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By Bill King

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Best (Worst?) Lawsuits of 2011

I’ve never checked the stats, but I have to guess that a million lawsuits a year are filed in the U.S. Okay, I just checked and it’s something like 20 million. A lot of these are necessary for things like divorce cases, probate cases and things like that. Most, however, are more along the lines of “I’m mad at you for something and I’m going to sue you for it.”

Since I represent some of these people and businesses, I can tell you that many claims are legitimate. Someone did work and didn’t get paid, but then claim that the first guy’s work was somehow defective. Somebody lied about his intent for using undeveloped property and now they’re trying to take advantage. Some employee was fired in a discriminatory manner. Sometimes, it’s just part of the process of collecting against someone and those take up very little court time.

Well, thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, somebody took the time to find the most ridiculous lawsuits of the year. In the good old days of law school, these kinds of claims set precedents to help forge our civil laws today. Now, the impact is less, but there’s still a chance some type of liability may be held against a company or person. This is why there’s so much legalese on everything. Yes, it annoys me, too.

So with credit to FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.Org, I give you some of the craziest lawsuits filed in 2011:

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Trust me lady, your cruise could have ended up a lot worse.

You should recognize the Chuck E. Cheese case from one of my earlier blogs (no update, yet). But, look at some of these.  I’d have to say my favorite is either the woman suing for misleading movie advertising (someone has to start holding these producers accountable) or the guy who sues the bar for not protecting him from his own dangerous self. You laugh, but this is exactly why some of your kids no longer get to play dodge ball on the blacktop.

Seriously, this was my son's playground during lunch thanks to lawsuit fears. But they were allowed to play butt's up with a racquetball...

As for the criminal in Kansas who sued the couple for breaching their agreement to help him evade the police, I leave you with this lesson: Illegal contracts are unenforceable. So if you make an illegal bet on this weekend’s game and your buddy doesn’t pay up, don’t think you can win that case, even though you have a 1 in 3 chance of finding an attorney who would actually file the lawsuit for you.

12/29/11 UPDATE: So apparently the winner by some reader vote somewhere was the criminal who sued his captors for not helping him evade police.  That’s probably what I would have voted for.

Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the 2012 court dockets,

Bill

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