史上最可笑的诉讼 9 Most Laughable Lawsuits



Americans take great pride in the U.S. legal system, which promises the right to a fair trial, due process1) and protection for people and their property. But some people, whether out of greed or sheer ignorance, push the boundaries of acceptability and clog2) the legal system with outrageous lawsuits. Whether it’s a convict who sues himself or an unsatisfied beer drinker who blames the company for his lack of dates, our verdict is: Case dismissed3)!

  Google Maps Blamed for Dangerous Directions: $100,000

When Lauren Rosenberg wanted to walk through Park City, Utah in January 2010, she used Google Maps for directions. Unfortunately, the site sent her down a highway with no safe-pedestrian path. When she was hit by a car, she sued both the driver and Google for more than $100,000 in damages. Rosenberg argues Google should have warned her about the dangerous path (the full version of Google Maps does include a warning, but she used the search engine on her BlackBerry, which she claimed didn’t show one). We argue, however, that she should’ve used the old noggin4) and decided for herself not to walk down a dangerous highway.

  Bank of America Blamed for Bad Service: $1,784 Billion Trillion

Dalton Chiscolm was unhappy when the bank refused to deposit5) some checks for him due to incomplete routing numbers6). He was very, very unhappy. So in August 2009, he sued Bank of America and its board for “1,784 billion trillion dollars”. Just to be clear, that’s 21 zeros—plus he demanded an additional $2.164 million, according to Reuters. “These are the kind of numbers you deal with only on a cosmic scale,” Sylvain Cappell, New York University’s professor at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences said to Reuters. It’s also the kind of numbers you deal with when you’re not making any sense.

  Comedian Blamed for Mother-in-Law Jokes: Unspecified Amount

When comic Sunda Croonquist, who is half black and half Swedish, married a Jewish man, her newfound family became a wellspring of material for her act. But after years of her telling mother-in-law jokes, her mother-in-law stopped thinking it was so funny: In August 2009 she decided to sue for defamation7). The only problem was that she never told her daughter-in-law she didn’t like the jokes before taking her to court. In May 2010, a judge threw out the case, citing the jokes are protected speech because they were Croonquist’s opinions and not facts. But we’re guessing things are still pretty tense at family gatherings.

  Homeless People Blamed for Being in the Street: $1 Million

After contending with homeless people outside his store for two years, high-end antique8) shop owner Karl Kemp decided to sue in January 2007. Kemp argued the transients9) disrupted his business by using the sidewalk outside his store on New York’s Upper East Side as “a urinal10) , a spittoon11) and an occasional dressing room”. Only problem? The defendants, listed as John Smith, John Doe, Bob Doe and Jane Doe12), are, well, homeless. So they didn’t have any money to sue for. Kemp also wanted a restraining order, requiring the defendants to stay at least 100 feet from the store—but we think offering them some cash or coupons as incentive to go elsewhere probably would’ve worked just as well.

  Anheuser-Busch Blamed for Beer Failing to Attract Women: $10,000

Most people understand that commercials in which beer magically turns men into chick magnets13) are not real. But not Richard Overton. In 1991 he sued Anheuser-Busch for $10,000, saying the company’s ads, in which beer creates “scenic tropical settings and beautiful women and men engaged in endless and unrestricted merriment”, weren’t true. The case was dismissed, but we wonder if Overton switched to foreign brews14) in protest.

  Mourning Family Blamed for Damages Done to Car That Hit Son: $29,400

In August 2004, Tomas Delgado struck and killed 17-year-old Enaitz Iriondo Trinidad when the boy was riding his bike near Haro, Spain. Even though Delgado was driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone, a judge dismissed criminal charges against him. But did Delgado consider himself lucky under the circumstances? No. Two years after the wreck, he sued the family for €20,000 ($29,400) in damages to his Audi A-8 and for car rental costs. He withdrew the lawsuit after hundreds of people descended on the courthouse to support the boy’s parents—but no amount of backtracking will ever redeem him for being the biggest jerk15) on the planet.

  Dry Cleaner Blamed for Losing Pants: $67 Million

Ironically, the worst part about this story is not that Roy L. Pearson, Jr., clogged up the legal system with a suit against a dry cleaner for $67 million over lost pants; it’s that Pearson was a Washington, DC, judge at the time. He argued that drycleaners Soo and Jin Chung failed to deliver on the “same-day service” and “satisfaction guaranteed” advertisement. Although Pearson lowered his claim to $54 million, a judge ruled in favor of the Chungs. Pearson filed an appeal, which was also rejected, but the process forced the Chungs to close two of their three stores to finance their defense. Revenge is a dish best served cold16), however, because Pearson lost his job four months into the lawsuit after a review board found he lacked “appropriate judgment and judicial temperament.”

  Victoria’s Secret Blamed for Thong17) Injury to Eye: $25,000+

Looks like thong underwear can get a girl into real trouble if she’s not careful. In May 2007, Los Angeles traffic cop Macrida Patterson said she was injured by a defective thong. “I was putting on my underwear from Victoria’s Secret, and the metal popped into my eye,” Patterson told the Today Show. According to her attorney Jason Buccat, a rogue18) metal appliqué19) caused three cuts to her cornea20), requiring the use of topical steroids21) to heal it. Buccat said the lawsuit was about protecting consumers, adding he just wanted to “make Macrida Patterson whole again.” Buccat never revealed exactly how much his client wanted to sue for, but at minimum, he claimed that being “whole” again would take at least $25,000.

  Man Blamed for Putting Himself in Jail: $5 Million

When all else fails, sue yourself, right? That’s what Virginia inmate Robert Lee Brock thought when he sued himself in 1995 for violating his own civil liberties and religious beliefs by getting drunk enough to commit the crimes that landed him in jail. The jailbird22) hoped the state would be forced to pay on his behalf because he was a ward23) of the state. Obviously the case was dismissed; the judge reported: “Plaintiff24) has presented an innovative approach to civil rights litigation. However, his claim and especially the relief sought are totally ludicrous.” We concur25)!
要是告不了别人,那就告自己吧,怎么样?弗吉尼亚州的服刑人员罗伯特·李·布罗克就是这么想的。1995年,他以自己因酒后犯罪被捕入狱这一行为侵犯了自己的公民自由权利并违背了宗教信仰为由,把自己告上法庭。既然身处政府的监管之下,这位囚犯希望能迫使州政府替自己支付这笔赔偿。显而易见,案件被驳回。法官表示:“起诉人为民事权利诉讼带来了一些新意。但是,他提出的要求,特别是他寻求的补偿简直是荒谬至极。”我们深有同感!Alexandra Gekas/文

1. due process:法律上的正当程序
2. clog [klɒɡ] vt. 妨碍,阻塞
3. dismiss [dɪsˈmɪs] vt. 驳回,不受理
4. noggin [ˈnɒɡin] n.〈俚〉脑袋
5. deposit [dɪˈpɒzɪt] vt. 存放,存钱
6. routing number:也称做“Routing Transit Number”或“ABA Number”,中文可译成“路由号码”或“汇款路径号码”。它是由ABA (美国银行家协会)在美联储监管和协助下提出的金融机构识别码,很多金融机构都有一个,主要用于和银行相关的交易、转账、清算等的路由确认。
7. defamation[ˌdefəˈmeɪʃ(ə)n] n. 诽谤
8. antique [ænˈtiːk] n. 古物,古董
9. transient [ˈtrænziənt] n. 流浪者
10. urinal [juˈraɪn(ə)l] n. 尿壶,小便池
11. spittoon [spɪˈtuːn] n. 痰盂
12. 此处的英文名都是代称,相当于中文里的张三、李四等。
13. chick magnet:能吸引女性注意的男人,万人迷
14. brew [bruː] n. 酿造的饮料,啤酒
15. jerk [dʒɜː(r)k] n.〈俚〉愚蠢的人
16. Revenge is a dish best served cold:君子报仇,十年不晚
17. thong [θɒŋ] n. 丁字裤
18. rogue [rəʊɡ] adj. 有缺陷的,劣等的
19. appliqué [əˈpliːkeɪ] n. 缝饰,镶饰
20. cornea [ˈkɔː(r)niə] n. [医]角膜
21. steroid [ˈstɪərɔɪd] n. [生化]类固醇
22. jailbird [ˈdʒeɪlˌbɜː(r)d] n. 囚犯
23. ward [wɔː(r)d] n. [律]受监护人
24. plaintiff [ˈpleɪntɪf] n. [律]起诉人,原告
25. concur [kənˈkɜː(r)] vi. 同意,表示意见一致


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