Tag Archives: stupid lawsuits

The Silly Season

19 Jan

They call that magical time around Christmas and New Year’s many things: ‘the festive season’, ‘the holidays’, ‘non-descript religious or secular celebration period’, ‘the festival of bombarding my letter box with junk mail’, ‘how to buy eleven gifts in one shop in 25 minutes-fest’, and many more.

One commonly used term is the ‘silly season’.  Presumably this is to reflect the fact that people do things such as get drunk at their office party, pash the weird person from cubicle 17, and then spew on their boss’ shoes.  However, upon reflecting upon the news of the world during the most recent silly season, I think it goes deeper than that.  In fact, it might be time to update the phrase. Perhaps, ‘I’m embarrassed to live on this planet season’.  You need evidence?  Observe.

Silly Curiosity

In country Victoria, Australia, a man by the name of Laurence found himself stuck in an awkward position.  How awkward?  Try stuck in a top-loader washing machine.  Naked.  To the point that he needed the assistance of rescue services to get him out.

Yes, just before jumping into the shower, a naked Laurence wondered whether he could fit into his washing machine, or as he put it, he “decided to have a bit of sneaky fun while in the nude”.  Possibly the first person to decide that loading himself into a washing machine is the preferred method of having sneaky fun in the nude, Laurence soon found out that he indeed could fit into the machine.  Unfortunately just a little too snuggly.

This is what happens when you put men in charge of the washing.

This is what happens when you put men in charge of the washing.

For reasons impossible to guess, Laurence had brought his mobile phone with him, so when he realised he was stuck, he called a female friend for help.  As could be expected, when he told her that he was stuck naked in a washing machine, she didn’t believe him.  He eventually managed to convince her, at which point he instructed to call his parents to bring an angle grinder to slice the washing machine in half, or otherwise the emergency services.  She chose the latter, probably wisely depending on how accurate his parents are with an angle grinder.

At first the rescue teams tried greasing Laurence with shower conditioner and olive oil, but to no avail.  After twenty minutes, most of which I assume was spent gawking in amazement and trying to get Laurence to explain what he was really doing, they managed to get him out by tipping the washing machine over and watching him slide out.

Needless to say no one will ever want to wash their clothes in that machine again.

Silly Mistake

Some felons in Germany obviously partied a bit too hard over the New Year’s period, as they made a mistake so silly it was criminal.

Workers at five separate stores in and around Berlin were unpacking crates of bananas to stock their shelves, only to make an unusual discovery.  The crates contained not only bananas, but also a collective 140 kilograms (309 pounds) of cocaine.  Talk about a fruit salad with a kick.

Don't put these bananas in your kids' lunchbox.

Don’t put these bananas in your kids’ lunchboxes.

The head of Berlin’s anti-drug squad looked into the unusual deliveries and discovered that the crates had come from Columbia via Hamburg.  Squad member Olaf Schremm said that the smugglers had probably made “a logistical error”.  Given that the drugs had a street value of 6 million Euros, that’s one heck of an error.  Upon hearing the news the head of that drug ring no doubt went bananas.

Silly Lawsuit

We’ve shown a lot of silly lawsuits lately here on Hesaidwhatnow? but it seems they just keep coming.  A man by the ridiculous name of Sirgiorgiro Clardy from Oregon, US, was given a whopping 100-year jail term for a range of crimes, among them stomping on a man’s face with a pair of Nike shoes for failing to pay for a prostitute Clardy was pimping.  To demonstrate that he was not only a quality citizen but a cautious and thoughtful litigant, Clardy then filed a lawsuit that’s probably the dumbest of the year so far.

He sued Nike $100 million for failing to label his shoes as “dangerous weapons”.

Yes, Clardy clearly feels as though his violent stomping assault of the victim was as much Nike’s fault as his own, as they did not warn consumers that their products could be used as a weapon.

These Nikes may look cute, but they are MORE DEADLY THAN GUNS!!!

These Nikes may look cute, but they are MORE DEADLY THAN GUNS!!!

As Clardy explains in his typically well written lawsuit, “Under product liability there is a certain standard of care that is required to be upheld by potentially dangerous product… [Due] to the fact that these defendants named in this Tort claim failed to warn of risk or to provide an adequate warning or instruction it has caused personal injury in the likes of mental suffering.”  I think the mental problems started long before Clardy got his hands on a pair of Nikes.

Hopefully we’ll never have to read on the side of a box of Nike shoes, “Warning: These shoes can be dangerous if used to stomp in the head of someone who refuses to pay for a trick.”  Pimping ain’t easy.

Silly Headline

Speaking of classy people from Oregon, US, 37-year-old Oregonian man Andrew Frey had a little too much fun a few days before Christmas, resulting in the following actual headline, which made me do a double take when I read it:

“Meth user fights off 15 police officers ‘while masturbating in a bar’.”

Fighting off 15 police officers is a fair effort.  Doing so whilst masturbating?  That’s amazing.  Disgusting, but amazing.

Picture this (actually don’t, because it’s gross): Mr Frey, high on meth, exposed himself to a bartender at Iggy’s Bar & Grill before he began to pleasure himself.  He moved his ‘activities’ to the bathroom before the police were called onto the scene.

Before 15 officers from three different forces finally subdued the offender, Deputy Peter Walker arrived on the scene alone and had a lot of trouble stopping Frey.  According to the official police statement, Deputy Walker used a Taser on Frey “multiple times but it had no effect”.  Are we sure this guy isn’t the Hulk’s more perverted brother?

He was eventually brought down and charged with public indecency, resisting arrest and theft of services, but at least Frey will always truthfully be able to say that he beat off the police one-handed.

On reflection I probably shouldn’t have used the phrase, “beat off”.  That was a bit silly.  ‘Tis the season though.

The Stupidest Lawsuits of All Time: Part Two

22 Dec


In part one of this post, we read about some lawsuits that were optimistic, vexatious, or just downright stupid.  Or all three.  Sadly, (or awesomely depending on your view) they weren’t even the worst of them, as you’ll see in this, The Stupidest Lawsuits of All Time: Part Two.

In part one I also left you with the following pop quiz:

Which of the following are reasons why actual lawsuits were filed by US prisoners:

  1. A prison failed to freeze a prisoner’s ice-cream.
  2. A prisoner received a bad haircut.
  3. A phone message taken for a prisoner contained errors.
  4. A prison refused to serve an inmate veal, lamb and oysters.

The answer?  All of the above!  Obviously!  Yes, evidence suggests that US criminals love themselves a stupid lawsuit.  I suppose they do have a lot of spare time on their hands.

Take, for example, Dale Frank Maisano.  The inmate of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Tucson sued the prison for giving him a “non-medical diet” that resulted in “cramps which caused the plaintiff to lose sleep”.  The amount of damages he was seeking?  One trillion dollars.  You might want to dial that back a notch Dale.

Or not…

Maisano also sued the prison for giving him late meals two days in a row, resulting in him developing an eating disorder.  The amount of damages he sought for that?  TEN trillion dollars!  Needless to say these lawsuits were dismissed.  As were the 380 other suits he’s filed since 1991!  Like I said, they have a lot of spare time on their hands.

"Ten trillion dollars!"

“Ten trillion dollars!”

But it’s not just US criminals who enjoy a stupid lawsuit.  The guys on the other side of the courtroom have proven themselves just as idiotic.  In 2007, a Washington D.C. judge named Roy Pearson sued the owners of a ‘mom and pop’ drycleaners*.  After he had picked up an $800 pair of pants ($800!!!) he had dropped off to be cleaned, Pearson examined the pants and decided that they were not his.  He sued the drycleaners, Mr and Mrs Chung, for stealing his $800 pants (seriously – $800!!!) and swapping them with a cheap replacement.  Even though they didn’t think they’d done anything wrong, the Chungs offered to settle the lawsuit by paying the judge $12,000.

Pearson refused.

Instead he wanted at least $1,500 per defendant for each day that they displayed a ‘Satisfaction guaranteed’ sign on their business (estimated at 12,000 days), emotional damages, the cost of a car to drive to an alternate drycleaners, and legal fees – even though Pearson represented himself!  The total cost of the lawsuit?  $67 million!

Thankfully not all judges are absurdly misguided as Pearson, and his lawsuit was promptly dismissed by the courts, as was his inevitable appeal.  Not only that, Pearson was required to pay the Chungs’ legal fees.  The best part about this story, however, is that Pearson also lost his job as a judge after a review board found he lacked “appropriate judgment and judicial temperament.”  The technical legal term for that comment by the review board is ‘rank understatement’.

I'd like to think Pearson's pants looked like this.

I’d like to think Pearson’s pants looked like this.

What could be worse than suing a hard working, older couple just trying to do a good job?  Suing a pair of children for giving you free cookies.  Yes, a 49-year-old American woman named Wanita Young sued her neighbours, teenagers Taylor Ostergaard and Lindsey Zellitti.  The friends spent an evening baking cookies for the residents of their street.  They wanted their good deed to be anonymous, however, and so left the heart shaped packages of biscuits on their neighbours’ porches, knocked on the doors, and ran away.  They also left behind notes saying, “Have a great night.  From the T and L Club.”  Naturally this enraged and frightened Young, who promptly called the police.  Even though the police saw nothing to suggest a crime had been committed and tried to calm Young down, she admitted herself into hospital the following day with a complaint of an anxiety attack.

Ostergaard and Zellitti apologised to Young when they found out, and their parents offered to pay her medical bills.  She turned down the offer and instead decided to sue.  There is a happy ending, as whilst the judge awarded Young the $900 she was seeking for medical damages, her claim of $3000 for lost wages and new motion-sensor lights was denied.  Also, when the ruling made national headlines, members of the public donated money to the teens to cover their costs.  The moral of the story?  Do not go trick-or-treating in that neighbourhood.

It’s not just crazy people who file ridiculous lawsuits – it’s also crazy cities as well.  In 2008, the mayor of a Turkish city planned suing Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., the director and company behind the film The Dark Knight.  The city sought royalties from the film.  Why?  Because the Turkish city in question is named Batman.

As the mayor said, “There is only one Batman in the world.  The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.”  Not even the Joker would dare commit a crime so outrageous.

The mayor of Batman did not mention why the city hadn’t sued anyone before, even though the character was created in 1939, the TV show debuted in 1966, and five other Batman films were released before The Dark Knight.  It doesn’t take the Caped Crusader to figure out that The Dark Knight’s box office takings of over $1 billion might have had something to do with it.

Perhaps most bizarrely, the mayor planned on claiming damages for a number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate resulting from the psychological impact the film’s success had on the city’s residents.

Bruce Wayne always struggled internally with himself, but this is truly the biggest fight Batman has had with Batman.

"Let's see.  'I'm Istanbul!'  No.  'I'm Ankara!'  Nup.  'I'm Izmir!'  Nope.  'I'm Batman!'  Yes!  That works!"

“Let’s see. ‘I’m Istanbul!’ No. ‘I’m Ankara!’ Nup. ‘I’m Izmir!’ Nope. ‘I’m Batman!’ Yes! That works!”

Going to a strip club on your bucks night can be dangerous, depending on whether or not your fiancé finds out, but for Paul Shimkonis, his visit to the Diamond Dolls Club was particularly fraught with peril.  That was because Shimkonis was injured – by being struck in the face by a stripper’s breasts, resulting in alleged injuries to his face, head and neck.

The alleged ‘assailant’ was Tawny Peaks (possibly not her birth name), a stripper and star of several adult films including Boob Cruise ’94 (I’m not making that up).  Tawny sports a pair of breasts variously reported as between sizes 60HHH and 69HH – in other words, freaking huge – which she used to ‘entertain’ Shimkonis.  However, Shimkonis claimed that Tawny’s breasts were so hard, and hit him so forcefully, that they knocked him out and gave him whiplash.  Or as I like to call it, striplash.

As Shimkonis stated, “I was literally seeing stars.  The best way to describe it is like a concrete block hitting me in the forehead.”  Not sure what the doctor used for Tawny’s implants, but I would stick to silicone if I was him.  In any event, Shimkonis sued Peaks and the Diamond Dolls Club for $15,000 in damages.  Preferably in $1 bills.

Just when you think this story couldn’t get more ridiculous, the lawsuit was heard on the television show, The People’s Court.  After hearing evidence on Peaks’ breasts being like “concrete”, a female bailiff ‘appraised’ her breasts (Tawny’s, not the bailiff’s) and gave evidence that they were, “About two pounds each and of average firmness.”  The lawsuit was dismissed, and Tawny was free to slap her breasts into the faces of more appreciative men.

Finally is this, possibly my favourite lawsuit of all time.

According to he lawsuit of Allen Heckard, of Portland, USA, life was tough.  He couldn’t attend religious services, ride public transport, play sport in public parks, or eat at restaurants without being harassed.  The cause of the harassment, according to his lawsuit, was that Heckard looked too similar to basketball superstar Michael Jordan.  Yes, in 2006 he sued Jordan and the company that helped make him a celebrity, Nike, $416 million each on the grounds that his resemblance to Jordan caused emotional pain and suffering, defamation, and permanent injury.  Apparently not everyone wants to ‘Be Like Mike’.



In Heckard’s words, “I’m constantly being accused of looking like Michael, and it makes it very uncomfortable for me.  Even when I go to the gym I’m being accused of playing ball like him.”  Yes, I’m sure you frequently get told you play like the best and most exciting basketball player that ever lived.  And even if you did, it must be devastating to hear.  As for looking like Jordan, Heckard is six inches shorter and eight years older, which doesn’t help his claims.  And if his ‘resemblance’ to Jordan is so problematic for him, perhaps he could stop shaving his head and wearing Nike earrings and Jordan sneakers.

Heckard eventually dropped the suit.  He was last seen at the Diamond Dolls Club.

The Stupidest Lawsuits of All Time

4 Nov

A few months ago an American man named Chris Sevier sued Apple in what has got to be one of the most optimistic legal claims of all time.  The thirty six year old filed a lawsuit seeking damages and injunctive relief against the tech company for creating devices that resulted in his addiction to porn.

Don’t laugh – Sevier is a victim.

Sevier was a victim because, according to his lawsuit, “But for the Plaintiff’s use of the Apple product, the quality of the Plaintiff’s life would have been much better and injury would have been avoided.  The Plaintiff sustained these unwarranted damages in the course of using Apple’s product as designed.”  Further, by allowing Sevier to access porn the products, “systematically poisoned his life.”

Noticeably absent from the lawsuit is the term “self-control”.

Get that Devil's instrument away from me!

Get that Devil’s instrument away from me!

The plaintiff’s 50 page complaint is loaded full of gems.  Among the highlights:

–        Porn is responsible for American girls traveling overseas and being abducted for sex trafficking.  He didn’t refer to it explicitly in the lawsuit, but I’m pretty sure Sevier has watched Taken a few too many times.

–        The beginning of Sevier’s descent into addiction began when he “accidentally misspelled ‘facebook.com’ which lead him to ‘f**kbook.com’ and a host of web sites that caused him to see pornographic images that appealed to his biological sensibilities as a male”.  That’s one hell of a typo.  If indeed it was an accident, his subconscious is screaming at him.  I also love his horniness being referred to as his “biological sensibilities as a male”.

–        The Apple device resulted in “unfair competition” between porn actresses and Sevier’s wife, the result being that he “began desiring, younger more beautiful girls featured in porn videos than his wife, who was no longer 21”.  Ignoring the shocking grammar, that is one of the funniest statements anyone has ever made about their wife.

–        Sevier’s proposal for Apple devices to automatically block pornography would boost the economy of “the bricks and mortar pornography industry”, whose businesses are being threatened by their online counterparts.  Sevier isn’t just looking out for himself, but for all of the good people of America.

I don’t like Sevier’s chances of a favourable result, which is a shame, because any lawsuit that uses phrases like “intent to cause vicarious arousal” and “‘mom and pop’ porn shops” should be applauded.

I would advise in future that Sevier gets a lawyer to file lawsuits on his behalf, instead of doing it himself.  Wait a second – Sevier is a lawyer.  God bless America.

This bizarre legal claim reminded me of a few other lawsuits that defied logic, and so here are some of the Stupidest Lawsuits of All Time.

Graduating With Honours, But Without Honour

Trina Thompson graduated from Monroe College in New York, USA, in April 2009.  Three months later she hadn’t been able to find employment in her industry of information technology and so she undertook the only logical option available to her – she sued the college for failing to secure her a job.

Thompson sought damages of $70,000 for the cost of her tuition, plus $2,000 for the stress of spending three months unsuccessfully trying to find employment.  There are plenty of reasons why someone might not be able to find a job straight out of college.  The first reason that comes to mind is that little thing called the Global Financial Crisis.  In this instance, however, I think we shouldn’t overlook the fact that Thompson is clearly an idiot.

Evidently Monroe College don’t teach their students common sense.

Beer, I Thought We Were Friends

In 1991, Richard Overton sued beer manufacturer Anheuser-Busch for $10,000.  It’s amazing to think that someone could have any problems with a company that goes out of its way to produce beer for our enjoyment, but Overton did.  Did he consume a beer that was tainted with an unwanted ingredient?  Did he cut himself on a broken bottle?  Did he get run over by a beer truck?

No, Overton sued the company because although its commercials showed that drinking Budweiser beer would lead drinkers to “scenic tropical settings [with] beautiful women and men engaged in endless and unrestricted merriment”, it turned out to be “untrue” when Overton began to drink the product.  That’s right, because Overton didn’t suddenly find himself on a tropical island with a bunch of hotties, he sued the company for false and misleading advertising that caused him emotional distress, financial loss and mental injury.  I think the mental injury must have occurred long before he began consuming the product.

Heads up dude, this won't happen either if you drink German beer.

Heads up Overton: if you drink German beer, this won’t happen either.

Needless to say his lawsuit was dismissed.  It is believed that Overton is now focussing on suing Red Bull on the basis he drank a can and didn’t grow wings.  Some members of the legal profession are probably hoping he still tries to fly off a building.

What is This Slop?

In 1989, a man named Kenneth Parker sued the US state of Nevada $5,500.00 for mental and emotional pain.  What could cause him such distress?  He ordered two jars of chunky peanut butter from a state run facility, but one of the jars he received was smooth peanut butter.   Not cool Nevada.  Not cool.

What makes Parker’s claim a little more unusual (it’s possible!) is that the state run facility he was suing was a prison.  A prison in which Parker was an inmate, serving 15 years for armed robbery.

Yes, Parker was suing his prison for giving him the wrong kind of peanut butter.  His lawsuit could not be more outrageous than that.  Except that it was.  Parker was also seeking a jail term for the worker who gave him the smooth peanut butter.  Presumably so that the worker would know what it’s like to get given incorrect condiments in prison.

"Aw, hell no muthaf*cka!"

“Aw, hell no muthaf*cka!”

Somehow it took two years before the lawsuit was finally dismissed.  Parker’s lack of success didn’t discourage other prisoners from filing claims though.

I Hate This Guy

Possibly the most creative lawsuit on this list was filed by inmate Robert Lee Brock, who was serving a lengthy sentence for grand larceny and breaking-and-entering in Virginia, US.  He sued the person that he thought was most responsible for him being incarcerated.


Yes, Brock sued himself $5 million for breaching his own “religious and civil rights” by “partaking of alcoholic beverages” that led to him committing his crimes.  Talk about hating yourself.  The genius of the lawsuit (if you can call it that), was that given the fact that he was incarcerated, Brock’s claim went on to assert that the state of Virginia should pay the damages on his behalf.  His logic was that the state was denying him from earning an income, and responsible for him during his jail term, and therefore should be responsible to pay the damages.

The lawsuit failed on basically every ground it was made on.  However Judge Rebecca Beach Smith did praise Brock for his “innovative approach to civil-rights litigation.”  Seriously Your Honour – don’t encourage him.

Pop Quiz

There are plenty more ridiculous lawsuits out there, some of which will be in part two of this post.  Until then, here’s a little pop quiz for you.

Which of the following are reasons why actual lawsuits were filed by US prisoners:

  1. A prison failed to freeze a prisoner’s ice-cream.
  2. A prisoner received a bad haircut.
  3. A phone message taken for a prisoner contained errors.
  4. A prison refused to include veal, lamb and oysters on its menu for inmates.

Share your guesses in the comments section below and check back into Hesaidwhatnow? later for the answers!