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30 Craziest Lawsuits
Published on 12/7/2006
Sued Michael Jordan, because he looks like him
Allen Heckard sued Michael Jordan and Phil Knight on July 2006. Heckard claims he has suffered emotional trauma because he looks like Michael Jordan. Heckard has filed his look-alike case at the Washington County Court in Oregon and with a $832 million dollar head. Allen Heckard believes his life has been rough since people continually think he is Michael Jordan. Heckard says when he plays basketball, people are constantly telling him he plays like Michael Jordan and this has been difficult for him. Heckard is only six feet tall, so obviously those who assume he is Michael Jordan have little regard for height. Heckard even wears Air Jordan shoes, he says that they're the most comfortable.
Sued after getting stuck on the house he was robbing
In October 1998, A Terrence Dickson of Bristol Pennsylvania was exiting a house he finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re- enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, so Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. This upset Mr. Dickson, so he sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars and change.
Sued the school for being called "GAY"
A small-town teenager who was bullied for years by classmates because they believed he was gay was awarded $440,000 in a settlement. The settlement ended a longrunning battle between the Tonganoxie School District and 18-year-old Dylan Theno, who sued in May 2004 claiming he was harassed with homophobic slurs from seventh grade until he quit school his junior year. Theno, who testified that he isn't gay, recently earned his GED and attends a vocational technical school in Kansas City.
Sued after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler
In January 2000, Kathleen Robertson of Austin Texas was awarded $780,000.00 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving tyke was Ms. Robertson's son.
Sued a after being bitten for a beagle he provoked
In October 1999, Jerry Williams of Little Rock Arkansas was awarded $14,500.00 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in it's owner's fenced-in yard, as was Mr. Williams. The jury felt the dog may have been provoked by Mr. Williams who, at the time, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
Sued a restaurant after she slipped on a spilled drink
In May 2000, a Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500.00 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Sued a nightclub after she felt while sneaking out
In December 1997, Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000.00 and dental expenses.
Sued Winnebago after crashing it
In November 2000 Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly the Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the handbook that he couldn't actually do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnie. (Winnebago actually changed their handbooks on the back of this court case, just in case there are any other complete morons buying their vehicles.)
Sued amusement park for not warning him to be careful of thunderstorms
Shawn Perkins of Laurel, Ind. Perkins was hit by lightning in the parking lot Paramount's Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. A classic "act of God", right? No, says Perkins' lawyer. "That would be a lot of people's knee-jerk reaction in these types of situations." The lawyer has filed suit against the amusement park asking unspecified damages, arguing the park should have "warned" people not to be outside during a thunderstorm.
Sued against fast-good giants for being fat
Caesar Barber, 56, of New York City. Barber, who is 5-foot-10 and 270 pounds, says he is obese, diabetic, and suffers from heart disease because fast food restaurants forced him to eat their fatty food four to five times per week. He filed suit against McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC, who "profited enormously" and asked for unspecified damages because the eateries didn't warn him that junk food isn't good for him. The judge threw the case out twice, and barred it from being filed a third time. Is that the end of such McCases? No way: lawyers will just find another plaintiff and start over, legal scholars say.
Sued his old school for being kicked off the school's baseball team
Cole Bartiromo, 18, of Mission Viejo, Calif. After making over $1 million in the stock market, the feds made Bartiromo pay it all back: he gained his profits, they said, using fraud. Bartiromo played baseball at school, but after his fraud case broke he was no longer allowed to participate in extracurricular sports. Bartiromo clearly learned a lot while sitting in federal court: he wrote and filed his own lawsuit against his high school, reasoning that he had planned on a pro baseball career but, because he was kicked off the school's team, pro scouts wouldn't be able to discover him. His suit demands the school reimburse him for the great salary he would have made in the majors, which he figures is $50 million.
Pedo priest sued his victim for warning others about him
Priest David Hanser, 70. Hanser was one of the first Catholic priests to be caught up in the sex abuse scandal. In 1990, he settled a suit filed by one of his victims for $65,000. In the settlement, Hanser agreed not to work with children anymore, but the victim learned that Hanser was ignoring that part of the agreement. The victim appealed to the church, asking it to stop Hanser from working near children, but the church would not intervene. "It's up to the church to decide where he works," argued the priest's lawyer. When the outraged victim went to the press to warn the public that a pedo priest was near children, Hanser sued him for the same $65,000 because he violated his own part of the deal -- to keep the settlement secret. The message is clear: shut up about outrageous abuse, or we'll sue you for catching us.
Sued the neighbor he was trying to steal from
In June 1998, a 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000.00 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran his hand over with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice someone was at the wheel of the car whose hubcap he was trying to steal.
Moved to a storage unit, then sued the storage yard
Wanda Hudson, 44, of Mobile, Ala. After Hudson lost her home to foreclosure, she moved her belongings to a storage unit. She says she was inside her unit one night "looking for some papers" when the storage yard manager found the door to her unit ajar -- and locked it. She denies that she was sleeping inside, but incredibly did not call for help or bang on the door to be let out! She was not found for 63 days and barely survived; the formerly "plump" 150-pound woman lived on food she just happened to have in the unit, and was a mere 83 pounds when she was found. She sued the storage yard for $10 million claiming negligence. Even though the jury was not allowed to learn that Hudson had previously diagnosed mental problems, it found Hudson was nearly 100 percent responsible for her own predicament -- but still awarded her $100,000.
Sued his dog-sitter after the dog escaped
Doug Baker, 45, of Portland, Ore. Baker says God "steered" him to a stray dog. He admits "People thought I was crazy" to spend $4,000 in vet bills to bring the injured mutt back to health, but hey, it was God's dog! But $4,000 was nothing: he couldn't even take his girlfriend out to dinner without getting a dog-sitter to watch him. When the skittish dog escaped the sitter, Baker didn't just put an ad in the paper, he bought display ads so he could include a photo. His business collapsed since he devoted full time to the search for the dog. He didn't propose to his girlfriend because he wanted the dog to deliver the ring to her. He hired four "animal psychics" to give him clues to the animal's whereabouts, and hired a witch to cast spells. He even spread his own urine around to "mark his territory" to try to lure the dog home! And, he said, he cried every day. Two months in to the search, he went looking for the dog where it got lost -- and quickly found it. His first task: he put a collar on the mutt. (He hadn't done that before for a dog that was so "valuable"?!) After finding the dog, he sued the dog sitter, demanding $20,000 for the cost of his search, $30,000 for the income he lost by letting his business collapse, $10,000 for "the temporary loss of the special value" of the dog, and $100,000 in "emotional damages" -- $160,000 total. God has not been named as a defendant.
Policeman confused a Taser with a gun, killed a suspect, then sued Taser
The City of Madera, Calif. Madera police officer Marcy Noriega had the suspect from a minor disturbance handcuffed in the back of her patrol car. When the suspect started to kick at the car's windows, Officer Noriega decided to subdue him with her Taser. Incredibly, instead of pulling her stun gun from her belt, she pulled her service sidearm and shot the man in the chest, killing him instantly. The city, however, says the killing is not the officer's fault; it argues that "any reasonable police officer" could "mistakenly draw and fire a handgun instead of the Taser device" and has filed suit against Taser, arguing the company should pay for any award from the wrongful death lawsuit the man's family has filed. What a slur against every professionally trained police officer who knows the difference between a real gun and a stun gun! And what a cowardly attempt to escape responsibility for the actions of its own under-trained officer.
Sued the school over 10-day suspension
Kids across America are warned to stay away from "nose candy" in anti-drug campaigns. But a Kanawha County student is fighting his suspension for pretending to put actual candy up his nose. According to a lawsuit filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on December 2006, a student-athlete at Sissonville High School was given Smarties candy as a reward for good academic performance. In front of his teacher and fellow classmates, the student pretended to put one of the small candy discs up his nose.
Sued him for having the same name
The Tribune Co. of Chicago, Ill. The newspaper chain owns several newspapers, as well as the Chicago Cubs baseball team. One of its newspaper carriers was Mark Guthrie, 43, of Connecticut. One of its ball players was Mark Guthrie, 38, of Illinois. The company's payroll department mixed the two up, putting the ballplayer's paycheck into the paper carrier's bank account. The carrier allowed them to take back 90 percent of the improperly paid salary, and said they could have the rest after they gave him a full accounting to ensure he not only got his own pay, but wouldn't have any tax problems for being paid $300,000(!) extra. The Tribune Co., rather than provide that reasonable assurance, instead sued him for the rest of the money.
Sued Consumer Reports magazine after bad review
"High Tech" retailer Sharper Image sells a lot of its "Ionic Breeze" air filters. As part of a comparative review of many air filters, Consumer Reports magazine found the "Ionic" unit was the worst performer. SI complained, saying it didn't do a "fair" test. CU asked what sort of test should be done, but SI never replied -- until it sued CU. A federal judge ruled the suit not only had no merit, but was actually an illegal attempt to squelch public discussion. SI was ordered to pay CU $400,000 to cover its legal defense costs.
Sued GM because of roof standards after accident
Edith Morgan, mother of Kansas City Chiefs football star Derrick Thomas, who died after being thrown from his SUV in a crash while speeding in a snowstorm. Morgan said Thomas's neck was broken because the SUV's roof collapsed a few inches -- not from rolling down the highway because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt -- and sued General Motors. Her lawyer begged jurors to award more than $100 million in damages, perhaps more -- he "did not want to put an upper limit on it." GM pointed out that Thomas's oversize SUV was exempt from federal roof crush standards, yet it met them anyway. The jury sent a message: of that $100 million, it awarded Morgan ...nothing.
Sued Radio Shack for misspelling her town
Tanisha Torres of Wyndanch, N.Y. The woman sued Radio Shack for misspelling her town as "Crimedanch" on her cell phone bill. She didn't even ask them to change it; she just sued. "I'm not a criminal," she whined. "My son plays on the high school football team." Yeah, that makes sense. The name "Crimedanch" is a common joke; police in the area confirm it's a high-crime area. Still, Torres claimed she suffered "outrage" and "embarrassment" at having to see that spelling on her private phone bill. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Sued Mazda because it failed to provide instructions about the seatbelt
Mary Ubaudi of Madison County, Ill. Ubaudi was a passenger in a car that got into a wreck. She put most of the blame on the deepest pocket available: Mazda Motors, who made the car she was riding in. Ubaudi demands "in excess of $150,000" from the automaker, claiming it "failed to provide instructions regarding the safe and proper use of a seatbelt." One hopes Mazda's attorneys make her swear in court that she has never before worn a seatbelt, has never flown on an airliner, and that she's too stupid to figure out how to fasten a seatbelt.
Sued Blain and Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to him
Christopher Roller of Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to him -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly powers" -- and since Roller is god (according to him), they're "somehow" stealing that power from him.
Sued neighbors after being scared of them walking on her front porch
Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!) that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may have to move. But hey: she won.
Sued the bank for loss of sleep over fee
Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is more like being "paddled".
Sued a store for "allowing" wild birds to fly around in the air
Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries. That's right: outside the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for "at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown out of court.
Sued the phone company after having complications with the doctor
Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the phone company! She won $1.2 million plus $375,000 for her husband for "loss of spousal services and companionship."
Sued the rescue workers who saved her
Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who risked their lives to save hers.
Sued Home Depot after a prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat
Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed, yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty complained the offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3 million.
Sued hospital for having to see the doctors rushing to help their mother
Sisters Janice Bird, Dayle Bird Edgmon and Kim Bird Moran sued their mother's doctors and a hospital after Janice accompanied her mother, Nita Bird, to a minor medical procedure. When something went wrong, Janice and Dayle witnessed doctors rushing their mother to emergency surgery. Rather than malpractice, their legal fight centered on the "negligent infliction of emotional distress" -- not for causing distress to their mother, but for causing distress to them for having to see the doctors rushing to help their mother. The case was fought all the way to the California Supreme Court, which finally ruled against the women. Which is a good thing, since if they had prevailed doctors and hospitals would have had no choice but to keep you from being anywhere near your family members during medical procedures just in case something goes wrong. In their greed, the Bird sisters risked everyone's right to have family members with them in emergencies.
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