01The $67 Million Pants
Roy Pearson was an administrative law judge in Washington D.C. In 2005 he took a pair of pants to a local dry cleaner for alterations. The dry cleaner was owned by South Korean immigrants named Chung. When Pearson went to retrieve the pants a few days later, he discovered they weren't there. The Chungs had inadvertently sent them to the wrong location. The pants were soon located but Pearson refused to accept them. He claimed the pants weren't his despite documentation provided by the Chungs that showed otherwise.
Pearson sued the dry cleaners for $67 million. Among other things, he claimed that the Chungs had committed fraud by failing to honor a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign displayed at the store. A court disagreed and Pearson ultimately lost the case. Pearson's term as a judge expired in 2007, and he was not re-appointed. He sued the city for wrongful termination, but did not get his job back.
02Work Stress Made Me Rob That Store!
Richard Schick was employed by the Department of Public Aid in Illinois. One night he used a sawed-off shotgun to rob a convenience store in Joliet. Schick was convicted of armed robbery and received a 10-year prison sentence. While in prison, he sued his employer for disability and sex discrimination.
Schick had numerous health problems, and claimed that his immediate supervisor had failed to provide adequate accommodations. She had also subjected him to emotional abuse. He contended that the mistreatment he'd endured at work had caused him to commit the robbery. A court awarded him $5 million in damages, $166,700 in back pay, and $303,830 in front pay. An appeals court reversed the decision, but Schick received $300,000 in damages for sex discrimination.
03The Devil Made Me Do IT!
Thomas Passmore was a construction worker who had a history of psychological problems. He was working at a job site in Virginia when he thought he saw the numbers "666" on his right hand. Believing the numbers signified the devil, Passmore grabbed a power saw and cut off his hand.
Passmore's co-workers quickly packed the severed hand in ice and rushed him to the hospital. He was prepared for surgery but then refused to allow it. He claimed that the surgery was against his religion. The physician explained that the hand needed to be reattached immediately for the procedure to be successful. Passmore again refused.
The physician consulted a judge, who determined that Passmore was competent to make his own decisions. The judge also cautioned that if the hand was reattached against the patient's will, Passmore might have grounds to sue the physician and the hospital for assault and battery. The physician closed the wound but did not reattach Passmore's hand.
Passmore later sued the hospital and the surgeon for $3 million. He claimed that the surgeon should have known that Passmore was psychotic when he refused the surgery. The physician should have reattached the hand anyway. A jury disagreed and ruled in favor of the defendants.
04But My Fantasies Never Came True!
Richard Overton sued Anheuser-Busch for allegedly violating Michigan's pricing and advertising act. According to the lawsuit, the brewing company placed ads containing images of beautiful women and tropical settings. The ads were deceptive and misleading because they implied that a person's fantasies could become reality. Moreover, the ads enticed the Overton and other members of the public to drink the company's products. Anheiser-Busch knew its products were potentially dangerous as they could lead to addiction and other health problems. Overton sought more than $10,000 in damages for physical and mental injury, emotional distress, and financial loss.
The court ruled in favor of Anheiser-Busch. It determined that the images in the ads constituted puffing, not fraud. It also found that the brewery had no duty to warn the plaintiff since the risks of alcoholic beverages are widely known. It wasn't clear what injuries Overton had sustained from watching the ads. Perhaps he suffered emotional stress from unfulfilled fantasies.
05It's Your Fault I Look Like You!
Allen Ray Heckard filed a $832 million lawsuit against Michael Jordan and Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Heckerd resembled Michael Jordan in appearance and complained that he was frequently mistaken for the basketball star. Because of Michael Jordan's fame, Heckert suffered harassment by the public. He sought both compensatory damages and punitive damages for emotional pain and suffering. Heckert eventually withdrew his claim, probably due to public backlash. He never received any money from Jordan or Nike.
06I Violated My Own Civil Rights!
Robert Lee Brock was an inmate in a Virginia prison. He was serving a 23-year sentence for breaking and entering, and larceny. During his incarceration, Brock filed numerous lawsuits against the prison. The lawsuits addressed many aspects of prison life, including the food, the clothing, the water, the coffee, and the mail system.
Brock's most ridiculous suit was against himself. He sued himself for $5 million, claiming that he had violated his own civil rights and religious beliefs by getting drunk. His drunkenness was the reason he committed the crimes that landed him in prison. Of course, Brock had no income because he was in prison, so he expected the state to pay the damages. Not surprisingly, the case was thrown out by the judge.
07You Should've Warned Me Those Sneakers Could Be Dangerous!
Sirgiorgio Sanford Clardy is an inmate at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon. Clardy, a former pimp, is serving a 100-year sentence for stomping a john in the face. Apparently, the john refused to pay for services he'd received from a prostitute, and Clardy stomped him as punishment. He also robbed the man and severely beat the prostitute.
Clardy filed a $100 million product liability lawsuit against Nike. His suit claimed that the shoe manufacturer had failed to warn him that his Air Jordans, which he was wearing at the time of the crime, could be dangerous when used as a weapon. Clardy was representing himself. He asked the judge to appoint him a lawyer since he was unfamiliar with the law. Apparently, Clardy thought taxpayers should foot the bill for his lawsuit. The judge declined since the case did not involve a criminal matter. Nike argued that Clardy had provided no evidence that the shoes were defective. The judge agreed and dismissed Clardy's suit.
Most Ridiculous Lawsuits
There are many frivolous lawsuits, but some stand out because they are so preposterous. Here are seven examples.