People get hurt because of shoddy products, negligence, and other irresponsible actions. As a result, they suffer pain and may not be able to work for extended periods of time. They sue for compensation and may be awarded huge settlements.
But others sue for strange, even outlandish reasons – and sometimes win their cases.
Frivolous lawsuits come at a high price: They tie up the legal system, damage productivity and innovation, and result in higher costs for many products and services. Nevertheless, litigious individuals keep trying. People sue their friends and neighbors, students their teachers and schools, patients their doctors, and occasionally children their parents.
The following lawsuits are real cases that were settled in court. If these things had happened to you, would you also have sued? If you were on the jury, how would you have voted?
The Power Of The Press
Administrative Judge Roy Pearson took his favorite pair of pants for pressing by a local cleaners, which was owned by the Chung family. The pants were lost. The cleaners offered to pay for them but the owner declined the offer. The Chungs then raised their offer to $150, to $3,000, $4,500, and finally $12,000. But Pearson, who said these were his favorite pair of pants, had a higher number in mind; he wanted $54 million.
In the trial that followed, Pearson, acting as his own lawyer, began to cry. “Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices,” he said. A judge ruled against him and the Chungs maintained their clean record.
Inmate Scott G. escaped from a Pueblo County jail in 2006, and when caught, complained that “it was way too easy to get out of the jail.” But his complaint fell on deaf ears, no changes were made, and he escaped again, this time by tying bed sheets together and using them as a rope to slide down the side of the building.
Scott fell and sued, blaming authorities for his injuries because “they did next to nothing to make sure that the jail was secure and the plaintiff could not escape.” But the judge saw things differently, and fined Scott $66,000 for the costs associated with his two escapes.
It Was An Expensive Trip
Kathleen R. was awarded $80,000 when she tripped over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store and broke her ankle. It was surprising that Kathleen sued – and won – because the toddler was her daughter.
Some Night Cap
Carl T. won $70,000 in damages plus medical expenses after a neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda. Carl hadn’t realized that someone was sitting behind the wheel of the car because he was focused on something else – stealing one of the car’s hubcaps.
Never Tasted That Before
Terrence D. just burglarized a house and tried escaping through the garage, but the automatic opener malfunctioned and he was trapped. Terrence, stuck there for eight days, survived by drinking Pepsi and eating dog food. He sued for mental anguish and won $500,000. Hopefully, that made him feel better.
- W. was awarded $14,000 plus medical expenses after being bitten by his neighbor’s beagle – even though the beagle was on a chain and was in its owner’s backyard. Amazing that he sued and got anything, considering that he was shooting pellets at the dog.
People bring lawsuits for the darndest reasons, and sometimes juries award them huge settlements. In a way it’s like buying a lottery ticket: Ya never know.
Gerald Harris is a financial and feature writer. Gerald can be reached at email@example.com