A lot of folks in the United States believe they’ve never been more than a stone’s throw from striking it rich. Heck, half the country was built on pioneers traveling west in search of sudden wealth! However, the ultimate get-rich-quick scheme has evolved quite a bit since the time of our ancestors.
These days, frivolous lawsuits might be one of the most popular techniques for gaining a sudden windfall of cash. See, when the consumer feels wronged, they have the power to fight back. But some take that power too far, and it’s led to some pretty ridiculous lawsuits—not just in America, but all over the world. Take these 13, for instance…
1. Landlord sues non-tenants: An Israeli couple was ready to sign the paperwork on a new rental. At least, that’s what the landlord thought when the couple sent him a text filled with gleeful emojis that made it seem like they wanted the property. He’d assumed wrong…
chrisjtse / Flickr
Encouraged by the emojis, the landlord removed the property’s ad, but it turned out that the couple wasn’t as committed as he believed—and they backed out of the deal. The landlord, furious at being misled by the miscommunication, sued for the $2,000 in rent he lost. Surprisingly, Judge Amir Weizebbluth ruled in his favor!
The Judicial Authority of Israel
2. Man sues Anheuser-Busch: In 1991, Richard Overton was a little bit miffed. He’d spent thousands of dollars on Anheuser-Busch beers—like Budweiser and Bud Light—because the company’s advertisements led him to believe that their product would up his lady game.
Mtcv / Wikimedia
Of course, no beer can guarantee a healthy love life—a fact Overton learned as soon as he realized that he was not surrounded by beautiful women. Emotionally distraught, he sued for $10,000 in damages. He lost.
3. Grandma sues Universal Studios: Every Halloween, Universal Studios put on an event known as “Horror Nights.” Employees dressed up as ghouls, zombies, and serial killers and tried to spook park guests. It sure was scary—just ask Cleanthi Peters…
Mark Walter / Flickr
Cleanthi allegedly sued for $15,000 when a costumed employee got a little too into his job and chased her and her granddaughter with a fake chainsaw. They slipped and fell in the process and decided to litigate. Unfortunately, the case’s outcome was not reported.
Inside the Magic / Flickr
4. Man sues Foster’s: If you’ve turned on a TV in the past decade or so, you’ve probably seen a commercials for Foster’s beer, complete with Aussie flags, kangaroos, and an accented narrator. A man named Leif Nelson had noticed…
Paul / Flickr
Apparently, it turned Leif’s world upside down when he learned that Fosters wasn’t brewed in Australia, but Fort Worth, Texas. His life a lie, he sued the beer company for an unknown amount for their dishonesty. As of yet, the suit’s result has not been published.
Ben Sutherland / Flickr
5. Man sues British Airways: In 2014, an American dentist named Edward Gamson planned a first-class flight on British Airways to the beautiful city of Granada, Spain. But the trip didn’t quite go as planned…
Nine hours after takeoff, Edward was dismayed to find he wasn’t in Granada, Spain, but the city of Grenada… in the Caribbean. Whoops! The airline refused to refund his tickets, so he sued for $34,000 in damages. He lost the suit.
6. Woman sues Google Maps: One day, Lauren Rosenberg needed walking directions, so she consulted Google Maps. Google suggested a route that had her walking down Utah’s Deer Valley Drive. The problem?
Deer Valley Drive, aka State Route 224, was not fit for foot traffic. There was nowhere to walk, but Lauren gave it the ol’ college try anyway, which ended horrifically when a car smashed into her. She then sued Google for $100,000, but the court dismissed her claim.
7. Man sues New York City subway: A man named Milo Shepard Jr. decided to take his own life by jumping in front of moving subway train. The passing train didn’t kill him, but it did horrifically wound him…
Milo’s family claimed that the train conductor hadn’t slowed down in time. The family sued for $650,000, and surprisingly, they won. Tragically, Milo jumped in front of another subway train years later. That time, he didn’t make it.
Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia
8. Hellmann’s sues competitor: If you have mayonnaise in your fridge, there’s a good chance it’s the Hellmann’s brand, and the company wants to keep it that way. That’s why they sued their competitor, Hampton Creek. Their reasoning, however, was a bit much…
Mike Mozart / Flickr
Mayonnaise is defined as an “egg-based spread,” so when Hampton Creek released their egg-free mayonnaise, Hellmann cried foul. It wasn’t actually mayo, the company claimed, and saying otherwise was false advertising. They eventually dropped the suit.
9. Man sues McDonald’s: In 2014, California’s Webster Lucas just finished pounding back a burger, fries, and an ice-cold Coke when he asked a cashier for more napkins. Then, life as he knew it ended…
Breanna Schulze / Flickr
The cashier allegedly mumbled something, and Webster took it to be be racially discriminatory. His ensuing emotional distress, he noted, left him unable to work, so he sued for $1.5 million. Some say he’s still searching for a napkin; either way, the case was unresolved.
Ryan / Flickr
10. Woman sues Starbucks: Have you ever ordered an expensive coffee only to find you got less than you ordered? Chicago’s Stacy Pincus had—many times—and it frustrated her enough to take legal action…
savoryexposure / Flickr
Stacy sued Starbucks for $5 million, claiming the company misrepresented the amount of actual drink in a venti-sized iced coffees. The lawsuit didn’t get far. As Starbucks had tweeted out a year earlier, if Stacy wanted less ice, she only had to ask. Because of this, a judge threw out the case.
Starbucks / Twitter
11. Judge sues dry cleaner: Washington D.C. Judge Roy Pearson took his pants to the dry cleaner, and because the store had a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign hanging in the lobby, he knew his pants were in the right hands. Or were they?
AP Archives / YouTube
The judge never received the correct pair of pants, so naturally, he sued the family-owned dry cleaner for $54 million. He represented himself during the civil case, and, no joke, worked himself into a tearful frenzy during his testimony. He lost his suit (and his pants).
AP Archives / YouTube
12. Man sues Jack Murphy Stadium and San Diego: While at a Billy Joel Concert at a San Diego arena, Robert Glaser had to whiz. So, he strolled over to the bathroom, went on in, and saw something that, evidently, scarred him…
Farm Aid / Flickr
Robert didn’t realize the bathrooms at the stadium were unisex, so upon entering the restroom of his choice, he saw a woman peeing in a urinal. Frightened by what he saw, he held his pee for four hours and sued the stadium and city for $54 mllion. He lost the suit.
13. Man sues Michael Jordan: Have you ever had someone mistake you for Michael Jordan? Apparently, Allen Heckard had, and it totally ruined his life… so he sued the basketball legend.
Allen “Not Michael Jordan” Heckard sued Jordan for $416 million, an amount he pulled from thin air; it just felt right to him that Jordan should pay big money for “stealing his likeness.” He officially filed the suit, but dropped it after a visit from Nike’s lawyers.
Kip-Koech / Flickr
While there’s always more to the story than meets the eye, these lawsuits sure seem pretty frivolous! Were they get-rich-quick schemes or truly an instance where a consumer was wronged?
Share these crazy lawsuits with your friends below!