Sensational news stories and frivolous lawsuits hit our nation’s headlines everyday. In a time when courts are overrun with sue-happy consumers and litigious lawsuits, some are just outright bizarre. Below is a list of the seven most ridiculous lawsuits of all time.
1. Man Sues Budweiser for Failing to Help Him Attract Beautiful Women
Budweiser wasn’t the first company to use gorgeous and flirtatious women in their ad campaigns, nor were they the last. After all, sex sells – espe
cially for the beer-guzzling American man. What they may not have planned for, however, was just how convincing their advertising tactics truly were.
Sad, lonely Richard Overton filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch in 1991 because, despite consuming more and more of their beer in order to lure the attractive women in their ads, the lager failed to make his fantasies of having beautiful women fawn over him a reality. Overton sued Anheuser-Busch for $10,000, claiming to have suffered emotional distress, mental injury and financial loss. Needless to say, the case was dismissed.
2. Pennsylvania Graduate School Student Sues Teacher Over C+ Grade
You’ve heard of students begging for better grades, offering too late to complete extra credit assignments and even bribing teachers to raise their scores. But it isn’t often that we hear about a student suing over an unsatisfactory grade.
Graduate student Megan Thode was more than displeased when she discovered that her mediocre C+ grade would prevent her from getting her intended degree and becoming a licensed therapist. According to Thode’s math, this would cost her $1.3 million in lost earnings. This case might ring a bell, as it is currently being heard in Northampton County Court.
3. The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit
Americans began to question the judicial system when this infamous case hit national headlines. The incident that led to the lawsuit occurred when McDonald’s customer Stella Liebeck spilled coffee in her lap while driving. When the public got wind of the news, the question everybody sardonically asked was “Didn’t she know that coffee was served hot?”
But when digging deeper into the case, some might argue that Liebeck had legitimate reasons to sue. Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants was a 1994 product liability case that questioned the scorching temperature of the coffee that was served to her. The normal temperature of coffee is between 130 and 140 degrees, while Liebeck’s was served between the temperatures of 180 and 190. This caused her to suffer third degree burns that covered six percent of her body.
After much debate, Stella Liebeck was awarded $640,000. Her compensatory damages were reduced by 20% because a jury ruled that her injuries were 20% her fault because she should have known not to have held her coffee in her lap without a lid.
4. Man Sues Himself and Asks the State to Pay
Time behind bars can lead inmates to some seriously peculiar ideas.
In 1995, inmate Robert Lee Brock from Indian Creek Correctional Center filed a lawsuit against himself for a whopping $5 million for violating his own civil rights. Errr . . .
Brock contended that his religion forbids the use of alcohol, and that even so, he made the choice to drink, which led him to commit the crimes that had him sent behind bars in 1993– breaking and entering and grand larceny. “I caused myself to violate my religious beliefs,” Brock insisted. He angrily demanded $5 million from himself, but insisted that the state should pay it on his behalf because he was a “warden of the state.” As you may guess, the case was swiftly dismissed.
5. A $10 Dry Cleaning Bill Turns Into a $67 Million Civil Lawsuit
Sure, we’ve all had our issues with customer service. But who knew that the phrase “satisfaction guaranteed” could encourage a multimillion-dollar legal battle?
In May 2005 Roy L. Pearson was preparing to begin his new job as administrative judge and was looking forward to sporting a nice suit for his first day at work. He brought a pair of pants to a dry cleaner for alterations and they went missing. Pearson first demanded $1,150 for an entire brand new suit, rather than just the pants. The Chungs, who were the owners of the dry cleaner, first offered $3,000, then $4,600 and finally $12,000 for the missing suit, but Pearson continued to push the envelope.
Two years later Pearson decided on a nice, round number. The explanation of the $67 million he chose to sue for included emotional damages, legal fees (although he represented himself), ten years of car rental fees so that he could frequent another dry cleaner and the $395 value of the pants themselves. Pearson not only lost the case, he was required to pay the defendants’ legal fees and a judicial panel recommended that Pearson not receive a ten-year term on the bench.
6. Man Sues Michael Jordan for Facial Resemblance
We thought everyone wanted to be like Mike, but in a bizarre 2006 case Portland man Allen Heckard proved us wrong.
Heckard filed a lawsuit against Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for a combined $832 million. Half of the amount, $416 million, was aimed at Jordan simply for having similar facial features, while the other $416 million was aimed at Nike for turning Jordan into the recognizable figure that he is. Heckard had been mistaken for the NBA superstar for the last 15 years and had grown tired of it. Heckard told the court that Jordan caused him emotional pain and suffering, defamation and personal injury. Heckard eventually dropped the suit.
7. High School Student Sues for Being Woken Up in Class
In 2008, sleepy 16-year-old Connecticut high school student Vinicios Robacher dozed off during class and was awoken when his math teacher, Melissa Nadeau, smacked her palm down on his desk.
The student’s parents decided to sue Danbury High School, the Connecticut Board of Education and the city of Danbury on his behalf, claiming that Vinicios suffered “severe injuries to his left eardrum.” The case was dismissed and Vinicios has been mocked by his fellow students ever since.