I thought I had found all of the best crazy lawsuits. Boy was I wrong. Here is some more craziness for your consideration.
1. And Which Kind of Bread Would You Like That On?
John Agnesini, 27, of Astoria, New Yorker sued Subway because he took a bite of a sandwich and found a 7 inch serrated knife baked into the bread of his 12 inch cold cut sandwich. He was not cut by the knife, but he became violently ill and experienced severe stomach pains for about three hours. A doctor told him he was experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning, possibly from the filthy knife baked into his bread. He is suing for $1,000,000. Gross and unsanitary? Definitely. $1,000,000 gross? I am not so sure. Read more at The New York Post.
2. Excuse Me, Those Are My Magic Powers You are Using
A man named Christopher Roller, a resident of Minnesota, recently sued David Blaine, David Copperfield, and James Randi claiming that acts he had seen them perform could not possibly be done by trickery and thus must be actual divine magic. He claimed the magicians were covering up their magical abilities and demanded that they reveal their secret magic tricks to him. Roller sued not just because he claimed the performers were using divine powers – he sued because he thinks he is God and therefore it is his powers they were stealing. He demanded 10% of their earnings for life. After his suit was dismissed, Roller filed an affidavit claiming that the lawyer for the performers tried to kill him. Can you kill God? You can read more about Mr. Roller at The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. A fun podcast by the way.
3. I Swear I Thought It Was My Gun
The City of Madera, California and Officer Marcy Noriega filed suit against a taser company after Officer Noriega mistakenly shot and killed a suspect with what she thought was her taser but was really her gun. Officer Noriega decided to tase the suspect in the back of her car when he became uncontrollable and started kicking at the windows. Noriega drew her taser from her belt and fired it at the man. Unfortunately for the crook, the officer had accidentally drawn her gun, and she shot him in the chest. The suspect died from his wound. The city sued the taser company, arguing that any reasonable officer could mistakenly draw and shoot their gun instead of their taser. The city also claimed that their officers were given inadequate training in the use of the device. They sued for the full costs of the wrongful death lawsuit which the man’s family has filed against the city. Read more about it at The Madera Tribune.
4. The Thong Lawsuit
A 52 year old traffic officer from Los Angeles sued Victoria’s Secret for damage to her eye. She claimed that while she was trying on a new thong a design defect caused a decorative metallic piece to fly off and hit her in the eye. The woman sought unspecified damages for an eye injury that had her out of work for a few. Read more about it at The Smoking Gun.
5. Oh The Irony
Two members of PETA were driving home from a protest in New Jersey when they hit a deer which had run on to the highway. The members informed the New Jersey Division of Fish and and Wildlife that they intended to sue for damages and injuries. In their letter they stated that the Division was responsible for the damages “as a result of their deer management program, which includes, in certain circumstances, an affirmative effort to increase deer population.” Silly me. Isn’t increasing the animal population part of what PETA is all about? Read more about it here.
6. The Weather Report is Never Wrong
An Israeli woman sued a TV station for an inaccurate weather forecast. The forecast predicted good weather but it rained instead. The woman claimed that the forecast caused her to dress lightly – resulting in her catching the flu, missing a week of work, and spending money on medication. She further claimed that the whole incident caused her stress. She sued for $1,000 – and won.
7. A Frightening Haunted House?
A woman who attended ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ at Universal Studios sued the theme park for $15,000 in damages. She claimed to have suffered extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional distress due to visiting the haunted house, which she said was too scary. That raises the question (inside to the power of inside TBTL reference). Can a haunted house be too scary?
8. A Different Kind of Subway Lawsuit
A New York City woman sued after she was hit by a subway train. In most cases this would be a tragic accident. In this case the woman was patiently laying on the tracks in an apparent attempt to commit suicide. She was awarded $14.1 million by a state supreme court jury. The reward was later cut by 30 percent, to a mere $9.9 million, because of her “comparative negligence.”
9. A Vampire In Prison
Robert Paul Rice, in prison for 1-15 years on various felony charges, sued the Utah State Prison system, claiming that they violated his right to practice his religion. The problem is he professes to be a Druidic Vampire. Mr. Rice claimed in his suit that the prison system violated his right to religious freedom by failing to provide him with a “vampire” diet of blood and denying him a conjugal visit with his “vampress.” Mr. Rice’s suit was thrown out of court. Dare I say it? That sucks.
10. Why Shouldn’t I Get the Retirement Benefits?
Fayette Nale, 56, is serving a 3-15 year sentence at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti after she was convicted in Macomb County on charges of voluntary manslaughter. Mrs. Nale was convicted of stabbing her husband of 34 years Michael, 56, to death after a struggle in their home. As if the tragic loss of her husband was not bad enough, his employer refused to pay her survivor pension benefits. Mrs. Nale then proceeded to sue the Ford Motor Company Retirement plane for the benefits. I am sorry Mrs. Nale. This just not compute. Read more about it at the One Minute Lawyer.
This has got to be the absurd lawsuit of all absurd lawsuits. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, I think we would all agree that you cannot sue him. I mean, where would you serve him? That didn’t stop Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers in 2007. Senator Chambers’ lawsuit seeks to enjoin God from causing “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.” I can’t believe this man found a lawyer willing to take such a case. There are so many reasons not to. The question of jurisdiction alone is enormous. I guess it would generate many, many billable hours. Here is some of the story from msnbc.com.
Nebraska state senator sues God
Injunction sought against Him for allegedly causing deaths, making
LINCOLN, Neb. – The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere.
State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.
Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terrorist threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”
The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused “fearsome floods … horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes.”
He’s seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.
On July 28, 2008 State Senator Chambers, appeared before Douglas County District Judge Marlon Polk in a scheduling hearing against God. In response to the question of serving notice to God, Chambers requested that the court acknowledge the presence of God in the courtroom so he wouldn’t be required to “serve notice” of the trial. The court had previously told Chambers the lawsuit would be thrown out if he was unable to serve notice to his Creator.
Chambers responded by arguing he attempted to contact God on multiple occasions and he should not be required to verify his existence when the U.S. government acknowledges him by printing “In God We Trust” on its currency.
A judge finally did throw out the case, saying the Almighty wasn’t properly served due to his unlisted home address. Chambers responded to the news by saying “the court itself acknowledges the existence of God. A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God’s omniscience. Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit.” On November 5, 2008, Chambers filed an appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court. On February 25, 2008, the Nebraska Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal.
It amazes me that this case clogged the court system from April 2007 through February 2008. This case is not unprecedent, however, in 1971 a man tried to sue Satan and his staff. In the case of Mayo v. Satan and his staff, the plaintiff Gerald Mayo tried to sue Satan for causing him misery. The court struggled with the jurisdictional issues and then dismissed the case on a technicality. Way to side step the issue. I just love this stuff.
I wonder who would win in the ultimate lawsuit between God and Satan.
Thank You For Your Consideration,
The Graham Ten
For your consideration another ridiculous lawsuit. This lady is an example of why the government might one day monitor each and everything we put in our mouths. When people start pleading ignorance about the fact that a bacon double cheeseburger and hugemongous fries are bad for you and start claiming that they thought crunchberries were real fruit, it looks like it is time for the government to get involved. It’s Captain Crunch lady. Get a grip and read the label. Crunchberries are not real berries, and they do not fulfill your recommended daily intake of fruit. There is a cartoon captain on the front of the box for heaven’s sake.
Here are the facts of the case as alleged by the plaintiff and summarized in the court’s decision.
Sugawara v. Pepsico
Plaintiff is an individual consumer and resident of California. Defendant manufactures, markets, and promotes “Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries” cereal (“the Product”). Defendant merged with The Quaker Oats Company (“Quaker”) in 2001, and Quaker is now a unit of Defendant. In addition to the use of the word “berries” in the Product name, the Product’s principal display panel (“PDP”), the portion of the Product box designed to face consumers as they shop in a market aisle, features the Product’s namesake, “Cap’n Crunch” thrusting a spoonful of “Crunchberries” at the prospective buyer. The Crunchberries are pieces of cereal in bright fruit colors, shaped to resemble berries. While close inspection reveals that the Crunchberries on the PDP are not really berries, Plaintiff contends that the colorful Crunchberries, combined with use of the word “berry” in the Product name, convey the message that Cap’n Crunch is not all sugar and starch, but contains redeeming fruit. This message is allegedly supplemented and reinforced by additional marketing that represents that “Crunch Berries is a combination of Crunch biscuits and colorful red, purple, teal and green berries.” In actuality, the Product contains no berries of any kind. If the consumer takes the box from the shelf and examines the fine print of the ingredient list, he or she will discover that the only fruit content is a touch of strawberry fruit concentrate, twelfth in order on the ingredient list.
Accordingly, Plaintiff contends, inter alia, that Defendants’ marketing of the Product is deceptive and likely to mislead and deceive a reasonable consumer. Indeed, during the past four years, Plaintiff alleges she purchased the Product in large part because she had been exposed to advertising and representations of Defendant. She was allegedly misled by the packaging and marketing, which she argues convey the message that the Product contains real, nutritious fruit. Plaintiff contends that she trusted Defendant’s Quaker label because that company has a long history of producing wholesome breakfast cereals.
In this case, to the contrary, while the challenged packaging contains the word “berries” it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term “crunch.” This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a “crunchberry.” Furthermore, the “Crunchberries” depicted on the PDP are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the PDP clearly states both that the Product contains “sweetened corn & oat cereal” and that the cereal is “enlarged to show texture.” Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. Additionally, contrary to the packaging in Williams, the instant packaging makes no claim to be particularly nutritious or to be designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of toddlers or children, nor does it contain any images of actual fruit that would convince this Court the instant packaging was even potentially deceptive. In this case, there is no reference to fruit on the PDP unless one believes that a “Crunchberry” is some form of produce. Indeed, even though Plaintiff claims that the brightly-colored cereal balls are shaped to resemble berries, she acknowledges that “[c]lose inspection reveals that Crunchberries on the PDP are not really berries.” Opposition, 2:11. Accordingly, it is entirely unlikely that members of the public would be deceived in the manner described by Plaintiff.
As stated, Plaintiff claims Defendant expressly warranted that the Product contains berries. However, that simply is not the case. Defendant chose the moniker “Crunchberries” for its brightly colored cereal balls. As far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world. Furthermore, a reasonable consumer would have understood the Product packaging to expressly warrant only that the Product contained sweetened corn and oat cereal, which it did. Accordingly, Defendant did not promise Plaintiff that the Product contained fruit, nor did the Product contain anything other than that which was actually expressly warranted. Thus, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Breach of Express Warranty cause of action is granted with leave to amend.
In other words, even though the United States District Court For The Eastern District of California could not say it, if you think crunchberries are a real fruit than you are more than a couple of McNuggets shy of your happy meal. Just because this court was logical and thoughtful does not mean that at some other time in some other court another consumer might not succeed with a similar lawsuit. Case in point, the plaintiffs lawyers had previously tried to sue the makers of Froot Loops on similar grounds. That’s “Froot” not “Fruit.” That court dismissed that case as well.
Please ladies and gentlement, take heed, there are no crunchberry trees, bushes, or fields out there in the farm belt of America. They are not real fruit, and they do not contain any of the nutrisious properties of real fruit. They may be tasty, but they cannot and will not be placed in the fruit and vegetable section of your local supermarket. Lesson concluded. Next week the reasons why bacon double cheeseburgers are bad for you.
Thank You For Your Consideration,
The Graham Ten
In a former life I was a lawyer (it was a very short life). I am still fascinated by the law, especially the outrageous lawsuits that plague our courts. Our legal system is a great thing, but only in America can such ridiculous and absurd lawsuits be filed and won. If you have ever spent time perusing the warning labels on even the safest of products, they are the result of some of the lawsuits mentioned below. Enjoy.
1. Now We Know Why This Guy Flunked Out of Law School
Thomas Bentley of New Jersey is suing his former law school, St. Thomas University Law School of Miami, for having admitted him to law school (he was later one of 40 students expelled for insufficient grades). The Florida law school’s attrition rate is in keeping with the national average.
Presumably, Bentley initially asked the university to admit him but that didn’t stop his lawyer Michael Lombardi from saying, with a straight face:”They’re not supposed to accept students who don’t have a reasonable prospect of completing law school.”
2. And We Know Why This Guy is in Jail
An inmate filed a $5 million lawsuit against himself (he claimed that he violated his own civil rights by getting arrested) — then asked the state to pay because he has no income in jail.
He said, “I want to pay myself $5 million dollars, but ask the state to pay it on my behalf since I can’t work and am a ward of the state.” The judge was not impressed by his ingenuity, and dismissed the suit as frivolous.
3. Clear Proof That Dogs Are Smarter Than People
A minister and his wife sued a guide-dog school for $160,000 after a blind man learning to use a seeing-eye dog trod on the woman’s toes in a shopping mall. Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc., a 13-year old guide-dog school and the only one of its kind in the Southeast, raises and trains seeing-eye dogs at no cost to the visually impaired. The school is located about 35 miles south of Tampa.
The lawsuit was brought by Carolyn Christian and her husband, the Rev. William Christian. Each sought $80,000. The couple filed suit 13 months after Ms Christian’s toe was stepped on and reportedly broken by a blind man who was learning to use his new guide dog, Freddy, under the supervision of an instructor. They were practicing at a shopping mall. According to witnesses, Ms Christian made no effort to get out of the blind man’s way because she “wanted to see if the dog would walk around me”.
4. Can You Put A Warning Label on Dumb?
A college student in Idaho decided to “moon” someone from his 4th story dorm room window. He lost his balance, fell out of his window, and injured himself in the fall. Now the student expects the University to take the fall; he is suing them for “not warning him of the dangers of living on the 4th floor”.
5. But, They Promised Beautiful Women
A man sued Anheuser-Busch for $10,000 for false advertising. He claimed that he suffered physical and mental injury and emotional distress from the implicit promises in the advertisements. When he drank the beverage, success with women did not come true for him plus, he got sick. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court decision dismissing the case.
6. Does Missing the NFL Playoffs Violate the 8th Amendment?
An inmate, calling himself a sports fanatic, complained that, as a result of cruel and unusual punishment, he was forced to miss the NFL playoffs, especially between Miami and San Diego, San Diego and Pittsburgh, and
Dallas and San Francisco.
7. I Swear, I Have Never Seen That Kid Before
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.
8. But I Had A Really Good Reason For Throwing It
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
9. But You Should Have Let Me Rob You
A convicted bank robber on parole entered a bank, went up to the teller, and said, “Give me the money. I’ve got a bomb.” The bank teller did as instructed, except that hidden in the rolls of money turned over to the robber was an anti-robbery device that released tear gas. The device functioned as intended .. and the robber sued the bank.
10. It’s a Medical Issue
A Florida woman is suing Walt Disney World for banning her from its Tower of Terror ride, saying riding it is a medical necesity. Denise Mooty says the “G-forces of going up and down” the 199-foot thrill ride help break up fibrous adhesions in her abdomen. Disney, she says, had decided to limit her to four rides a week, far fewer than the dozens her doctor has ordered. Mooty was then banned, Disney says, “for causing a disturbance within the presence of other guests and using foul language toward a Cast Member.”
I will bring you more absurd lawsuits at a later date.
Thank You For Your Consideration,
The Graham Ten