The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) has announced the top five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of the Year for 2009. Nominees were drawn from the monthly Most Ridiculous Lawsuit poll winners chosen by visitors to FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org – a public awareness campaign website that aims to show how abusive lawsuits affect small businesses and average families in very real ways.
The top five Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2009 are:
1. Illegal immigrants sue rancher who stopped them on his property at gunpoint and turned them over to the Border Patrol
16 illegal immigrants accused Arizona rancher, Roger Barnett, of conspiring with authorities to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the US-Mexico border. According to The Washington Times, the Mexican nationals were seeking $32 million in damages from Barnett, his wife, his brother and a local sheriff.
2. Tourist sues hotel, claiming swimming pool got daughter pregnant
The Sun reported in July 2009 that a Polish woman was suing an Egyptian hotel claiming her daughter got pregnant from using the swimming pool. Magdalena Kwiatkowska alleged her 13 year old daughter conceived from stray sperm in the hotel’s pool.
3. Holocaust denier sues Auschwitz survivor alleging memoir contains “fantastical tales”
Notorious Holocaust denier, Eric Hunt, is suing 80 year old Irene Weisberg Zisblatt who appeared in the 1998 Academy Award-winning documentary The Last Days, produced by Steven Spielberg. According to the Sun Sentinel, 25 year old Hunt has also named Spielberg, Zisblatt’s co-author and the publishers of the memoir, in his law suit.
4. Double-murderer sues to claim his victims’ classic Chevy pickup
Authorities in Florida said William Deparvine came up with a calculated plan to rob and kill the couple and make it look like he bought the truck and someone else shot them. The St Petersburg Times reported in June that the convicted killer even went so far as to type up a bill of sale and then sue the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, where the truck was being held as evidence.
5. Neighbor sues woman for smoking in her own home
In September, The Dallas Morning News reported that a woman has filed a lawsuit seeking six figures from a former neighbor and landlord for damage she says was caused by cigarette smoke wafting through adjoining walls of her high-end town house.
Other nominees for the title of most ridiculous lawsuit of 2009 included:
- Customer sues restaurant chain after toilet paper rolls from “unreasonably dangerous toilet paper dispenser” fall onto his hand.
- Tourist sues New York club after she slipped while dancing on top of the bar.
- Woman microwaves hair removal wax, spills it on herself, and sues manufacturer for “placing such dangerous products into the stream of commerce”.
- Inmate sues to avoid being named world’s most litigious person.
- After a slip and fall a woman sues Brookfield Zoo in the US for encouraging the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands making the floor wet and slippery.
Source: U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform