The famous expression, “Only in America…” was almost undoubtedly created by someone who had heard of a ridiculous lawsuit being filed by a person who felt they could get rich quick at the expense of a faceless insurance company or giant corporation. These claims, also known as “frivolous lawsuits” are an expensive nuisance the legal system could well do without. If a Portland personal injury lawyer is approached by someone who cut themselves shaving with a new razor and wants to sue the company that made that razor, they’re going to advise the erstwhile client that the lawsuit doesn’t hold water. However, this doesn’t stop some people from making claims so outlandish, they almost defy belief. But good lawyers understand that these frivolous lawsuits make it harder to pursue legitimate personal injury claims and protect the rights of people who are honest and just trying to receive compensation.
Here, we present a list of some of the most blatantly frivolous lawsuits you may ever come across. In spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of claims filed are–whether they win their case or not—legitimate, here’s a list that made the Top 5 in an opinion poll regarding outrageous claims.
#5: Bigger Booths Please
A man weighing almost 300 pounds has filed a suit against his local White Castle burger restaurant because they haven’t provided him with a booth he can comfortably fit into, in spite of his repeated complaints to the restaurant. He claims the restaurant discriminates against fat people, even though the restaurant says they have made every attempt to accommodate the man, even going so far as to send him a list of restaurants with bigger booths.
#4: You Should have Taken My Gun Before I Shot Someone
It’s almost impossible to understand the thought process behind this one. A convicted felon from Pittsburgh got into a fight with another man in a bar. In the ensuing battle, both men were shot. The felon, who was carrying the weapon illegally, attempted to sue the owner of the bar for not searching him when he went in. He wanted damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering. The judge threw the case out. This is the exact kind of case a creditable Portland personal injury lawyer would turn away in a heartbeat.
#3: Claim for $5 million after Losing 80 Cents
A New Jersey woman bought more than $100 worth of goods from a Century 21 store and used a coupon as part payment. When she returned some of the items because they were the wrong color, the store refunded her money but deducted 80c from the refund for the coupon use on a pro rata basis. The woman’s response? She got her lawyer father to sue the store for $5 million. The claim says the store unjustly enriched itself and used a coupon fraud “scheme.”
#2: Parents, Be Nice to Your Kids
Two adult children elected to sue their mother for $50,000 plus punitive damages in a multi-faceted claim that included, among other things, these allegedly horrible actions of the mother:
- She didn’t include gifts in birthday cards she sent to her children
- She inflicted emotional damage on her son when he was seven by telling him she would take him to the police station if he didn’t buckle his seat belt in the car.
- She compounded the offense by not sending the same son a care package when he went to college until the sixth semester.
- She caused emotional distress to her daughter by changing her surname after she and her husband divorced. This, according to the lawsuit, “caused attention” at her daughter’s school events.
- She refused to buy her daughter a homecoming dress one year (2007).
- On that same occasion, the woman provided her daughter with a car for homecoming night, but then rang the daughter at midnight and told her to bring the car back.
And #1: Felon Threatens Couple and then Sues for Not Hiding Him
The runaway winner of this opinion poll (honestly, this stuff isn’t made up) was the man wanted by police on suspicion of murder. He was being chased, ran into a newlywed couple’s home and asked them to hide him. When they eventually turned him in and the police came, the felon got shot in the back by a police officer. The felon then sued the newlywed couple for $235,000 for breaking their promise to hide him. Jesse Dimmick said in his self-filed lawsuit that the couple had promised to hide him for an unspecified sum of money and that by not doing so, they had breached a binding oral contract. The couple’s response was that they never promised him anything and that Dimmick had threatened them with a knife. Almost bizarrely, the judge has yet to rule on this case.
Good Personal Injury Attorneys Hate Frivolous Lawsuits
It’s actually difficult to understand how some of these claims made it inside a courthouse wall, and there are many more that didn’t make our top five, like the man suing for age discrimination who said the judge in his case was too old. Then there’s the lady who filed a lawsuit against a preschool for hurting her child’s college prospects. And what Portland personal injury lawyer in his right mind would take the case of a woman who sued the cruise liner because the ship went so fast it made her sick? What about the mother suing Chuck E. Cheese because the games kids can play in the restaurant encourage gambling?
Legitimate lawsuits serve a useful, even vital role in today’s society. They protect people from financial ruin caused by someone else’s negligence, and a means to reward those who have been unjustly injured, as well as a means to punish those who caused those injuries. Frivolous lawsuits like these make it hard for the general public to understand the necessity of real personal injury lawsuits in protecting the rights of injury victims. In Oregon, if you’ve been hurt through someone else’s actions or negligence, don’t hesitate. Contact a reputable Portland personal accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will listen carefully to what you have to say and then give a very clear opinion on the options that are open to you and the chances of your case succeeding.