Best of the Bizarre for 1998

Each year San Antonians Against Lawsuit Abuse announces their list of the top frivolous lawsuits in the nation. Here are the top 10 for 1998, winners of the “So Sue Me” Awards:
1. Beer Doesn't Equal Success With Women
A man sued Anhauser-Busch for $10,000 for false advertising. He claimed that he suffered physical and mental injury and emotional distress from the implicit promises in the advertisements. When he drank beer, he did not have success with women, plus he got sick.
For more of the Best of the Worst:



2. Car Crash Leads to
Switched Gears in Man's Sex Drive

A 27 year-old Michigan man was awarded $200,000 after claiming a rear-end auto collision with a truck turned him into a homosexual. The man filed suit against the owners of the truck, alleging that the accident left him unable to carry on a normal sexual relationship with his wife. Furthermore, the man left his wife, moved in with his parents and began frequenting gay bars and perusing homosexual literature. In addition to the $200,000 awarded to the man, the jury also awarded $25,000 to his wife.
3. Man Sues Over Pregnancy
A New Mexico man filed a lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend for getting pregnant without his consent. She claimed the pregnancy was accidental but sued him for child support. He responded by suing her for breach of contract, fraud and conversion of property-his semen-for getting pregnant when he thought she was taking birth control pills.
4. Former High School Athlete
Strikes Out in Court Challenge

A former Cypress Falls High School athlete sued his coaches for "benching" him before a baseball playoff game. A U.S. District Judge ruled that the athlete did not have the constitutional right to take the pitching mound in the game. In his order, the judge wrote, "Federal judges issue opinions and orders, not starting lineups."
5. Man Bonked on Head Sues Topless Club
After his bachelor party in 1996, a Florida man sued a topless club claiming a dancer gave him whiplash when she "slammed" him with her 60-HH bust. It was like two cement blocks hit me, he said. After claiming he was in pain for nearly two years, the man sued the club for more than $15,000. He lost.
6. Serial Killer Sues for Defamation
A writer was sued for $60 million after writing a book about a convicted serial killer. Although the inmate is on death row, he claimed he was innocent in all 16 murders, so the characterization of him as a serial killer was false and misleading and "defamed his good name." The case was thrown out of court in 46 seconds, but only after the writer's publisher incurred $30,000 in legal fees.
7. Bank Robber Hurt in Act Sues
A convicted bank robber, on parole, robbed a California Savings and Loan branch. The bank robber placed the money roll containing a hidden "Security Pac" in his front pocket. The Security Pac released tear gas and red dye, resulting in second and third degree burns that required treatment at a hospital. The bank robber sued the bank, the Security Pac manufacturer, the city, the police and the hospital.
8. Man Sues Due to Lack of Warnings
A man sued the St. Paul Saints baseball team in Minnesota for $50,000 after allegedly getting hurt while participating in a grocery chain's "Shop 'til You Drop" contest during a baseball game. The man said the baseball club never warned him that the contest required physical exertion.
9. "Munsters" Actor Sues to be on Ballot as "Grandpa"
Former "Munsters" television star, Al Lewis filed a lawsuit to be listed on the ballot for governor in New York as "Grandpa". The lawsuit was filed against the New York State Board of Elections because he said by not listing him on the ballot as "Grandpa Al Lewis" voters would be confused and not cast an informed vote.
10. Hindu Man has Beef with Taco Bell
A devout Hindu is suing a Ventura, California Taco Bell for serving him the wrong burrito. Mulkesh K. Rai claims that after ordering a bean burrito he was given a beef burrito instead. By biting into it, Rai said he violated his most fundamental religious principal. He says that this incident caused him emotional distress, loss of wages, medical expenses and the need to travel to England and India to perform religious purification ceremonies, including bathing in the Ganges River. "Eating the cow, it was really a devastating experience," said Rai, "so much so I had to go to a psychiatrist. I went to a doctor, I couldn't sleep." Taco Bell offered to exchange the beef burrito for a bean one, but would not refund Rai's money. In the future, perhaps Rai will look at his food before he eats it.
Darn Right Absurd

Speaking of
Frivolous Filings

"A fourth of all lawsuits filed in the United States are either frivolous or fraudulent."

Former U.S. Senator George McGovern citing the American Board of Trial Advocates, in a speech before the American Legislative Exchange Council, San Antonio, April 1994.

"There is no easy definition for the phrase 'frivolous lawsuit,' but I imagine any claim for damages where the injuries are minimal or where the basis for the defendant's liability is hard to believe, might qualify as frivolous."

Paul F. Waldner, President-Elect,
Houston Trial Lawyers Association
Viewpoints, Houston Chronicle
August 31, 1996

"Unfortunately, wacky lawsuits are just the tip of the lawsuit abuse iceberg" said Houston CALA director Jon Opelt. "Junk lawsuits waste tax dollars and tie up court time. That means the rest of us pay when others use our courts for frivolous reasons. What's more, it means people with legitimate claims have to wait longer to have their case heard."

Opelt noted that often court cases take 2-3 years to be disposed in Harris County.

"We support the rights of injured parties to use the legal system responsibly in seeking fair compensation. However, some of these lawsuits are darn right absurd," said Opelt.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

2500 City West Boulevard, Suite 300 • Houston, Texas 77042
E-mail: sosueme@ • Administrative: (713) 267-2302 • Fax: (713) 267-2267