Television shows like Law & Order have helped pique people’s interests in courtroom drama. Believe it or not, the whole legal circus that unfolds before a judge can be quite exciting to watch.
However, there are some court cases that that seem almost too ridiculous to believe. As serious as their respective plaintiffs might be, these cases are often more laughable than anything else.
Here are 25 of the strangest court cases that actually happened…
1. In 2011, a monkey grabbed ahold of nature photographer David Slater’s camera and snapped a selfie of himself. Animal rights group PETA filed a lawsuit claiming that the copyright for the photograph should belong to the monkey. After years of courtroom drama, both parties eventually came to an agreement.
2. A Raleigh, North Carolina, police officer once tried to sue Starbucks for $750,000 after he spilled a free cup of hot coffee on his lap. A judge took one look at this ridiculously expensive request and he found Starbucks to be not liable for the damages.
3. A woman named Laura Rosenberg used Google Maps to find a safe pedestrian walkway, but the app ended up leading her to a four-lane highway. She walked down the dangerous road anyway, and she ended up suing Google after she was hit by a car. The court decided she couldn’t sue over bad directions.
4. This one is extra outrageous! Colorado Correctional Facility inmate Terry Hendrix was angry at an overturned call during a Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys playoff football game, so he actually tried to sue the NFL for $88 billion! Of course, he didn’t see a single penny.
5. In 1925, a teacher named John Scopes did something no other teacher ever thought to do: teach evolution to his classes at the Tennessee high school where he worked. He ended up getting fined $100, but the Tennessee Supreme Court eventually overturned the guilty verdict.
6. A 77-year-old German playboy named Rolf Eden once filed a lawsuit against a 19-year-old woman simply because she refused to have sexual relations with him. Eden claimed the refusal was age discrimination.
7. After a 59-year-old Scottish woman was viciously attacked by a seagull one afternoon, she fell hard onto the cement ground. She filed a lawsuit against the surrounding office buildings, claiming they didn’t do enough to offer her safety. The judge rejected the case out of court because no one could determine where the seagull came from.
8. At Erasmus University in the Netherlands, one student never wore shoes and never washed his feet, and the school actually expelled him because the odor was too distracting to other students. In 2009, a judge ruled that smelly feet were not grounds to expel a student.
9. During a bank robbery, Todd Kirkpatrick pointed his gun at responding police officers, and one shot him twice. While he was in prison, Kirkpatrick tried to file a lawsuit against the city for over $6 million, claiming his medical bills were in excess of $300,000 and the other police on the scene failed to stop the officer who shot him.
10. In 1980, a woman named Lindy Chamberlain was camping with her husband and two-month-old child, Azaria. Azaria disappeared one night, and Chamberlain claimed a dingo snatched her from their tent and ate her. No one believed her, and she was arrested for murder. However, a few years later, a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found outside a dingo’s lair. After spending three years behind bars, Chamberlain was acquitted.
11. Forty-four-year-old Fredric Desnard absolutely hated his job. He felt it was too boring, and it was leading him down a road of depression. So, he decided to sue his employer. His court case is currently waiting to be heard.
12. In 1985, two teenagers tried to commit suicide after listening to an album by the rock band Judas Priest. The parents of both kids tried to sue the band, saying there were subliminal messages on the album that coaxed them into suicide. The teens had a history of disturbed behavior, however, and the judge ruled in favor of the band.
13. After a nursing student named Jennifer Burbella failed her school’s final exam twice in a row, she tried to sue the school, claiming they didn’t put enough effort into helping her with her anxiety and depression.
14. A woman once tried to sue FedEx for placing a package too close to the front door of her home. She apparently tripped over the box and fell. She said the incident caused her severe pain, anguish, and humiliation.
15. A woman named Cathy McGowan won a radio competition that claimed she would receive a car for her correct answer; she was furious when she received a toy car in the mail instead. She sued the station for misleading her… and she actually won! The judge ordered her to be given a brand new Renault Clio.
16. There is a restaurant in Missouri called Lambert’s Cafe, and it’s known for literally throwing bread rolls across the room to tables. After the server accidentally hit one woman in the eye, she sued them for $25,000.
17. A man named Edmond Frank MacGillivray Jr. tried to sue the Michigan State Police Department after he claimed he was mistreated. He wanted $2 billion, and the name he used for his trial was “I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS IN EDMOND FRANK MACGILLIVRAY JR NOW. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS IEFMJN. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OTLOHIEFMJN. I AM THE BEAST SSSOTLOHIEFMJN. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX. BEAST SIX SIX SIX LORD.” It was literally that entire thing.
18. One afternoon, a gas explosion in a city took down an entire building, causing massive damage and bodily harm to those nearby. However, two women who lived in a building not far from the blast tried suing the city for $40 million, claiming mental trauma and physical harm of “like, five or six scratches.”
19. New York resident Leif Nelson absolutely loved Foster’s beer. However, when he found out that it was actually brewed in Texas and not Australia, he was furious. He tried suing Foster’s for misleading him, and he said if they started making it in Australia, he’d drink it again.
20. A Michael Jordan lookalike named Allen Heckard was sick of everyone telling him how much he resembled the former NBA star. He tried filing a lawsuit against Jordan himself and Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, for roughly $800 million. He later dropped the suit entirely.
21. A devout Roman Catholic woman named Jane Mulcahy tried suing her lawyers after they helped finalize her divorce. She claimed they should have recommended a judicial separation, since divorce is a sin in the Catholic religion. They didn’t take her religious observance into consideration. The lawsuit was dismissed by the judge.
22. When an eight-year-old boy named Sean Tarala ran up to hug his aunt one afternoon, he accidentally knocked her over and she broke her wrist. The boy’s aunt actually tried to sue her own nephew due to a formality with an insurance claim, but the judge never awarded her a cent.
23. After a man named Anton Purisima was bitten by a “rabies-infested” dog on a New York City bus, he tried suing several places, including the city, NYC transit, two local hospitals, and an Au Bon Pair store. He asked for “two undecillion dollars.” That’s not a fake number either; it’s $340 trillion trillion trillion!
24. When The Guinness Book of World Records wanted to name federal inmate Jonathan Lee Riches as the world’s most litigious man, Riches realized they wanted to publish statistics about him that he thought were incorrect. Naturally, he sued. The lawsuit this time? They claimed he filed 5,500 lawsuits in his lifetime, but he stated it was only 4,000. Make that 4,001?
25. A police officer from Scotland named Tracey Ormsby was handling a protest in Glasgow when she was hit with a pineapple. She tried suing the city, claiming the protest was handled poorly, and the pineapple incident gave her anxiety and depression. She wanted nearly $2 million, but she was only awarded about $4,000.
Some people will do absolutely anything to make a buck. Luckily, judges don’t often buy into their tricks!
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