Believe it Or Not, These Lawsuits in America Made Their Way to Court

Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? Trivial lawsuits are about as American as apple pie. We all love to talk about and even make fun of those who, after some trivial inconvenience, take a person or an entire company to court demanding ridiculous amounts of money. And as frivolous as these lawsuits may be, many of them actually end up winning!

Photograph of the shot that ESPN captured of Andrew Rector sleeping in the stands.

Lawsuits are filed each year with legitimate claims that deserve to be taken seriously and do indeed deserve a major payout, but those aren’t the ones that make the headlines. The ones that make it to the water filter conversations are the outrageous ones. Let me take a guess – the first one that just popped in your head as the McDonald’s lawsuit where a person sued the franchise after being burned by piping hot coffee. But here’s the thing: that’s just one example. As you’ll see, people have gone so far as to sue God himself…

Let’s go through the best ones that we’ve rounded up, and you can be the judge (pun intended) as to whether or not the part that won was justified. And let me warn you: your jaw will drop.

A Woman Claimed that Jelly Belly Lied To Her

Let’s start with a “sweet” one. A California woman filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the candy company Jelly Belly. Why? Because she felt misled by the fact that their candies contained sugar. Yup. Jessica Gomez filed a complaint against the jellybean manufacturer for their use of the term “evaporated cane juice” which appears on the packaging for the Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

Photograph of five packages of Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

Gomez said she thought it meant that the candies were sugar-free, and thus, they were a healthier snack option. The candy company (and myself included) called the lawsuit “nonsense” and urged the courts to dismiss it because the product’s nutrition label visibly shows its sugar content.

The case was indeed dismissed after the court ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show the facts specific to their purchase and reliance on advertising.

Parents Sue Their Son For Mooching Off of Them

Let’s move on to a family matter. Whenever families are drawn into court, it’s more often than not an unfortunate event. But this case will baffle you for sure. Let me just say this, if you’re a parent to a teenager, try not to get any ideas from this.

In 2018, a New York married couple took their 30-year-old son, Michael, to court. They were seriously (and I mean seriously) hoping that the judge would force him to move out of their home. This only begs the question: what did he do??

Photograph of Michael Rotondo and his parents, Mark and Christina, sitting in the courthouse.
Photo by Mike Roy, / Source: WSYR

Mark and Christina Rotondo gave their son a series of eviction notices and even offered him over $1,000 to help him land on his feet. After the notices failed to get their son out of the house, they filed for the court to order Michael to get out. What did Michael have to say for himself? He didn’t have a job and refused to leave in time. The ruling? The judge sided with the parents and ordered Michael to vacate the home.

The ‘First Date From Hell’ Lawsuit

A man from Texas made headlines not just in America, but also in international news and even became a poster boy for pettiness. And it’s because of the ridiculous lawsuit he decided was worth hiring a lawyer and going to court for. So what was his case? He sued a woman after what he called the “first date from hell.”

A selfie of Brandon Vezmar holding up a peace symbol with his fingers.
Source: Facebook

Brandon Vezmar, age 37, went on a date with a woman he met on the dating app Bumble in 2017. The two met up, and Vezmar was ticked off when she apparently spent the whole night on her cellphone. Vezmar went ahead and sued the woman, hoping to get back the $17.31 he spent on the movie ticket he bought for her. The woman eventually gave him his money back so that he would drop the whole thing and leave her alone.

He Wants $5 Million For a Deflated Basketball

If you thought those lawsuits were the perfect topics of discussion at your next water cooler meeting or your next dinner with friends, you should read this one. Now, there is something to be said for claims of false advertising, but lawsuits can easily go haywire when the accuser just gets greedy.

Photo of an old deflated basketball.
Photo by Zaire Brown /

One case came around in 2016 when a New York man went after a basketball manufacturer when his ball prematurely lost some of its air. Jaish Markos accused Russell Brands, the company that makes Spalding Neverflat basketballs, of misleading him despite their advertisements that say the ball would stay inflated for a year. Okay, so why not just ask for a refund? No, Markos wanted a greedy $5 million for the faulty product. Apparently, the case is still open.

Red Bull Was Sued Because They Don’t Actually ‘Give You Wings’

When you think about Red Bull, what comes to mind? Sure, that they’re an energy drink. But somewhere in your thoughts is their super famous commercial and the slogan “Red Bull: It gives you wings!” well, apparently someone thought they were serious. This is a rare example of a brand who got sued for their slogan. And not only did they get sued – they lost too! Now, if you ask me (and any other level-headed person), drinking an energy drink is NOT going to give you wings.

A plane with the Red Bull logo flying in the Red Bull Air Race in Portugal.
Photo by Rui Ferreira /

The claim obviously isn’t meant to be taken literally, yet somehow it landed the company in court. Disappointed Red Bull drinkers sued the company because they claimed that the advertisements led them to really believe that Red Bull would give them a physical performance boost. It looks like that’s the angle they used, and that’s what worked.

McDonald’s Mentally Scars a Man

Webster Lucas, a man from California, had a rather unsatisfactory visit at a McDonald’s location in Pacoima, California. The problem was that he didn’t have enough napkins…

On a visit to the fast-food chain, in late January 2014, Lucas claimed that after asking for an extra napkin with his order, the Manager on duty (who he described as a Mexican-American) mumbled something that Lucas considered to be racially discriminating.

French fries, salt, and pepper are sitting on top of two napkins at McDonald’s.
Photo by Vera Aksionava /

Lucas wrote a letter to the location’s General Manager, saying that the incident left him “unable to work because of the undue mental anguish and the intentional infliction of emotional distress” caused by the manager who may or may not have given him an extra napkin. The price tag Mr. Lucas requested for his emotional and mental distress? 1.5 million dollars.

While it is unclear as to whether or not he even got his much-needed extra napkins, one thing is, however, clear: He’s Lovin’ It!

Man Sued His Dry Cleaners for $67 Million for Losing Pants

This one gives new meaning to the saying, “I’ll sue the pants off you!”

A Washington, D.C. judge (a judge!) by the name of Roy Pearson took his pants to the dry-cleaners at a family-owned business called Custom Cleaners. He claims that they never returned the correct pair of pants, and thus betrayed their “satisfaction guaranteed” sign. This goes down in pants history as the most expensive pair of pants because he sued the company for an incredible $67 million.

A photograph of Roy Pearson leaving court after the second day of his trial in 2007.
Photo Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Good news! He came to his senses and dropped the case. Bad news! He dropped it to “only” $54 million. Pearson passionately described his mental suffering, inconvenience, and discomfort to the judge.

The case ended dramatically, as you might assume. The dry-cleaner owner held up a pair of pressed pants, faced the judge, the jury and the plaintiff, and said: “These are your pants.” Pearson then ran out of the court, tears streaming, shocked at the injustice. To this day, he denies that those were even his pants.

Pet Duck Becomes the Subject of a Lawsuit

A woman in Washington, Cynthia Ruddell, was simply not a fan of her neighbor’s pet duck, whom she called “crazy” in a 2014 lawsuit. Ruddell sued Lolita Rose (the duck owner) after she claimed that her duck attacked her, leading to injuries. Ruddell said the duck, which Rose apparently let roam around free, flapped its wings at her in a way that knocked her down as she was walking down the street one day.

A duck similar to the duck, which Ruddell claims knocked her down.
Source: Shutterstock

Ruddell claimed in court that the duck truly scared her and that the fall to suffering major injuries, including the breaking of her wrist. Ruddell was looking to get money, obviously, and she was officially seeking $275,000 in damages and medical expenses. This lawsuit eventually disappeared from the public view.

People Were Angry at Junior Mints

We can all admit that we get annoyed at the thought of snack packages, whether boxes of candy or bags of chips, containing more empty space than the actual food inside. But do we take the snack company to court? These people did. A group of angry snack customers took the makers of Junior Mints to court because they were very unsatisfied with how much air was in the boxes.

A woman is holding up a box of Junior Mints chocolate in front of the other candy at the grocery store.
Photo by melissamn /

The lawsuit was filed against Tootsie Roll Industries (who make Junior Mints), and the claim was that the company was deceiving buyers by leaving one-third of every Junior Mints box empty. A federal judge in New York threw the claim out in 2018, saying any “reasonable” customer expects some empty space inside each box.

Student Sues University for Failing Her Classes

What do you think about this one? In 2013, a college student from Pennsylvania made headlines when she sued her university after receiving failing grades. The young woman, who was studying nursing at Misericordia University, blamed her school’s officials for not assisting her enough when she failed the same required course on two separate occasions.

Jennifer Burbella’s school photo on top of a copy of the court papers.

The student wanted punitive damages after the school allegedly discriminated against her having disabilities of anxiety and depression when she was taking her final exams. The woman ended up dropping the lawsuit. In 2014, the company agreed to settle for $13 million, but not for the student alone. Their settlement involved offering every unsatisfied customer either a check for $10 or a certificate for $15 of Red Bull energy drinks.

Man Sues Company for Showing that Hot Women Are Attracted to Normal Guys

In 1991, a man named Richard Overton sued Anheuser-Busch, the beer maker (Budweiser and Bud Light), because their advertisements featured guys getting together with beautiful women. The problem? The ads don’t illustrate the reality that consuming beer doesn’t get you, attractive women.

A photograph of the Anheuser Busch brewery with a large sign on the brick wall.
Photo by Philip Rozenski /

He accused the beer maker of deceiving society to get people to buy their products and promoting the false belief that beer is needed for social interaction between the sexes. Apparently, Overton was passionately concerned for society and its beer drinkers – specifically the dudes who just want attractive gals. Overton claimed that he experienced emotional and physical distress and financial losses of 10,000 dollars. He demanded $250 for every day Anheuser-Busch continued to air these ads.

A Man Sued Michael Jordan for Looking Like Him

Allen Heckard wants you to know that he is not Michael Jordan. And he would really appreciate it if you stopped calling him by that name. In his own legal words, dealing with “defamation, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering” of being mistaken for the basketball legend proved to be too much for Heckard, who was 8 years older, about 6 inches shorter.

Allan Heckard is pictured on the left, and Michael Jordon is pictured on the right.

Heckard sued Jordan for $416 million for stealing his likeness. He then sued Nike for the same amount for making Michael Jordan one of the most recognizable men in the world. Have any of your jaws dropped yet? If you’re wondering why $416 million… Heckard explained: “Well, you figure with my age and you multiply that by seven and, ah, then I turn around and, ah, I figure that’s what it all boils down to.”

Don’t worry, folks; there’s hope in the world. The lawsuit was quickly dropped, most likely because Nike’s lawyers found Heckard and told him about all the ways they would counter-sue.

A Nebraska State Senator Sued God!

This is not a joke. Ernie Chambers, “the duly elected and serving State Senator from the 11th Legislative District in Omaha, Nebraska,” sued God. Why, do you ask? “For directly and proximately [causing], among other things, fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornados, pestilential plague.” Chambers used the lawsuit as a cease and desist order to the Almighty, complaining that He must bow down to the law and “cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.”

Photograph of Ernie Chambers speaking in the Nebraska Legislature.
Source: Nebraska Legislature

Chambers later claimed that he filed this lawsuit as a way to fight local laws that prohibited the public from filing frivolous lawsuits. As a senator, what better way to bring up the issue and prove that “anyone can sue anyone they choose, even God” by filing a crazy lawsuit and waste the taxpayers’ money?

Chambers revealed that he not only believes in God, but he also believes that he can sue him to make a point. The judge (obviously) rejected the case because of a technical reason: the Almighty didn’t have a recorded address. The jury is out as to whether God will show up to court. Your move, big guy.

A Baseball Fan Sued ESPN for Defamation

Tons of noteworthy and also hilarious lawsuits have come out of New York, and this was one of the better ones. Andrew Rector, a used car salesman, went to a New York Yankees game in July 2014, but he ended up falling asleep in the stands. That kind of sucks, right? Well, what sucks, even more, is that ESPN, which was broadcasting the game, caught Rector on camera snoozing, and the announcers basically poked fun at him.

Photograph of the shot that ESPN captured of Andrew Rector sleeping in the stands.

Rector decided to sue the network for defamation and demanded $10 million in damages because he felt that the announcers’ remarks hurt his reputation. A judge threw out the case in 2015, stating that Rector was only on camera for a mere 30 seconds and that the jokes were nothing as serious as defamation.

Firefighter Wants Disability Compensation for His Fear of Fire

Disability claims are no laughing matter, but this one had many people rolling their eyes in 2014 when it made the news. What do you think of this one?

A firefighter in Houston, Texas, decided to sue the fire department that he worked for under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He claimed that he had a debilitating fear of fire, which meant he was unable to do his job. After poor performances at multiple fire scenes, the man was demoted to a job outside of the field of firefighting, which is what led to the lawsuit.

A photograph of firefighters watching flames take over a house.
Photo by Robert Wolski /

Believe it or not, the jury sided with the man, which would have awarded him $362,000 in damages. But a judge in the Texas Supreme Court was a little stricter than that and disagreed with the jury. He stripped the decision upon appeal and said the man didn’t prove that he was “disabled” under the ADA’s protections.

Gambler Sued Casino for Losing $500,000

Come on, man… everyone knows that the house always wins. Casinos will gladly take all the money from you than you care to play with, and most people understand that whether they like it or not. But one gambler by the name of Mark Johnston felt like his rights were violated after a particularly unlucky night. Johnston, a California man, sued the Downtown Grand casino in Las Vegas after he claimed $500,000 in losses.

Photograph of Mark Johnston being interviewed about his lawsuit.
Source: BBC

His basis for the lawsuit was that he was too drunk to responsibly gamble, making it the casino’s fault. In a shocking twist, the story ends by Johnston having actually ripped the casino off for the $500,000 by writing phony checks to borrow money from them. That led the Downtown Grand to countersue him, and then a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Man Sued a Park for Not Labeling Bathrooms Well

One day in 1995, Robert Glaser went to a Billy Joel Concert at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego and felt nature calling and naturally went to relieve himself. But he wasn’t aware that the bathrooms at the stadium were unisex. When he got to the bathroom, he found a woman using a urinal to urinate. This apparently traumatized Glaser.

Photograph of a unisex restroom sign in the park.
Photo by Jackson Pearson /

He went around the stadium trying to find a place to pee in peace, but all he found were women in all the restrooms. He was terrified at the thought that one of them would suddenly crouch over the urinals, or that he would end up in a ladies’ restroom and “breaking the rules.” So what did he do? He held it in for four hours. The “emotional distress” and “embarrassment” he suffered were his complaints in the lawsuit he filed against the stadium and even the city of San Diego for $5.4 million. He lost the case. To this day, women can use a urinal to pee in San Diego.

Bad Directions = Lawsuit for Google

Lauren Rosenberg is not a happy Google Maps user. Rosenberg was trying to walk from 96 Daly Street, Park City in Utah, to 1710 Prospector Avenue using Google Maps on her BlackBerry. Part of the Google directions involved a half-mile walk down Deer Valley Drive. When she arrived there, she saw that the road itself had no pedestrian sidewalk. Why? Because Deer Valley Drive was also Utah State Route 224.

Someone is holding a phone while using Google Maps in his hand near the river in Japan.
Photo by ZeroSystem /

Rosenberg continued following the directions and walked down the major highway. But she got hit by a car, and so she sued Google for leading her there. She demanded $100,000 because the directions were unreasonable and unsafe. Rosenberg said she never saw the side roads that she could have used. She also didn’t pay attention to the fact that Google posts a warning about the safety and reliability of its directions with each map search.

Kidnapper Sues His Victims for Turning Him In

Now, if the other lawsuits haven’t baffled you yet, try this one. Fugitives might feel the necessity to do some desperate things just to stay out of jail, but Jesse Dimmick pulled a rather shameless move after he got caught for a crime he committed in 2009. What did he do? Well, he was on the police radar after a murder charge in Kansas.

Headshot of Jessie Dimmick in an orange jumpsuit.
Source: Kansas Attorney General’s Office / Associated Press

He broke into a couple’s house and held them at knifepoint. When the couple managed to get away from him when he fell asleep, they obviously called the police and told them where he was. Dimmick was quickly caught. What did Dimmick do? He sued the couple because they apparently made a legally binding oral agreement that they would help him stay free in return for money. A judge dismissed his case lawsuit in 2012, and all faith in humanity can be restored.

Football Fans Sue for the Right to Swear at Players

Some people like to watch sports as part of some family-friendly activity, and then some prefer to watch sports as a reason to unleash all their anger onto the players they see. If you’re around the latter group during a sporting event, you know you’re going to hear lots of bad words and yelling.

Photograph of Giants fans in with some Dallas football fans.
Photo by fitzcrittle /

In 2017, two New York Giants fans sued police officers at San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium for what they believed was a violation of their First Amendment rights. The two football fans, who are brothers, said they were removed from the NFL game for cursing at the football players and flipping them off. The passionate fans also said that the cops who kicked them out of the game used excessive force, even zapping one of them with a Taser.

A Couple Sued McDonald’s for Their Cheese Charge

McDonald’s has been on the receiving end of numerous lawsuits, like the infamous hot coffee case. Some are legit; some not so much. And one case that was deemed to have no merit whatsoever happened in Miami, Florida, in 2018. A pissed off couple filed a lawsuit because the massive fast-food chain charges just as much for a Quarter Pounder WITH cheese as it does for one without the cheese.

Photograph of a McDonald’s meal with a large cheeseburger in the center.
Photo by Andrey Armyagov /

The angry burger eaters said that they ordered the burger without any cheese and were shocked to see how the price was the exact same. So, naturally, they wanted $5 million in damages. I mean, it only makes sense…

Anyway, a Florida judge tossed it out, stating that the couple couldn’t prove that they were harmed by the additional charge.

Hellmann’s Owner Sued Their Competition for Using the Word “Mayo”

According to Hellman’s parent company Unilever, federal regulators define mayonnaise as a spread that contains eggs. This is why Hellman’s wasn’t happy that a competitor was trying to pass off an egg-free version as the real deal. Hampton Creek’s line of “Just Mayo” uses plant products instead of eggs. Unilever claimed that by calling their non-mayo product “Just Mayo,” Hampton Creek is falsely advertising and stealing the market share that is rightfully theirs.

Photograph of Hampton Creek Founder, Josh Tetrick’s hands holding a bowl of yellow peas used to make Just Mayo.
Photo by Eric Risberg / Associated Press

“Consumers and cooks have an expectation that mayonnaise should both taste and perform like mayonnaise. Just Mayo does neither,” the complaint stated. Hampton Creek’s CEO, Josh Tetrick, didn’t think it was a big deal. “Today it’s mayo; tomorrow it’s a cookie … next year it will be pasta,” he said. “Maybe we’ll see big cookie and big pasta lawsuits against us next.”

A Fan’s Burned Butt Was a Lawsuit for the Dallas Cowboys

In 2012, a Dallas Cowboys fan had to watch the live game while sitting on a hot bench. It must have been a really hot day because she sued her favorite football team, claiming how she suffered severe burns due to sitting on that hot bench at the game. Jennelle Carrillo, a Texan woman, got lawyers involved after attending a team fight and unwittingly sitting on the very hot seat.

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo points to a New York Giants defender with the stadium in the background.
Photo by Ken Durden /

As it so happens, the temperatures that day were more than 100 degrees, and the bench she sat on was black, so you can imagine how hot it was. But Carrillo claimed that she had no way of knowing that the bench would be as hot as it was because the team didn’t have any signs posted warning fans. The lawsuit went away after the initial media mentions. No wonder…

A Man Sued British Airways for Sending Him to the Wrong Place

Geography is tough for many of us. And in 2014, an American dentist by the name of Edward Gamson got a lesson in geography. He planned himself a trip to a southern city in Spain, called Granada. He was especially excited for this trip due to his lifelong passion for Islamic art and his Spanish Jewish heritage. But despite his insistence with the travel agent at British Airways that he really wanted to visit Granada, Spain, you can imagine his surprise when he ended up on a 9-hour flight to the Caribbean island of Grenada.

British Airways plane taking off with a view of the clouds in the background.
Photo by Markus Mainka /

But British Airways refused to reimburse Gamson and his partner for the $4,500 business class tickets. So he went ahead and sued the airline for $34,000 in damages. Even though there was a little bit of suffering that he had to endure as a result of the mistake, he still got a trip to the Caribbean!

Man Sued His Parents Over Destroyed “Adult” Stash

Suing over destroyed property can be a legitimate legal claim, but when you’re looking to sue mom and dad for your missing porn stash, you’re better off just cutting your losses and moving on. A man in Indiana failed to accept that insight. He brought his parents to court in 2019, telling the judge that several boxes full of pornography and adult toys mysteriously went missing after he moved in with his parents in Michigan after a divorce.

A burning cardboard box on the ground.
Photo by Sezamnet /

The man estimated the value of his fancy collection and came up with a total close to $30,000. The man’s father came through and admitted to having destroyed the collection in an email. So this one could even end up earning the plaintiff some money.

They Were Angry About Where the Beer Is Made

A class-action lawsuit from 2017 shows that people put too much trust into the pictures on beer labels. Unsatisfied beer customers sued Kona Brewing Co. after realizing that much of their beer is made in New Hampshire and Tennessee, rather than Hawaii. The bottles clearly state on the labels that the beer is made in these locations. But considering their Hawaii-themed beer names and labels, customers felt duped.

A six-pack of cans of Kona Brewing Co’s beer in a supermarket.
Photo by rblfmr /

Other brewers like Red Stripe and Foster were also previously sued for “false advertising” about where they made their beers. So, these customers probably thought they had a chance. In June 2019, Kona Brewing settled this lawsuit, agreeing to pay a maximum of $20 per household for those customers who had valid proof of purchase. They also offered a maximum of $10 per household for customers who didn’t have proof of purchase.

Starbucks gave Her Too Much Ice

A Chicago coffee drinker by the name of Stacy Pincus got fed up with her watered-down iced coffees from Starbucks. She took matters into her own hands and decided to sue the company over it. The court documents that were brought in on behalf of Pincus state, “Plaintiff alleges that…Starbucks has engaged in the practice of misrepresenting the amount of Cold Drink a customer will receive. As a result of this practice, Starbucks’ Cold Drinks contain significantly less product than advertised, by design and corporate practice and procedure.”

Starbucks Iced Espresso Matcha Fusion in Thailand with ice.
Photo by Prachana Thong-on /

Getting ripped off on your “cold drink” is no laughing matter, people. The complaint says that standard practice at Starbucks is to fill up a venti-sized cup until just above the head of the siren on the logo and then fill the rest with ice. This means customers are getting around 14 ounces of coffee instead of the 24 ounces that fit in the cup. Starbucks says that customers can just ask for less ice.

Bank Robber Gets Shot and Sues City for His Medical Bills

After receiving a pair of bullets while fleeing from a police officer, a bank robber sued the County for $6.3 million. Kirkpatrick, currently an inmate at Clallam Bay Corrections Center, filed a legal claim against Snohomish County. Apparently, he claims that his medical bills from the gunshot wounds came out to more than $300,000 and that other cops failed to stop the deputy from “trying to execute” him.

Todd Kirkpatrick’s mug shot.
Source: Washington Department of Corrections

What really happened was Kirkpatrick pointed a gun at the officer, and thus, he received two non-lethal hits. It looks like inmates are really trying to take the legal system for a ride. Similar to the kidnapper that sued his victims, this robber suing the cop that shot him is pretty much laughable.

Aunt Sued 8-year-old Boy for a “Careless” Hug

In 2011, Jennifer Connell attended her nephew Sean Tarala’s 8th birthday party. Apparently, Tarala was so excited by the presence of his “Auntie Jen” that he jumped into her arms. The jump caused her to fall to the ground and break her wrist. So Connell gave her nephew a gift in the form of a $127,000 lawsuit.

Connell actually sued the boy himself for the cost of her legal bills, claiming her injuries were caused by his “negligence and carelessness,” arguing that the birthday boy “should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff.”

Photograph of Jennifer Connell and her Nephew Sean Tarala being interviewed on the Today Show.

Due to a shoddy health care system and crappy homeowner’s insurance companies, Connell was left as an injured woman paying six figures out of pocket, feeling forced to sue her nephew (on paper) to get the insurance carrier to pay up.

A Particularly Gross Fear Factor Episode

Is a reality show grossing you out? Sue, the network! Do what Austin Aitken did to NBC after watching a Fear Factor episode in 2005 showed contestants eating a “rat smoothie” for a $50,000 prize. The 49-year-old paralegal from Cleveland, Ohio, claimed in a handwritten lawsuit that such a “barbaric” task in the episode caused his blood pressure to rise, result in him vomiting from dizziness and giving him “suffering, injury, and great pain.”

Photograph of the Fear Factor logo with the host Joe Rogan.
Source: NBC

He sought $2.5 million in damages but made it clear that he wasn’t doing it for the cash; he wanted to send an important message that “these networks are going too far” and that they need to recheck their programming. He said: “You really think I expect to get $2.5 million? I just put any figure.” The judge tossed out the lawsuit, calling it “frivolous” and warned Aitken against filing an appeal.

The Claim Against NASA

In 2014, a mystery rock that looked like it was a jelly-filled doughnut was seen in photographs taken on Mars by NASA’s Opportunity rover. Scientists explained that the reason it wasn’t there before was that it was most likely something which had been moved by the rover. But this explanation wasn’t enough for Rhawn Joseph, a neuropsychologist and author, who chose to file a lawsuit in California demanding NASA “thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate” this mystery object that appeared out of nowhere on the surface of Mars.

The before-and-after pictures of the same patch of ground in front of NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity.
Source: NASA

Joseph claimed the rock was already there and grew to its current size in 12 days calling it “inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre” that NASA didn’t take close-up photos from different angles, and requested that “100 high-resolution photos and 24 microscopic in-focus images of the object’s exterior” be given to him.

Scientists conclude that a rover wheel rolled over a rock, broke it off a bit of it, and sent the chip downhill to where it was seen. The dark red “filling” might have formed geologically after erosion exposed the rock at the surface.

Robert Lee Brock Vs. Himself

Here’s a wild idea: if you’ve done something illegal and serving time in jail for it, just file a lawsuit against who? Yourself. In 1995, Robert Lee Brock did exactly that, seeking $5 million in damages for drinking alcohol and committing crimes that he stated: “violated his religious beliefs.” His sentence was 23 years at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Virginia for the crimes of grand larceny, breaking and entering. Brock clearly had no income to pay for the damages and asked the state to pay up.

A mugshot of Robert Lee Brock.
Source: Pasco Sheriff Office

“I want to pay myself 5 million dollars but ask the state to pay it on my behalf since I can’t work and am a ward of the state,” he stated in his claim. During the final ruling, while the judge saw the lawsuit as “an innovative approach to civil rights litigation,” he still called it “totally ludicrous.” The case was ultimately tossed out. Duh…

Haunted House Vs. Terrified Grandma

If a horror-themed attraction is so effective that it literally scares the life out of you, make them pay, of course! This is what Cleanthi Peters thought when in 2000, she filed a complaint against Universal Studios in Orlando for their Halloween Horror Nights haunted house. She said they caused her “extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional distress” and also physical injury.

Universal Studios lit up for the annual “Halloween Horror Nights’.
Photo by Amonarch /

She said that in 1998, she and her granddaughter visited the parks’ haunted house and were chased and “attacked” by a terrifying character with a chainsaw, causing them to slip on a wet spot on the floor. According to Peters, the guy continued to scare them even as they were on the floor, both frightened and hurt. The 57-year-old woman fought for and was ultimately awarded the $15,000 in damages.

Lindsay Lohan’s Lawsuit Over a Super Bowl Ad

Lindsay Lohan was positive that it was her whom E-Trade was mocking in their 2010 Super Bowl advertisement that featured Lindsay, a “talking” baby who admitted to being a “milkaholic.” Lohan’s lawyers said that the idea of a baby with her name and being an “-aholic” indicated her struggles with alcohol and substance abuse, and it should count as defamation.

The baby from the e-trade commercial in a nursery / Lindsay Lohan at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Liz & Dick'
Source: Youtube / Photo by Tinseltown,

The then 24-year-old celebrity insisted on how the commercial was using her “likeness, name, characterization and personality” without her consent, which violated her rights. She demanded that E-Trade stop showing the ad. In September 2010, she dropped the case for a $100 million settlement with the company. People later wondered if her uproar was an admission of guilt or an effort to cover up the embarrassment.

Wanita Young vs. Cookies

Cookies will brighten up most peoples’ days, especially if they’re given away for free. Right? Well, at least, that’s what two teenage girls figured when they surprised their neighbor with some homemade cookies. But boy, were they in for a surprise. Lindsey Zellitti and Taylor Ostergaard just wanted to do something nice for their neighbors.

Photograph of Lindsey and Taylor holding up their plate of cookies with the heart-shaped note.
Source: NBC

They walked around their neighborhood, knocking on doors and giving out small packages of cookies. When they got to 49-year-old Wanita Young’s house, the sudden sound of the girls knocking on her door drove her into an anxiety attack, causing her to call the police who came and called the paramedics who took her to the hospital. After the girls apologized and even offered to pay her hospital bills, Young still decided to take them to court. She sued them for $900. And get this – she won!

William Baxter vs. Wife’s Cat

It was in 2011 when William Baxter was cat-sitting a cat when it “viciously” attacked him and bit his finger. Baxter did the only reasonable thing he could do: he sued the cat’s owner for $100,000. First, he demanded $50,000 for the scratches on his arm, and then another $50,000 for the bite on his finger. The wounded finger was his ring finger.

William and Christy Baxter with their children posing on a tree trunk.
Source: Facebook

Here’s a twist: the owner of the cat was Christine Bobak, who might actually be his wife. The Southtown Star, which originally reported the lawsuit, did some digging into and found that the two were listed as married on Facebook. The lawsuit claims that not only is he suffering now, but he will “in the future continue to suffer,” which probably refers to the need to take off the band-aid.

John Coomer vs. The Kansas City Royals

John Coomer was watching a baseball game in 2009 when a hot dog flew into his eye. The culprit was Sluggerrr, the Kansas City Royals mascot, who was tossing hot dogs into the crowd between innings. Blinded by anger and ketchup, Coomer chose to file a lawsuit against the team. His claim? That the hot dog created a detached retina in his left eye in which he had to get surgery. Also, the act of chucking hot dogs into the crowd is dangerous.

The Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr posing on the red carpet during the MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Show in New York.
Photo by lev radin /

After deliberation, the jury ruled against Coomer, saying that airborne foodstuffs are inherent risks of watching a baseball game. They also said that since Coomer had already been to 175 Royals games and witnessed the “Hotdog Launch” many times, he was definitely aware of the danger. But Coomer appealed to a higher court and managed to get the verdict reversed. The judge ruled that “the risk of being hit in the face by a hot dog is not a well-known incidental risk of attending a baseball game.”

A Couple Got Sued For Using Emojis In a Text

I know this isn’t an American lawsuit, but it’s worth mentioning. An Israeli couple had to pay up $2,000 for an apartment they never even rented out thanks to an emoji. The couple messaged a landlord they found online about an apartment. During their text conversation, the couple used smiley faces and other emojis like a champagne bottle and a peace sign, for example. Harmless, right? Not so much.

iPhone transparent background emoji

The landlord took it as the couple being sincerely interested and took the property off the market. The thing is, they didn’t end up taking it and backed out. So the landlord took them to court for the month’s rent that he lost. The judge ruled that he had every right to do so. “Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the parties, this message naturally led to the Plaintiff’s great reliance on the defendants’ desire to rent his apartment.”

Subway’s Footlong Went to Court

In yet another example of how companies are sued for false advertising, this one comes from way down under in Australia. A group (not just one angry person) of unsatisfied Subway eaters sued the sandwich chain when they realized their “footlong” sandwiches were a little short of a foot.

Rich Schultz and the
Photo by Treter, / Source:

In 2013, a customer measured his footlong sandwich to find the bread only came up to about 11 inches. A class-action lawsuit was thus put together, and it took a long four years to finally settle. The court eventually tossed it out in 2017 after the judge realized that the lawyers behind the case were going to make a lot more money from it than the plaintiffs were. Subway said it would do a better job making its bread more uniform.

Man Sues Over Boss’s Gas

I’ve been handpicking each and every lawsuit on this list, and I think this might be a fun one to leave you with. It’s another one that comes from the land down under (Australia). A 56-year-old man sued his former boss because he said that he was forced to put up with something rather uncomfortable. He alleged that his ex-boss would constantly fart around him.

Photograph of Davi Hingst covering his mouth as he walks down the steps at the courthouse.
Source: AAPImage

David Hingst called his former employer’s behavior “bullying” and sought $1.3 million in damages! Hingst claimed that his boss would come into his tiny and windowless office and pass gas at least five times a day, thinking it was funny. The judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, saying he didn’t think flatulence could be defined as bullying.