Business Law & Compliance

6 ridiculous lawsuits

4 min read

26 September 2014

In March this year, the world's jaws dropped as a 59-year-old woman sued her company's landlord when she was attacked by a seagull.

You heard it right. Poor Cathie Kelly fell after losing a shoe as the bird dive-bombed her and claimed that the company did not take “sufficient care” for her safety. In fairness, a nearby rubbish dump had attracted flocks and there were reported cases of people running in and out of the building using umbrellas.

“‘I walked out the door and I barely got to the bottom of the steps and this gull came for me at full speed, wings outstretched, coming right for my face”, she told the court. “I was badly winded and I was in instant pain. It was very painful.”

But this is far from the strangest lawsuit that corporations have faced these past years.

Perhaps history’s most famous example involves McDonalds and a hot paper-cup full of coffee. In 1992, 79-year-old Stella Lieback bought a cup of coffee from a drive through. As she removed the lid, the coffee spilled onto her lap.

This case is actually not as wacky as one might think. Sure, coffee is hot and it sounds strange to sue because of that. The hype surrounding the story, however, always leaves out the part where the liquid was so scalding that she was hospitalised for eight days and underwent skin grafting.

Needless to say, she won.

Roy Pearson, an administrative law judge, was not so successful in his lawsuit.

The judge sued a dry cleaning company for £40m because they had allegedly lost his pants – apparently distinguishable by a trio of belt loops on both sides of the front waistband.

The pants had been mistakenly sent to the wrong dry cleaners and were offered back several days later. But Pearson refused to accept the pants, despite the receipt and cleaners’ records clearly marking them as his.

And let’s not forget the NASA vs Joseph case about… a rock?

In January, a rock with dark red “filling” had been found in NASA photos taken by the Opportunity rover on Mars. Scientists claimed that this ‘mystery’ rock had most likely been moved by the rover.

Neuropsychologist Rhawn Jospeh, however, had quite a lot to say about how NASA handled the matter and demanded that the court make NASA “thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate” the object. He added that it was “inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre” that there were no close-up shots in various angles.

He even went so far as to request that they take“100 high-resolution photos and 24 microscopic in-focus images of the object’s exterior” and hand them over to him.

Take note, the following lawsuit is extremely bizarre.

Jian Feng, a Chinese man who divorced his wife, actually sued her for giving birth to an ugly baby.

After he went so far as to claim she had cheated on him, she finally told him the ugly truth. She had undergone cosmetic surgery worth £70,000.

Of course, he sued her for not telling him before and won the case, walking away with £80,000.

What could something like that, you ask? How about a man suing Nike for claiming the manufacturer was responsible for landing a 100-year prison sentence.

Pimp Sirgiorgiro Clardy stomped on a man face repeatedly when a man tried to leave a hotel without paying one of his prostitutes.

A year later he was found guilty of second-degree assault for using the shoes as a weapon.

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