The law was once a noble profession. Attorneys were upright men respected throughout their entire community. They fought long and hard for the little people, protecting their rights and raging against the machine. However, with the advent of modern communication, priorities have changed. Self-indulgence and greed have swept through the line of work and it’s now every man for himself.
Billable hours reign supreme and the paycheck is king. The democratization of the law has empowered citizens to play with the system at their convenience. Lawyers scuffle for the smallest scraps of work and no lawsuit is too ludicrous. On that note, here are the top ten wackiest lawsuits ever recorded.
Igor Lehnberg, a Swedish man who was friends with a lesbian couple, wanted to help the ladies have children so he donated sperm for artificial insemination and soon the women had three kids. After breaking up with her significant other, however, the mother of the children filed a lawsuit against Lehnberg for child support – and won. In early 2002, the Swedish court ruled that the man was undeniably the biological father and was therefore condemned to pay a monthly allowance of approximately $280 US.
Robert Lee Brock is reportedly the most legally active inmate in Virginia. “Two Souls Walker,” as he is also known, has burdened the legal system over the years with frivolous suits complaining about prison life and its poor conditions. This 1995 endeavor was against himself.
Brock claimed that he violated his own civil rights and religious beliefs by getting drunk enough to commit crimes and getting arrested. He wanted $5 million, but the real kicker was that he was demanding that the monies be paid by the state on his behalf since he doesn’t have an income while incarcerated. For the record, all his previous grievances have also been rejected.
Sometimes, being frugal can cost you more than anticipated. While apparently trying to steal a soft drink from a vending machine in 1998, 19-year-old Kevin Mackle was rocking it dangerously. Suddenly, the weight shift was too hot to handle and the contraption fell on him. The man died following the accident. His relatives sued Coca-Cola Co., two other companies, and Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec (for about $660,000 US in damages and funeral costs) alleging that the machine was not secured and bore no warning signs.
The moon fall
College life is all about having fun and freshman Hank Reinfeld was making sure of that when he was mooning some friends from a third-floor dormitory window. Unexpectedly, the window gave out and the young man fell out. After having suffered fractures, cuts and bruises, he sued the University of Idaho stating that the institution did not provide a safe environment and that he hadn’t been warned of the dangers of such activities. The lawsuit was unsuccessful.
Pollution doesn’t just effect the environment. In 1995, Dr. Ira Gore, the proud owner of a new BMW 535i, discovered that parts of his automobile had been repainted after having had it detailed in 1990. He found out that the Alabama dealership had done so to conceal damage due to acid rain, so he filed a complaint and was awarded the amount of $4 million. BMW of America appealed the verdict but the German car aficionado still walked away with $4000 in damages and $2 million in punitive damages.
Bachelor parties can be hazardous to your health. Paul Shimkonis, a physical therapist from Florida, learned this the hard way in September 1996. During his own bachelor party, he got whiplash while getting a lap dance from a stripper (a.k.a. “Tawny Peaks”) sporting a 69-HH chest.
The 38-year-old claims that she assaulted him with her breasts, slamming them on his head and almost knocking him out. He said it felt like cement blocks had hit him, and claims that he suffered bodily injury and mental anguish, among other complaints. Still in pain, he sued the topless club, Bloopers (a.k.a. Diamond Doll’s) for $15,000, on TV’s People’s Court no less! Judge Koch ruled that the man was not injured by the dancer.
McLawsuit… over billions served
Some people just love courtrooms. In 1993, a New Jersey man thought he was making great use of his time by eating and driving at the same time. Having propped a milkshake between his legs, he leaned over to the passenger seat to get his food from a McDonald’s bag.
As he did so, his thighs inadvertently squeezed the frozen liquid out of the cup. The sudden shock distracted the driver and the car veered into another. The blame was put on the fast-food chain, which should have warned the man against eating while driving. Unfortunately for him, the case was fruitless.
It was March 1995 and Robert Glaser was pretty excited about attending a Billy Joel and Elton John concert at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. When his bladder called for him to relieve himself, he was confronted with the stadium’s unisex bathroom policy. Approaching the urinals, he noticed a woman using one.
He visited a number of other bathrooms in the stadium but discovered women in all of them. He was embarrassed and claims that emotional distress prohibited him from being able to “go,” and he therefore had to hold it in for around four hours. He sued the stadium and the city for $5.4 million, but lost in the end.
In the recent past, an author was sued for $60 million because of what he had written. Surprisingly, this wasn’t a libel suit; the writer was telling the truth. The plaintiff was a convicted killer and he alleged that he was innocent of the 16 murders the author had written about, making it quite thorny for him to find employment in the future. I guess the man didn’t realize he was on death row. The judge eventually threw out the case.
A 27-year-old man from Michigan was involved in a rear-end collision. Four years later, he sued the owners of the truck that was responsible for the accident. Having suffered minor injuries, he stated that from then on, his sexual relationship with his wife deteriorated, as he was unable to maintain their sex life.
He claimed that he had been so affected by the crash that his personality had been forever changed. In fact, he maintained that the accident turned him into a homosexual. He left his wife, moved in with his parents, began hanging out in gay bars, and became a fervent reader of gay literature. He won his case and was awarded $200,000, while his wife received $25,000.