Lawsuits tend to dispute a serious legal problem and claim a legal or equitable remedy for one or both parties. At least that’s what the definition of a lawsuit is. But there are also plenty of frivolous lawsuits around. It’s either a distant family member or a rowdy neighbor who got into a bar fight or trespassed on private property when drunk; everyone knows at least one such lawsuit.
But there are also some lawsuits that simply go a step beyond. They are so preposterous and absurdly ridiculous that they make national, even international news. The story behind them makes people laugh even decades after the judge ruled and end up being popular folklore stories. Let’s take a look at some of the most ridiculous personal injury claims ever:
1. The missing doorknob
A missing doorknob can get you into a lot of trouble, as Newmark Realty and 40 Worth Associates, two Manhattan-based companies found out. The two companies were sued for negligence by Cedrick Makara, 55, a New York City claims examiner, who suffered injuries to his thumb when using the toilet in the building where he worked. Mr. Makara’s lawyer, Sheryl Menkes, failed to see any bathroom humor in her client’s injuries and asked for more than $3 million in retribution. The accident, which happened in a private toilet stall, left Mr. Makara with injuries so bad that he was unable to work for six months. Also, Mr. Makara had to undergo several surgeries in the following months. The jury awarded Mr. Makara $2 million for past, present and future pain and suffering, as well as $750,000 for his wife, Sheron Makara.
2. The burglar and the dog food
Be careful, burglars will sue too… Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, described by locals as a “career burglar”, was quietly doing his job when an unfortunate event left him trapped inside a home. Apparently, the garage home through which he entered the home had a faulty closing mechanism which left him unable to use it. He then tried to use another door (as well as multiple windows) to escape the building, but they were blocked as well. Following this failed escape attempt, Terrence Dickson was trapped inside the home for eight days. During this time, he was forced to eat dry dog food, various leftovers, and Pepsi, a thing that caused him deep mental anguish. Following a lawsuit filed against the homeowners, the jury awarded him $500,000 for his emotional distress. It’s still unclear whether Mr. Dickson had a career change after this incident.
3. Beer and bikinis
Budweiser, the famous brewing company, was sued by a disgruntled customer in 1991, who suffered emotional distress and psychological trauma caused by an unusual marketing campaign. The sexy ads showed bikini-clad women on screen, after a number of people drank Budweiser beers. The customer took the advertisement literally and suffered psychological trauma, according to his lawyer. Surprisingly, the court didn’t see this as an exaggeration and didn’t dismiss the case. The customer was finally awarded $10,000 in damages.
4. Hair salon depression
Geremie Hoff, from Missouri, sued her favorite hair salon after she experienced a bout of depression and emotional distress when getting her hair straightened. Specifically, the chemicals used in the hair straightening process caused her hair to fall out in large clumps. According to her lawyer, she suffered extensive psychological trauma, depression and was forced to retire early from her teaching position because of this incident. After a year-long lawsuit, Mrs. Hoff won and the salon paid her $6,000 in damages.
As ridiculous as these are, there are people who legitimately need a personal injury lawyer and there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Most lawyers, like Heil-Law, will even offer a free consultation. So don’t hesitate to reach out if need be.
About the author:
Flaviu Mircea, a professional student and freelance writer enjoys sharing civil right knowledge with his audience. If you would like to learn more about Flaviu, you can check out his google+ profile.