The primary role of the justice system is to protect the citizens’ rights and determine which party is responsible for the crime brought to court. However, as you are about to find out, some people abuse the privilege of having an arbiter settle their disputes. And, at the same time, it’s not only citizens who decide to sue corporations for millions of dollars based on a ridiculous guilt premise. Far from it, as major companies, stars and even police authorities have attempted to turn their obvious mistakes into profits in court. Let’s examine the top ten lawsuits that fringe on absurdity.
1. The Nebraska senator who took God to court
In all fairness, Ernie Chambers’ lawsuit against the almighty was designed as an awareness raising campaign against the local legislation that does not allow people to file “frivolous” lawsuits. The elected state senator considered God directly responsible for acts like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other cataclysms. That is why the lawsuit was filed in a “cease and desist” manner and the stake was a restriction order against God. However, the judge dismissed the case because the defendant had no recorded address at that time. In all fairness, the reason to terminate the legal proceedings fits the lawsuit perfectly.
2. The California police department versus the Taser manufacturer
How should a police officer react when the arrested suspect in the back seat of the vehicle attempts to free himself from the handcuffs and kick down the car window? A Taser of course, this gadget is the easiest solution. But what if the Taser presents uncanny similarities to the handgun? Can one really call shooting the suspect rather than tasing him an honest mistake? Apparently you can and that was the court’s decision when police officer Marcie Noriega shot and killed suspect Evadero Torres point blank with what she believed to be the Taser gun. Not only that, but the Taser manufacturer was sued by the police and held responsible for the accidental death of the suspect.
3. The failed suicide victim who sued the subway train authorities
Back in 1977, Milo Stephens Jr. attempted to take his own life by throwing himself in front of a subway train. Fortunately (or not), the suicide failed, but Stephens was severely injured in the process. With the aid of an enterprising lawyer, he sued the NYC Transit Authority, claiming that the cause of his injuries was the negligence of the conductor who did not decelerate the train accordingly before pulling into the station. And now the funny part: Milo Stephens Jr. actually managed to win the lawsuit and was awarded $650,000, but he attempted the same stunt five years later, with no “personal damage” that time.
4. “Regular guy” versus Anheuser Bush
Don’t believe everything you see in commercials. This is the rule that “regular guy” Richard Overton should have heeded before suing Anheuser Bush for false advertisement and the promotion of false social concepts. There is no denying the fact that some of the cheesy Bud Light commercials depict beer as a mandatory social catalyst or the magical liquor that transforms regular guys into hot chick magnets, but Overton took things a bit too far. When he stated that the company’s promotional campaigns caused him high levels of physical/emotional distress as well as financial problems because he was not able to emulate the scenarios in real life. On a side note, to this day it is not known exactly which Bud Light ad Overton attempted to recreate.
5. The woman who sued a horror themed attraction park
Being attacked by a maniac with a chainsaw on the property of an attraction park is, of course, grounds for a lawsuit. However, what the woman who took Universal Studios to court on this premise failed to mention is that “Leatherface” – a character from the Saw movie franchise – was an employee of the park and the “assault” happened as a part of the Haunted House ride. While no blood was shed in the attack, it suffices to say that her undergarments were rendered unusable.
6. The injured pedestrian versus Google maps
The revolutionary navigation devices are meant to replace traditional maps, not common sense. In this case, Lauren Rosenberg had to learn it the hard way. Following the directions given by Google Maps, she made her way on foot to Utah State Road 224, a highly circulated highway that also goes by the name of Deer Valley Drive only to notice that there was no pedestrian sidewalk. Long story short, she continued her walk towards Park City and got run over by a car and sued Google for it, demanding $100,000 reparations. In all fairness, the aforementioned route is clearly marked as heavily circulated highway and the fact that she did not notice alternative pedestrian roads, so the case was dismissed.
7. The story of the 67 million dollar pants
Roy Pearson, who was a judge in Washington D.C. made good use of his legal training and sued Custom Cleaners – a small, family owned dry cleaning company – for no less than 67 million dollars. He stated, quite eloquently for that matter, that the dry cleaners betrayed his trust and their policy of guaranteed customer satisfaction when they lost his favorite pair of pants. The trial ended when the owner of the dry cleaner presented in court holding the said pair of pants, in spite of the fact that Roy Pearson has never actually admitted those were his pants.
8. RIAA versus the dead “pirate’s” daughter
RIAA is taking music piracy quite seriously it seems. Otherwise, why would they bother sending a warning letter to a person who allegedly uploaded 700 illegal tracks on the internet 1 year after her death? In short, Gertrude Walton’s daughter is still disputing the charges of music piracy filed by RIAA, although she has already sent them the death certificate as well as testimonials that her mother didn’t knew how to operate a computer!
9. The man who took the Jackass idiom to a whole new level
When you legally change your name to Jack Ass, you should be prepared for the repercussions. Mr. Ass – who was an anti alcohol campaign promoter and utilized his name as part of the slogan – filed a lawsuit against Viacom’s popular show Jackass for defamation. Needless to say, the lawsuit was dismissed pretty quickly because, after all, why would you even change your name to Jack Ass?
10. Robert Lee Brock versus himself
The Brock versus Brock was a carefully orchestrated scheme in which Robert Lee Brock sued himself for “violating his civil rights” when, after ingesting a large amount of alcohol, he was apprehended by the police. Because he was sentenced to 23 years in the slammer, he had no income to pay himself the reparations. This means that – providing he won – the State of Virginia would owe him 5 million dollars. He didn’t, the case was immediately rejected as frivolous!