Craziest, Most Frivolous Lawsuits in History
What do you do when things don't go your way? If you're like most people, you chalk it up to a bad day, turn in, and hope for a better one tomorrow.
But a few people take the most minor inconveniences as a personal injustice and seek millions of dollars in ridiculous lawsuits. Since people have the right to sue for anything, some truly bizarre pieces of legal proceedings have taken place that never should have happened.
These are the most absurd and frivolous lawsuits of all time.
30. Home Depot's Lumber Department Tricked Him
Amount sued for: Unspecified
The case: Sometime around 2018, Mikhail Abramov headed to a Home Depot to buy a stack of 4x4 lumber for his latest home improvement project. But when he got home, he discovered that a 4x4 piece of wood was actually 3.5 by 3.5 inches wide. Feeling Home Depot had cheated him out of half an inch of wood on each side, Abramov sued for deceptive practices.
Home Depot's lawyers argued that a 4x4 merely being a common term and not a promise of exact size was common knowledge and that siding with Abramov would "ignore nearly a century of standardization and disturb an entire industry’s reliance on these lumber names."
Doers may get more done, but suers get dropped. The judge dismissed the case and an entire industry doesn't have to rename a product to suit one man.
29. Scary Poster Scared Someone
Amount sued for: Undisclosed
The case: In 2013, Anjanaffy Njewadda was walking through Grand Central Station in New York City when she turned suddenly and locked eyes with something so unbelievable, so frightening, that she fell backward on the stairs and injured her ankle.
Since that scary thing was placed in a walkway by a marketing company, Njewadda naturally assumed that the company who paid the advertisers, CBS/Showtime, and the New York Transit Authority were responsible and should be made to pay.
So she did the American thing to do and sued them. What scared her so bad? Michael C. Hall. The scary object in question was actually an oversized poster for the last season of "Dexter."
Why was that scary? As Njewadda said on the court record it was "the eyes."
Fans who actually saw the last season said it was the writing.
28. Parents Sue, Evict Deadbeat Kid
Amount sued for: Eviction
The case: Picture this. In 2018, Michael Rotondo was a "successful businessman" of an undisclosed business, soon to be 31-years-old and living at his parent's house for the past eight years. His property was a broken-down Volkswagen Passat.
Hey, we're not here to judge. But the judge is. And he ruled in favor of — wait for it — Michael's parents. Despite sending Rotondo several eviction notices, he refused to pay bills, do household chores, or leave the family homestead. So they sued him. And they won.
Sadly, this isn't the first time the guy had lost a lawsuit. In 2017, Rotondo sued Best Buy for $338,500 after he was fired for refusing to work Saturdays.
27. Man Sues to Legally Change His Age
Amount sued for: 20 years off
The case: in 2018, a Dutch "positivity trainer" named Emile Ratelband decided he didn't want to be 69 years old anymore. He believed he looked much younger, darn it, and he was going to make the entire world recognize it — by taking his case to court. One of the reasons why he wanted to be recognized as younger guy? To score on Tinder.
"If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work," he said. "When I'm on Tinder and it says I'm 69, I don't get an answer. When I'm 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position."
That luxurious position was denied, as courts tossed out Ratelband's case. Looks like he'll be getting old just like the rest of us.
26. Vanilla Ice Cream Isn't Just Frozen Vanilla
Amount sued for: Class action
The case: In 2019, Friendly's was the defendant in not one, but two, lawsuits all over a single flavor — vanilla.
According to one of the lawsuits, "ice cream is a year-round treat enjoyed by 96 percent of Americans." And, "vanilla’s desirable flavor attributes … make it one of the most common ingredients used in the global marketplace, whether as a primary flavor, as a component of another flavor, or for its desirable aroma qualities."
But, wait! Friendly's vanilla frozen concoctions don't just consist of vanilla beans. The company had the audacity to include other ingredients as well, particularly coloring agents like turmeric.
Despite all that being publicly listed, the fact that the company would try to "extend" the vanilla flavor and color with other ingredients warranted both lawsuits. So far, one has been officially dismissed and the other is in progress.
25. Michael Jordan Stole My Face!
Amount sued for: $832 million
Result: Case dropped
The case: In 2006, a man in Portland, Oregon was fed up with people telling him he looked like Michael Jordan. According to Allen Heckard, it happened daily — for 15 years.
So to put an end to it, he sued Michael Jordan himself. And for good measure, he sued Nike founder Phil Knight. Heckard's reasoning? Michael Jordan should pay him $416 million for getting famous while looking vaguely like another person on the planet. And why not sue Knight for another $416 for making Michael Jordan so famous in the first place? Sounds solid.
But just as quickly as he filed, Heckard withdrew the ridiculous lawsuit.
24. Pasta Comes in Different Sizes Lawsuit
Amount sued for: Class action
The case: In 2016, a class-action lawsuit was brought against the popular blue box dried pasta retailer, Barilla, after consumers "discovered" that those blue boxes were all the same size, even if the pasta inside was different shapes or sizes.
Rather than go to an astronomical expense designing and manufacturing individual, unique boxes for the dozens of types of pasta the company sells, Barilla instead puts their dried pasta in just a handful of boxes.
Shamefully, this means that "the box of regular elbow-shaped pasta has 16 ounces of pasta, the box of ProteinPLUS elbows has 14.5 ounces of pasta, and the box of Whole Grain elbows has 13.25 ounces of pasta," according to the suit. The case was voluntarily dismissed in 2021.
23. I'm Not Rude, I'm French!
Amount sued for: Undisclosed
The case: In 2018, a Canadian restaurant fired a French waiter named Guillaume Rey for being too "aggressive, rude and disrespectful."
Rey, believing that he was not aggressive, rude or disrespectful, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the restaurant. His reasoning? He wasn't a rude server. He was just French. And therefore, they're discriminating against his "direct, honest and professional personality."
It's unclear how far this matter got in court, but it is supposed to go to a tribunal hearing in British Columbia after the restaurant's parent company tried to get the case dismissed.
22. Vet Sues for Negative Review
Amount sued for: Undisclosed
The case: How far are some businesses willing to take revenge for a bad review? Very, very far. Thomas Lloyd took his sick dog to DeLand Animal Hospital in DeLand, Florida, for treatment.
After paying for the costs upfront, the owner says he was contacted hours later by the hospital who informed him the necessary surgery still hadn't been done. Lloyd rushed his dog to another vet, but sadly, it was too late. Heartbroken, he posted a negative review on Yelp and Google.
The vet's office refunded the money and that should have been the end of it. But it wasn't. Weeks later, the vet sued Lloyd, saying his negative review was an attempt at a "smear campaign" and that Lloyd was lying by omission. Lloyd refused to take the review down and instead decided to battle it out in court. He felt his dog deserved that.
As of 2018, the lawsuit had cost the pet parent around $12,000 and counting. It also appears that Lloyd has taken down his review from the vet's business page on Yelp.
21. Texas Man Sues Date for Texting During Movie
Amount sued for: $17.31
Verdict: Case dropped after defendant agreed to pay
The case: We've all been on bad dates before, but has your terrible date ever taken you to small claims court? Because that's what this 37-year-old from Austin sure did.
After claiming his date was texting during the movie, he first asked her to leave. Which she did, happily. Then, the texts started. When his date wouldn't return $17.31 in tickets (plus $4 for the pizza), he actually took her to small claims court.
And if that wasn't embarrassing enough, the poor girl was dragged back to the theater on national TV where she forked over the cash. The clincher? He counted it before dropping the case.
20. No More Chicken From Popeyes? That's a Lawsuit
Amount sued for: $5,000
The case: Popeyes caused quite a stir when they launched their insanely popular chicken sandwich in 2019. Most people just took to Twitter to complain about crazy long lines and quick sellouts.
But not Craig Barr. The Chattanooga, Tennessee, man is suing the popular chain after he felt like false advertising caused him to drive from location to location looking for one of the fabled sandwiches. And if that wasn't enough, Barr also found a man on Craigslist who said he had the fried chicken hookup, but the perp simply took his $25 and never came back.
Not sure how that's Popeyes fault? We're not either.
19. Man Sues Bud Light for Not Bringing the Party to His Life
Amount sued for: $10,000
Result: Plaintiff lost
The case: Can cracking open a Bud Light transport you to a beach full of scantily clad women? Judging by Richard Overton's lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, he seemed to think so.
Overton sued the beer company for creating commercials that depicted a "source of fantasies coming to life, fantasies involving tropical settings, and beautiful women and men engaged in unrestricted merriment."
Overton's lawyers argued the beachy good times hid the dangers of overindulging and that Overton had suffered "physical and mental injury, emotional distress, and financial loss" chasing the dream.
Someone should have told him that cracking open case after case of beer wasn't going to end with him on a tropical island with "hot babes" everywhere.
He lost the case.
18. Woman Follows Directions, Gets Hit by Car, Sues Google
Amount sued for: $100,000
The case: Los Angeles resident Lauren Rosenberg was out doing a bit of sightseeing in Park City, Utah, on foot. To help her navigate, she pulled up Google Maps and followed the walking directions.
The app took her to a fairly busy rural highway with no sidewalks. Seemed unusual, but why would you question the machine? So she kept going.
And when the app told her to walk across that highway? She did that, too. And got hit by a car. Amazingly, she's fine, at least physically. After the accident, Rosenberg tried to sue Google, but the judge ruled that adults still have to look both ways and pay attention to their surroundings no matter what an app tells them to do and dismissed the case.
This reminds us of a clip from "The Office."
17. Woman Sues 12-Year-Old for Enthusiastic Hug Four Years Later
Amount sued for: $127,000
The case: In 2011, an 8-year-old boy, happy to see his aunt at his birthday party, jumped into her arms. Four years later, she sued her nephew for $127,000.
In the lawsuit, the aunt, Jennifer Connell, alleged that the boy was over-enthusiastic with his affections, jumping into her and causing her to fall to the ground and break her wrist.
"I remember him shouting, 'Auntie Jen I love you,' and there he was flying at me," she told the court. She also told the jury, "I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d'oeuvre plate."
The court deliberated for 20 minutes before ruling in favor of the kid.
16. Kidnapper Sues Hostages
Amount sued for: $235,000
The case: In 2009, Jesse Dimmick burst into a Topeka, Kansas, home, telling the couple inside he was "afraid for his life" and that someone was after him. The chaser turned out to be the police, and Dimmick turned out to be a wanted criminal on the run.
Held hostage, the homeowners waited until Dimmick fell asleep and then fled their home. In 2012, likely after not getting anywhere with the usual legal channels, they sued Dimmick for, you know, kidnapping them.
Dimmick countersued, swearing that the couple had agreed to take money to hide him. Since they didn't, he needed $235,000 to cover the cost of his medical bills after he was shot by the cops. Unsurprisingly, the courts dismissed this absolutely ridiculous case.
15. Hawaiian Beer Label Doesn't Depict Actual Brewing Location
Amount sued for: Class action
The case: In 2017, Theodore Broomfield and Simone Zimmer filed a class-action lawsuit against Kona Beer, saying the company violated California's False Advertising Law.
The problem? Several of the brews like "Longboard Island Lager" and "Big Wave Golden Ale" feature waterfalls, surfing, beaches and women in hula skirts. Turns out, kitschy tiki bar art is not a promise that your beer was actually brewed in Hawaii.
Despite the beers clearly stating mainland USA brewing locations on the bottle, the defendants actually won this case in 2019. Kona Beer has to pay $20 per household with proof of purchase and $10 without. The suit is expected to cost the beer company in the vicinity of $4.7 million.
14. Psychic Can No Longer Read Auras
Amount sued for: $1 million
The case: In the 1970s, Judith Richardson Haimes earned a living holding seances, predicting the future, and helping the police solve crimes with her magic powers.
Everything was going smoothly interdimensional — until she received a routine CAT scan.
Haimes claimed the dye used in the scan caused her to have headaches and took away her magic powers. Now unable to work, she eventually sued. Surprisingly, the jury deliberated for a mere 45-minutes before finding the hospital at fault and ordering them to pay Haimes a total of $988,000.
13. College Grad Sues Over Grade
Amount sued for: $1.3 million
The case: If you get a C+ in college, it's not great, but it won't follow you for the rest of your life. Megan Thode, a graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, didn't think so.
In 2013, she was convinced that this grade from a single class — which was in 2009 — was going to seriously cost her in lifetime career earnings. How much? One point three million dollars, to be precise.
Thode earned a master's degree in human development, then sued the college over the grade. Of course, the court tossed out the numbskull suit.
Her father is (or maybe was) a finance professor at Lehigh, and she was attending the university "tuition-free," according to NPR.
12. Deepwater Horizon Spills Hurt NBA Player's Income
Amount sued for: $1.4 million
The case: After the BP oil spill devastated the local Louisiana economy, the oil company was forced to pay out to workers who could prove they lost income as a result of the man-made disaster. Makes sense, right? After all, if shrimpers can't cast their nets and tourists aren't flocking to the coast, how can small business owners survive?
But won't someone think about the professional basketball players? That's the case David West's lawyer made. West, a retired New Orleans Hornet player, claimed he'd suffered considerable loss in salary between 2009 and 2010, since New Orleans (which is several hundred miles from the spill) is a tourist town and tourists weren't coming to watch him shoot hoops. As if they were doing that before, and not coming to get blind drunk on Bourbon Street.
But here's the kicker. West received the full $45 million he was contracted by the Hornets to get. BP's lawyers argued West didn't "lose" a thing he was entitled to, and the court agreed.
11. Only Got One Napkin
Amount sued for: $1.5 million
The case: In Southern California, Webster Lucas sat down to eat his lunch at McDonald's when he realized he was only given one single napkin.
Dismayed, Lucas asked to speak to the manager who allegedly got into a racially charged argument with him, prompting Lucas to say, "I should have went to Jack in the Box, because I didn’t come here to argue over napkins, I came here to eat."
Later, the district manager offered free burgers when Lucas complained to him, but that wasn't enough. Lucas felt he was so mentally anguished over the event he was unable to work. And as far as going to Jack in the Box, that was probably not ideal, either. Lucas has twice sued Jack in the Box. For good measure, he's also sued Walmart, Denny's and a local auto body shop.
Unsurprisingly, the judge dismissed the case.
10. Fear Factor Made Me Sick! Give Me Money
Amount sued for: $2.5 million
The case: "Fear Factor" was a very popular show in the 2000s, and as the series went on, the stunts got grosser and grosser. While most people watched with horrified glee (or just changed the channel), one man claimed he became so sick that he vomited.
Which, honestly, is a fair reaction. The challenge he watched was people eating stew made from blended rats (that's on YouTube for the morbidly curious).
The man, Austin Aiken, sued NBC for $2.5 million, alleging that the stunt resulted in him becoming dizzy, lightheaded and vomit-happy. Disoriented, he ran headfirst into a doorway, causing him "suffering, injury and great pain," according to his handwritten lawsuit.
The judge threw out the lawsuit, called it frivolous, and warned him against appealing the decision.
9. No Cheese Discount = $5 Million In Damages
Amount sued for: $5 million
The case: In 2018, a Florida man, Leonard Werner, and his girlfriend, Cynthia Kissner, realized their local McDonald's was ripping them off after the global chain dropped the Quarter Pounder Without Cheese option from the menus.
Forced to order a Quarter Pounder With Cheese but telling the cashier to hold the cheese, the couple was aghast that they did not receive a discount for the single ingredient.
So, naturally, they sued McDonald's for $5 million.
According to the lawsuit, "McDonald's is being unjustly enriched by these practices because it receives payment for cheese it does not deliver to its customers." But the judge found that no customer has ever likely come in and ordered $0.30 worth of just cheese, figured it's highly unlikely McDonald's earned billions that way, and dismissed the case.
8. Wait, Krispy Kreme Is Unhealthy?
Amount sued for: $5 million
Result: Voluntarily dismissed
The case: In 2017, Jason Saidian filed a motion against Krispy Kreme for selling him fruit-flavored donuts.
It seems like Saidian thought the jam inside the deep-fried pastry was made from fresh raspberries picked by angels at the peak of ripeness, not fruit-flavored jelly. According to Saidian, he was only buying the donuts because ingredients such as raspberries "are a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber ... and help fight against cancer, heart and circulatory disease, and age-related decline."
Not long after, Saidian withdrew the case. Maybe because he realized deep-fried dough and sugar weren't the pathways to health?
7. The Subway Tuna Fish Lawsuit
Amount sued for: $5 million
The case: Two California residents, Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, are suing Subway for false advertising, alleging that there is absolutely no tuna — or any other fish — in the fast-food chain's subs.
So what exactly is in the tuna fish sandwich? What is Subway using that smells, tastes, and acts just like regular, from-the-can tuna? They won't say, but the plaintiff's lawyers claim that the not-tuna-fish meat was taken to a lab and "we found that the ingredients were not tuna and not fish."
"Consumers place a heightened value on tuna as an ingredient," the lawsuit says.
Subway responded by putting its tuna-based offerings on sale for 15 percent off for a short amount of time. The company also said they do, in fact, use real tuna (skipjack tuna, to be precise).
6. Starbucks Sued for Giving Too Much Ice
Amount sued for: $5 million
The case: Not one, but two people, Alexander Forouzesh and Stacy Pincus, have sued Starbucks for putting ice in their iced beverages. Both suits state that the amount of ice in a cup reduces the amount of liquid (that is true) and that Starbucks lists the size of drinks based on the cup, not the amount of liquid inside after adding ice (also true).
Both cases were dismissed, and in Forouzesh's case, the judge handed out this gem of a judicial burn: "As young children learn, they can increase the amount of beverage they receive if they order 'no ice,'" the judge said.
"If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive, the court has no difficulty concluding that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into thinking that when they order an iced tea, that the drink they receive will include both ice and tea and that for a given size cup, some portion of the drink will be ice rather than whatever liquid beverage the consumer ordered."
5. How Much Is Woody Allen's Tarnished Rep Really Worth?
Amount sued for: $10 million
Result: Settled out of court
The case: In 2009, American Apparel used images of Woody Allen from "Annie Hall" on some of their billboards and digital marketing.
So Allen sued American Apparel for $10 million, assuming his very image on a billboard was at least worth that much. American Apparel did agree to settle out of court for $5 million.
But not before one of their lawyers, Stuart Slotnick, got out this gem of a defense: "Certainly, our belief is that after the various sex scandals that Woody Allen has been associated with, corporate America’s desire to have Woody Allen endorse their product is not what he may believe it is."
Right. So why use his image to begin with?
4. Woman's Bucket Was Not Overflowing With Chicken
Amount sued for: $20 million
The case: KFC has come up with a lot of marketing stunts over the years. Sandwiches where the bread is fried chicken. Donut chicken sandwiches. Reba McEntire dressed like the Colonel.
And then there's the "fill up" bucket, advertised in a commercial where a massive bucket of chicken spins around slowly while the narrator promises it can feed your whole family.
Anna Wurtzburger saw those commercials. But despite visiting her local chain multiple times, she only ever received eight pieces of chicken each time. She couldn't get her hands on that elusive, overflowing bucket of deep-fried, greasy chicken.
So she sued KFC for false advertising. And she lost. Turns out, reasonable people don't expect fast-food chains to simply keep giving you chicken until the cardboard bucket it comes in is stuffed to the brim.
3. The Chili Finger
Amount sued for: Undisclosed
The case: In 2005, Anna Aayala found a severed finger in her Wendy's chili. Allegedly horrified, Aayala even got the local officials involved. Trouble was, there was a finger in her bowl of chili, and the coroner ruled that while it was cooked, it didn't seem consistent with a finger cooked for three hours at 170 degrees.
Confusing, right? It gets worse. Wendy's launched an investigation. No store or production line employee was missing a finger. But someone was. Aayala's husband's cowoker. He lost the finger in a work-related accident, and the couple came up with a half-cooked scheme to put the finger in a bowl of fast-food chili and get rich.
As a result, both went to jail, and Wendy's lost an estimated $21 million in business. But what about the finger? Years later, Aayala admitted she cooked it at home.
2. Uber Ruined His Marriage
Amount sued for: $47 million
The case: One day in 2017, a French businessman logged into his Uber account on his wife's phone. After some time, he logged out and went back to using his phone to hail all his rides.
There was just one problem: Uber kept sending notifications of his ride activity to his wife's phone.
OK, so there was one other small problem. The businessman was using Uber to rideshare to some sketchy places, making his wife believe he was cheating on her. His wife divorced him, and the man sued Uber, saying a glitch in the tech was the main cause of his marriage dissolving.
And we're pretty sure that's why his wife left him, after all. It was Uber's tech. Not his cheating.
1. The $67 Million Pair of Pants
Amount sued for: $67 million, lowered to $54 million
The case: In 2005, a Washington, D.C.-based judge, Roy L. Pearson Jr., dropped his suit off at Customer Cleaners, a local mom-and-pop dry cleaning shop. When he returned, the pants were missing. And while the owners later found the pants, Pearson swore up and down they weren't his and instead decided to sue the pants off Soo and Jin Chung.
In court, he put on a world-class show of anger, grief, and betrayal over the missing pants, at one point crying in court and rushing out of the courtroom when confronted with the pants he denied were his.
The judge ruled the case frivolous but not before the Chung's business suffered so they could pay for the legal defense.
This lawsuit is easily the most ridiculous and frivolous of all time. The owners even tried to give Pearson $12,000 if he would drop the case, but he refused.
Pearson lost his job as an administrative judge. He was also suspended from practicing law for 90 days in 2020 due to this absurd lawsuit.
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