Loony Lawsuits

 

ARSONISTS SUE FOR INSURANCE BENEFITS AFTER BEING DENIED COVERAGE FOR DAMAGES THEY CAUSED TO NEIGHBORING BUILDING

Two Alpena, Michigan men set an arson fire in their store with the hope of collecting insurance money. They admitted that they intended to simply have a small, smokey fire that would damage their inventory, which apparently wasn't selling very well, so they could collect on their insurance policy. However, when the fire spilled over into the adjoining store, the men sued the insurance company. They argued that they set the fire in their own store, but that the fire next door was accidental and therefore they should receive coverage for the damage to the other building. A panel of the state Court of Appeals amazingly reversed the trial court's decision to dismiss this ridiculous case, but the Michigan Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, eventually reversed the Court of Appeals and ruled that the fire "cannot be characterized as an accident."

DRUNKEN PARTIER SUES POLICE
FOR NOT ARRESTING HER

After a police officer decided not to take an intoxicated woman into custody, she sued him. She admitted that she could not remember most of the events that night, only that she was too drunk to drive (she also admitted that she was too drunk to rely on any promises possibly made by the officer). This case was dismissed by a lower court, and the Appeals Court agreed, ruling that the police officer had no duty to place her in protective custody.

INMATE BLAMES STATE FOR HIS
FLATULENCE, THEN SUES

According to a Michigan Assistant Attorney General testifying before the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee, frivolous prisoner lawsuits are overburdening state and federal courts. In Case No. 9650302, a prisoner sued the state blaming the food in prison for his flatulence problem. The Attorney General's Office estimates the annual cost of defending the state against frivolous prisoner lawsuits to be several million dollars, all paid for by the state taxpayer.

SPILLED COFFEE LEADS TO LAWSUIT AGAINST POPULAR MICHIGAN TRAVEL STOP

Oasis Truck Stop, a popular travel stop located at the intersection of M59 and US23 in Hartland, was sued by a customer who spilled coffee on herself. The makers of the coffee machine and coffee mug were also sued. The customer's lawyer claimed the coffee was too hot, yet the temperature of the coffee was shown to be exactly what it should have been according to accepted industry standards. Amazingly, a panel of "objective" mediators appointed by the court suggested a settlement that would have rewarded the customer with $62,500. Later, a jury found the defendants not guilty of any negligence and awarded zero dollars, but only after considerable cost to the defendants.

WOMAN SUES CHILD AFTER ICE SKATING COLLISION

A 12 year old girl was skating at a public ice rink in Berkley, Michigan when she ran into another skater and knocked her down causing a knee injury to the fallen skater. The injured woman sued the girl. The trial court dismissed the case saying that the child's manner was not reckless. The trial court stated that the accident occurred during an open skating session at the ice rink and that there are certain risks that must be assumed by participants in recreational activities, especially on ice which is in itself dangerous because of its slippery and hard nature. Sadly, a panel of the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court decision and allowed the case to go to trial. Fortunately for the girl and her family, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals stating that "When one combines the nature of ice with the relative proximity of skaters of various abilities, a degree of risk is readily apparent..."

HOMEOWNER SUES SAYING:
"THIS DUST IS TRESPASSING!"

A Michigan couple sued the owners of a nearby business claiming that dust, noise and vibrations invaded their property and therefore were trespassing. A jury actually found in their favor, but a Court of Appeals panel overturned the jury's verdict. The Appeals court stated that noise, vibrations and dust are intangible objects and can not be considered as trespassers.

HOMEOWNERS SUED BY CLEANING LADY WHO MISTAKES FIRECRACKER FOR A CANDLE

A woman from Grand Haven, Michigan filed a lawsuit for more than $25,000 after she was injured by a firecracker she took from a condominium that she had cleaned. While dining later with friends at a restaurant, the woman lit the firecracker claiming that she mistakenly thought it was a decorative candle. The explosion resulted in severe injuries to the woman. She sued the owners of the condo for leaving the firecracker behind without a warning on it. The condo owners said that they had placed the device, which looks like a "huge firecracker," in a cupboard to keep it away from the children after someone left it at their house after a party.

BOWLER'S LAWSUIT IS A REAL TURKEY

A woman sued a bowling alley claiming she slipped and fell on an icy pothole which resulted in a disc herniation. She claimed no previous back problems, but her medical records showed numerous lower back problems over the past 10 years, and she was diagnosed with lumbar radiculitis the previous year. Bowling alley league records proved that she completed the remaining 14 WEEKS of the season after the alleged fall. In addition, a meteorologist testified that weather conditions for that day could not have formed ice. A jury determined that the bowling alley was not at fault.

COLLEGE STUDENT INJURED BY
JOCK SUES THE COLLEGE DEAN

A college student who was attacked by a student-athlete sued the dean of judicial affairs for negligence. The student-athlete had previously attacked two other people and, because of this, the victim claimed that the dean should have known of the athlete's violent tendencies. The Appeals Court ruled that the trial court was correct in dismissing the case because there is no existing special relationship between athletes on scholarship and an associate dean of student judicial affairs. The Court stated that the defendant was entitled to costs and attorney fees since the victim's lawsuit was "vexatious and without any reasonable basis for a belief in its merit."

PASSENGER ON CITY BUS TRIES TO
CASH IN AFTER MINOR ACCIDENT

In Detroit, a passenger on a city bus sued when the bus was rear-ended by a van, causing only a cracked taillight and split hose. The woman claimed she was thrown about the bus and injured. However, the bus driver testified that the air brakes where on and that the passengers boarding the bus did not move at the time of the collision. A Wayne County Circuit Court jury found no injury.

BASKETBALL PLAYER TRIPS ON
ROCKS, SUES HOMEOWNER

During a pickup basketball game, a man tripped and fell over decorative rocks along a driveway where the basketball net was located. He then sued the homeowner. The injured man's friend testified that he had not only noticed the rocks but also pointed them out. The man denied seeing the rocks but admitted that if he had looked up he would have seen them. The trial court judge found that the property owner was not at fault since the rocks were open and obvious. The Court of Appeals agreed.

WOMAN IN WHEELCHAIR ROLLS INTO PARKING GATE, BUT HER LAWSUIT GETS WHEELED
OUT OF COURT

While an employee of Hutzel Hospital was being pushed in a wheelchair through an entrance ramp that was not intended to be used by people in wheelchairs, she was struck in the head by a parking gate. The woman sued the makers of the gate for causing her closed head injuries and shoulder and neck pains. Other employees of the hospital stated that the ramp was not meant for wheelchairs and that there was a walkway next to the parking lot that accommodated wheelchairs. The jury found the maker of the gate not to be at fault.

TRESPASSER TRIPPED UP IN COURT

When a man let his two dogs out of his house, they began chasing something and ran across neighbor's property. When the dog owner chased his dogs over the neighbor's property, he injured himself when he stepped into a snow-covered fence post hole and fell. He sued the property owner for negligence. The Appeals Court agreed with the lower court's decision to dismiss the case saying that since the man was trespassing, the owner of the property was not required to make sure his property was safe from people falling in the snow-covered hole.

SWINGSET MANUFACTURER SUED
AFTER 20-YEAR OLD SWING BREAKS

A six year-old plaintiff was awarded nothing from an Oakland County jury for his lawsuit against a swing manufacturer that he alleged had a faulty design. The child allegedly fell off a swing at a public park because the seat was wobbly and loose. However the manufacturer testified that the swing was over twenty years old and that it had been altered, in particular the lock washers that kept the seat stable were missing.

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