pearson demands $1150, the cost of the entire suit. Second pass, $3500. However, owner’s of the cleaners, the Chungs, countered with $3000. Pearson smelled blood and pushed further bumping it to $4000, then $4600 and eventually $12,000 was demanded for the missing pants. By the time the case made it to court, Pearson was now humbly asking for $67 million dollars. The file included our old friend emotional damages, legal fees (Pearson represented himself), ten years of car rental fees, since he had to drive to another dry cleaner, and the value of the missing pants ($395). Not only did Pearson lose the case, but he had to pay the defendant’s legal fees and a judicial panel recommended Pearson not receive a ten year bench term.
1. If Only Someone Stopped Me
In 2002, a heinous crime occurred. Edward Brewer callously raped a patient in a Providence Hospital. The woman, a cancer patient, died just four months later. If his actions weren’t despicable enough, he went a step further. Brewer filed a $2 million lawsuit against the health care company claiming that the staff and the hospital itself failed to stop him from raping the woman. Of course, like every ridiculous American on this list, he suffered emotional trauma and felt “permanently damaged” from the experience of raping a helpless hospital patient.
One can imagine the judge’s face exhibiting multifaceted expressions. Beginning with “Ha, Ha. Where are the cameras?” all the way to “Oh, this is going to feel good.” Suffice it to say, the case was dismissed and Mr. Brewer was sentenced to prison for rape.
Ridiculous lawsuits happen everyday all over America. Take heart, however, because most are dismissed and some even frivolous which costs the plaintiff a hefty fine. It’s a long, dreadful process that is usually never worth the cost and the emotional trauma, suffering and distress. In other words, chin up and pick your battles.