Most people have heard about the McDonalds hot coffee lawsuit when a woman spilled hot coffee on herself and sued McDonalds. Jury awarded $160,000to cover medical expenses and compensatory damages and additional $2.7 million in punitive damages. However much more absurd complaints have been filed to courts in USA. If you look into it, seems like everyone who has some free time and is creative enough to think of who to sue files their complain and starts a lawsuit.
Christopher Roller was mystified by professional magicians, so he sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to him – or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using “godly powers” and since Roller is god (according to him), they’re “somehow” stealing that power from him.
Shawn Perkins was hit by lightning in the parking lot Paramount’s Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. A classic “act of God”, right? No, says Perkins’ lawyer. “That would be a lot of people’s knee-jerk reaction in these types of situations.” The lawyer has filed suit against the amusement park asking unspecified damages, arguing the park should have “warned” people not to be outside during a thunderstorm.
More conservative Europeans tend to make their cases a bit more rationally; nevertheless humorous lawsuits are also here.
In Germany tourist sued tourist agency as in the hotel where he was staying during his vacation in Egypt there were too many cockroaches. The court satisfied his claim and he got compensation in amount of 10% of the total value of his vacation. The court announced that the acceptable limit of cockroaches per day was exceeded – there were more than 10 cockroaches per day! What keeps you wondering is how did the court set the 10 cockroach per day limit?
Another traveller wanted to claim his compensation from tourist agency regarding injury he had in result of jumping in the pool for children (70 cm depth). The accident happened at night and the man was intoxicated. Court declined the claim and pointed out that the act itself is a sign of some kind of madness and the partygoer himself is responsible for the consequences of his actions. Declined were his objections that the territory was not closed, there was no warning sign stating the depth of the pool and that the hotel staff member failed to prevent his access to the area.
There is an interesting story illustrating the situations when people “test” manufacturers and sellers of goods on their promises regarding durability of the products.
Russian sailor bought expensive watch and the salesman asserted that the clock is waterproof, crashworthy, it is not affected by heat or any other extreme use conditions. In case the watch stops working or breaks the salesmen promised a full refund. Sailor threw the watch on the floor, knocked it against the heater, poured kerosene over it but the watch was as shiny as before and was ticking as nothing has happened. Sailor was frustrated and anxious because of the lack of results. As his decision to show everyone that he can conquer the all mighty watch was final, he came up with a new plan. He decided to put the watch in boiling water. It took 3 hours of nonstop boiling until under the glass formed two tiny drops of water. Sailor felt overwhelmed with joy, such an achievement! The watch was returned as broken. Salesman apologized for disappointment and inconvenience, gave him a new watch and a full refund as compensation. However, as the experts in laboratory couldn’t get it straight how the water got in the watch, salesman kindly asked the sailor, if can remember under what circumstances during the usage did the clock break. Still overwhelmed by his achievement over the European civilisation masterpiece the sailor told that he was so clever and boiled the watch. Incredible silence filled the shop while the sailor was walking out. You could see astonishment in the faces of staff and there was only one question in mind of all staff members: “Why on earth did he do something like that?!” After this accident in the end of manual there was added in bold letters and only in Russian “DO NOT BOIL!”
One can argue if the story is true or not, nevertheless probably because of similar cases we can find funny warnings in manuals for household goods such as:
Hair curling iron “Do not use to curl eyelashes, it can cause serious injuries” and “only for external use”
Iron “Do not iron clothes on your body”
Steering wheel lock “Attention! Before driving take off the steering wheel lock”
On shower cap “Only on one head”
30 cm high CD storage „Do not use as ladder”
Pack of nuts served for passanger in plain „Instruction : open the pack, eat the nuts.”
Bottle of water „Open the bottle and put the cap aside. Do not put the cap in mouth.”
Happy April Fools` Day!
„The law often permits what honor prohibits” Bernard Joseph Saurin (1706 – 1781) lawyer, poet and dramatist.
„Common sense often makes good law” William O. Douglas (1898 – 1980), judge