A California man who dropped $500,000 at blackjack recently is suing a Las Vegas casino saying he was too inebriated to know what he was doing. The man, Mark A. Johnston of Ventura, California, claims the casino, Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, deliberately plied him with so much alcohol that he didn’t know what he was doing and should not have to pay his gambling debt. In fact, he claims he is a ‘victim.’ Does that sound like the craziest lawsuit ever? Just recently an 18-year girl in New Jersey sued her parents for support and money to pay education and legal bills. Does that sound like the craziest lawsuit ever? Maybe, but these lawsuits pale by comparison if one looks at legal history. Many claims over the years could arguably contest for the title of the craziest lawsuit ever.
It would be hard to top some of the following scenarios. Each one could be dubbed craziest lawsuit ever.
A woman filed a lawsuit against the movie Drive starring Ryan Gosling and its distributor. Why? The woman said the film’s trailer suggested it was going to be like The Fast and The Furious. Drive is a not a racing film, however, rather it is a serious art noir film. The woman wanted a ticket refund and a promise from the movie distributor not to produce what she claimed were misleading trailers in the future.
In 2001 two children, one age 23 and the other age 20, sued their mother in Illinois. Why? Because of “bad mothering” since she wanted her children to adhere to a midnight curfew when the kids were teens, argued with them over clothes allowances and did not send what they felt were the required care packages when they were in college. They wanted $50,000 in emotional damages. In another crazy twist, the kids were represented by their father who was the mom’s ex-husband. The suit was dismissed.
In 2001, a Michigan man filed a suit against beer giant Anheuser-Busch for false advertising. He said he watched a Budweiser commercial where scantily clad girls suddenly appeared when some men in the ad opened and drank a Bud. He said he tried a Bud but no girls appeared. As a result he claimed emotional distress, mental injury and financial loss. The court tossed the suit.
A man actually sued himself for $5 million claiming he violated his own civil rights by getting drunk and committing a series of crimes, which landed him in jail. Because he was in jail he felt the state would pay him the money. This suit was also tossed.
A convicted rapist in 2002 sued Providence Hospital in Rhode Island because he claimed they did not prevent him from raping another patient. As a result, he says, he suffered emotional damages and wanted to be compensated. The court tossed these claims as well.
A woman sued a home improvement store in Illinois claiming a wild bird attacked her outside of the store causing head injuries. She asserted that the wild bird was allowed to roam free by the store. She never reported the event to the store but later sued the store for $100,000 in damages. This case was thrown out.
A man in Oregon sued basketball superstar Michael Jordan and Nike in 2009 because when he dressed in Nike clothing, people mistook him for Jordan which caused him great emotional pain and suffering. He wanted $832 million.
In 2009, a man sued Apple’s Steve Jobs, Apple and actress Sarah Jessica Parker claiming he was the brains behind the iPhone, iTunes, iPod, etc. Even though he never met Parker, Franz A. Wakefield claimed he and Parker had a deal whereby he would pay her a royalty if she endorsed the products.
The list goes on and on. Not all lawsuits get tossed out like some of those just mentioned. Some zany-seeming claims actually make it to a jury and some eccentric plaintiffs prevail. Unconventional lawsuits have been part of the legal system from the beginning and there is no reason to think that each year will not produce even more zany lawsuits. They will continue to vie for the crown of craziest lawsuit ever.
Opinion By Jim McCullaugh