When it comes to the stupidest lawsuits, particularly those in the United States where the courts offer plenty of leeway for cases to be heard, there have been many strange ones over the years. Some, such as the McDonald’s coffee being too hot incident received national acclaim while most remain in the territory of local news. So join us as we delve into the 10 most ridiculous lawsuits ever filed.
10. Batman vs. Batman
The town of Batman, Turkey actually tried suing Warner Brothers and Christopher Nolen in 2008 for using, without their permission, the name ‘Batman’. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the town suffered harm because of the film, ‘The Dark Knight’, claiming that the town’s murder rate was going up alongside an increase in female suicide rates. One obvious issue with the lawsuit is that ‘Batman’ films, TV series, and comics have been around since the late 1930s, so why the sudden anger? Needless to say, the lawsuit failed miserably, but it did bring attention to a tiny town that few outside of Turkey had ever heard before.
9. Bank of America Service
After being frustrated by the service he was receiving at Bank of America, Dalton Chiscolm sued them for $1.7 billion trillion. During the trial a professor of mathematics was even called in to testify about how big the number was. To give you an idea, Earth’s total combined GDP was $60 trillion that year. That is still over 28 million times smaller than what he was asking for. See now I like ambition as much as the next guy, but what would they pay him with if he won? Pluto? Unsurprisingly, his case was dismissed.
8. Surfer Has His Wave Stolen
In California, a surfer sued another surfer for allegedly taking his wave, preventing him from enjoying the experience of being on this particular swell of water. Fortunately, the lawsuit was dismissed on the ground that there was no discernible way to put a price on ‘pain and suffering’ when watching another person ride a gnarly wave that you believed was intended for yourself.
7. Man Vs Budweiser
For a while in the 1990s the producers of Budweiser ran a series of ads in which two beautiful women came to life in front of two truck drivers. A Michigan man bought a case of the beer, drank it, and failed to see two women materialize. Cue the lawsuit. He sued the company for false advertising, asking for a sum in excess of $10,000. Thankfully the court dismissed the suit and the man remained broke and very single.
6. Underwater Seat-belt Release
In 1992, 23 year old Karen Norman accidentally backed her car into Galveston Bay in Texas. Norman, with a blood alcohol level of .17 nearly twice the legal limit, was unable to operate her seatbelt and drowned. Naturally, the girl’s parents sued Honda, the maker of the vehicle, for not creating a seat belt that could be easily unfastened by someone who was both drunk and underwater. A jury found Honda seventy five percent responsible for the death of Karen Norman and awarded the family US$65 million in damages.
5. Jonathan Lee Riches
Jonathan Lee Riches claimed he was deep in the hills of West Virginia when he stumbled upon Kanye West and the Kardashian family at a secret Al Qaeda training camp. They supposedly burned the US flag, stomped their feet on a picture of Obama, and Kanye performed for all the Al Qaeda trainees. He also claimed that Kim Kardashian is now the leader of Al Qaeda. Now this may sound very convincing, until you find out that Jonathan Lee Riches is a former prison inmate who has filed over 2,600 lawsuits since 2006. Some other names sued by Riches include Steve Jobs, Britney Spears, George Bush, Martha Stewart and some Somali Pirates.
4. A Rear-end Sexual Identity Crisis
A 27 year old man from Michigan, who suffered minor injuries after his vehicle was rear-ended by a truck, sued the owners four years later claiming that the accident was responsible for him turning into a homosexual. He reportedly lost interest in making love to his wife and she left him. He began reading gay literature and hanging out in gay bars. In a ruling that may have surprised more than a few people, he won US$200,000 and his wife received US$25,000 as a result of the case.
3. Return the Kidney
Richard Batista saved his wife’s life by giving her one of his kidneys. After their divorce several years later he demanded his kidney back. You know what the best part is? Mr Batista is a surgeon himself, which is actually kind of scary thinking about it. He did also say that if his ex-wife refused to give his kidney back to him, he would also be able to settle for $1.5 million, so really you can’t say he didn’t give her options.
2. Not to Be Like Mike
Arguably of all the stupidest lawsuits, this one may top them all. A man by the name of Allen Heckard tried suing Phil Knight, the founder of Nike and Michael Jordan for a whopping US$832 million because he was tired of hearing how he looked like the basketball star. His suit against Knight was for defamation, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering. He claimed that Nike was responsible for making Jordan into one of the most recognized men in the world. The plaintiff stated that he couldn’t ride public transport or go to dinner or even play basketball at his gym without people asking if he was Jordan. It doesn’t help that Heckard chooses to shave his head and wear an earring almost identical to Jordan’s. Heckard eventually dropped the lawsuit.
1. Man Sues Himself
In 1995 Robert Brock, a Virginia state prisoner, decided he wanted to be moved from prison to a mental institution. He claimed that his crime was against his morals and that he had violated his own civil liberties. Although he sued himself for $5 million he also said the state should pay him since he didn’t have an income. Is it just me, or is this man a genius? It’s probably just me.
So there’s our countdown of the stupidest lawsuits ever filed. Did this top 10 list miss anything? Have you heard any other strange lawsuits? If so, let us know on Twitter and Facebook. This list was co-written by Countdown Central. For more amazing fact lists and top 10’s check out their Youtube channel here.