When we picture the inside of a courtroom, we think of a place where serious and unfortunate issues are debated. But sometimes when you read or hear the news of a person suing another individual or group of people for something downright crazy, you can’t help but smile. Perhaps you remember the unbelievable liability suit that involved a fast food restaurant and spilled hot coffee?
A woman was awarded over $2 million after she was burned on her lower body by hot coffee served by the restaurant. There are plenty of lawsuits like this one. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most amusing cases. Check out these 8 Hilarious But True Court Cases You Won’t Believe and then tell us what you think!
1. Favorite Pants
In 2007, when Custom Cleaners, a neighborhood dry cleaner, returned what Judge Roy Pearson claimed to be the wrong pair of pants, Pearson, an administrative law judge, decided to take action and sue for $67 million. He claimed that the pants he dropped off for alteration had been lost and the dry cleaner did not meet the claim of the “satisfaction guaranteed” sign that hung in the dry cleaner’s window. The $67 million, which later was lowered to $53 million, Pearson says was equal to claims for common law fraud violations. Pearson eventually lost the pant case after he failed to prove the trousers he picked up were not his.
2. Beware of Killer Whales
In 1999, Daniel Dukes tragically died while trying to achieve his lifelong dream of swimming with a whale. He hid himself from the Sea World security guards and was killed by an Orca whale after the park closed. Daniel’s parents filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Sea World for failure to display public signs warning of the dangers which whales can cause to humans. The suit was quietly dropped later with no explanation for the family’s change of heart.
3. Tuition Non-Refundable
When Trina Thompson of New York was unable to find a suitable job following graduation from Monroe College, she filed a $72,000 case in 2009 against her alma mater. Thompson, who graduated with a 2.7 GPA, claimed the college’s career services department didn’t provide sufficient help with her job search and gave preferential treatment to students with excellent grades. She sought to regain the $70,000 she had spent on tuition for her bachelor’s degree in information technology plus an extra $2,000 for the stress caused during her three-month job search.
4. When it Rains it Pours
What happens when we put all our trust in a weather prediction? A bad day evidently. An Israeli woman sued a TV station when the weatherman wrongly predicted a nice day. The woman ended up getting caught in the rain, causing her to catch the flu, miss a week of work, and purchase medication. She sued for $1,000, claiming that the incident caused her stress, and won the hilarious, but true court case.
5. Drunken Identity
In 1991, Richard Overton sued Anheuser-Busch for $10,000 claiming the company had falsely advertised the scene of beautiful women and men enjoying themselves while drinking beer. Overton was upset when he discovered this type of lifestyle was not a reality from merely drinking beer. His case was promptly dismissed.
6. Costly Break-Up
In 2011, Melissa Cooper was awarded $50,000 after she sued Christopher Kelley, her former fiancé and father of one of her children, for fraud and breach of promise. Kelley gave Cooper a ring in 2004. After a 10-year relationship he broke off their engagement for another woman. Kelley argued that the $10,000 engagement ring he’d given Cooper was not a promise of marriage; however his argument did not hold up in court.
7. Waiting on a Train
In 2008, an Illinois woman Gayane Zokhrabov, 58, tried to sue the estate of Hiroyuki Joho, 18, an unfortunate victim of a train accident. While attempting to catch an inbound Metra train, Joho ran across the tracks and was struck by an Amtrak train traveling 70 mph. Portions of the victim’s deceased body struck Zokhrabov as she waited on a nearby train platform, injuring her shoulder, wrist and leg. The lower court judge dismissed the morbidly bizarre case, stating that the young man could not have predicted where his body would strike because he was dead. An appeals court later disagreed and said that it was “reasonably foreseeable” that a high-speed could kill Joho and send his flying body parts into crowds of waiting passengers.
8. No Name and No Game
Some people go to great lengths to look like their favorite celebrity. However, Allen Heckard of Portland, Ore., had often been confused for Michael Jordan and did not enjoy it. He sued the NBA star along with the cofounder of Nike, Phil Knight, in 2006 for $832 million. Heckard’s looks were not far off from the basketball legend, and he even sported a similar earring. But he was eight years older and six inches shorter than Jordan. Heckard dropped this hilarious, but true court case when he realized he had no reasonable explanation for the $832 million he was suing for.
As unbelievable as these court cases may seem, they are all real. Which one has you scratching your head? Did we leave off any lawsuits that should have made our list of 8 Hilarious But True Court Cases You Won’t Believe? If so, share your comments below. And remember, if you ever need an engineering or forensic expert witness, don’t forget us here at Ivey Engineering. We provide service to all 50 states and Canada.