Humorous Legal Cases
Jonathan Lee Riches v. Michael Vick
U.S. Dist. Court E.D. Va. (July 23, 2007)
Give or Take a Billion Dollars.
Michael Vick of Atlanta Falcon football fame, and more recently known for his alleged involvement in a dog fighting
ring, has been named in a $63,000,000,000.00 lawsuit alleging the theft of some dogs.
The handwritten complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, alleges, among other things,
that Michael Vick stole two mixed pitbull dogs from the plaintiff, used the dogs in several dog fights, and then sold them on eBay and
used the proceeds to buy missles from the Iranian government.
The rambling fantasy of a lawsuit furthers that Vick has sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda; has
subjected the plaintiff to microwave testing; used drugs in a school zone; and is in the business of illegal
The plaintiff, who is serving time in Federal prison for wire
fraud, prays for the judgment to be backed by gold and silver and delivered via UPS to the front gates of
Jonathan Lee Riches has become a bit of an icon for filing bizzare
and frivilous lawsuits. His masterpiece came in 2006 when he sued almost everyone under the sun -- alive
and dead, including George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Malcom X, George Orwell, Skittles (the candy),
AccuWeather.com, and 57 pages of other defendants.
Avista Management v. Wausau Underwriters Insurance
U.S. Dist. Court Mid. Dist. Fla. (June 6, 2006)
Rock, Paper, Scissors - I Win!
In a case where a hotel investment firm sued an insurance company for allegedly not paying an insurance claim fast enough
after Hurricane Charley, attorneys for the parties seemed at odds with each other from the get-go. When it came down
to where to depose a witness, the attorneys would do no better. Not being able to select a location between themselves,
the court was asked to intervene. U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell was not amused. After chastising the attorneys
for not being able to agree on even the most simplest of things, Judge Presnell issued his written ruling:
"[T]he Court will fashion a new form of alternative dispute resolution, to wit: at 4:00 P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006,
counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties. If counsel cannot agree on a neutral site, they shall
meet on the front steps of the [Courthouse]. Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall
act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of 'rock, paper,
scissors.' The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition to be held
somewhere in Hillsborough County during the period July 11-12, 2006."
** The two lawyers met on June 7, 2006, a day later, and agreed to the location
for the deposition, making the game unnecessary. For fear of being held in contempt of court, defense counsel filed a motion
asking the judge to call the game off. Plaintiff's counsel joined in the motion. The judge vacated his previous ruling
with the following, "With civility restored (at least for now), it is ordered that the motion is granted."
Ross v. GTE California
Superior Court of California (2000)
Attorney's have been called Sharks,
but Reptiles? A Southern California attorney (full name intentionally
withheld to avoid further embarassment) filed a lawsuit against GTE California
(now Verizon) for being listed in its GTE
Yellow Pages directory under the heading of "Reptiles." The lawsuit seeks damages in excess
of $100,000.00 and alleges that the attorney became the target of jokes, rude
telephone calls, people making hissing sounds in jest, and suffered other
forms of ridicule and embarassment. It appears as though GTE inadvertantly listed
the attorney under the heading of "Reptiles" in its December 1999 Yellow Pages due
to the fact that the the attorney's telephone number was previously issued to a recently
defunct business named the "Reptile Show." Somehow GTE forgot to update its records.
Ooops! On a positive note, the attorney was listed below "Prehistoric Pets"
and "Radical Reptiles."
Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp.
147 F.Supp.2d 668, 670 (S.D. Texas 2001)
Now, Now Children. The plaintiff filed suit after
allegedly sustaining injuries during his employment as a shiphand on a tug boat. Defendant filed a motion
for summary judgment to dismiss the case. After submitting written briefs and having oral argument, the
court handed down its written ruling, as follows:
"Defendant begins the decent into Alice's Wonderland by submitting a Motion that relies upon only one legal authority ...
Plaintiff responds to this deft, yet minimalist analytical wizardry with an equally gossamer wisp of an argument, ...
naturally Plaintiff also neglects to provide any analysis whatsoever .... Instead,
Plaintiff 'cites' to a single case from the Fourth Circuit. Plaintiff's citation, however, points to a nonexistent
Volume '1886' of the Federal Reporter ... and neglects to provide a pinpoint citation for what, after being located,
turned out to be a forty-page decision. (What the ...)?! The Court cannot even begin to comprehend why this case was
selected for reference. It is almost as if Plaintiff's counsel chose the opinion by throwing long range darts at the
Federal Reporter (remarkably enough hitting a nonexistent volume!) ... Despite the continued shortcomings of Plaintiff's
supplemental submission, the Court commends Plaintiff for his vastly improved choice of crayon -- Brick Red is much
easier on the eyes than Goldenrod, and stands out much better amidst the mustard splotched about Plaintiff's
It is well known around these parts that [Plaintiff's] lawyer is equally likable and has been writing crisply in ink
since the second grade. Some old timers even spin yarns of an ability to type. The Court cannot speak to the veracity of
such loose talk, but out of an abundance of caution, the Court suggests that Plaintiff's lovable counsel has best
upgrade to a nice shiny No. 2 pencil or at least sharpen what's left of the stubs of his crayons for what remains of
this heart-stopping, spine-tingling action ... In either case, the Court cautions Plaintiff's counsel not to run with a
sharpened writing utensil in hand -- he could put his eye out."
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment was Granted. Case dismissed.
Stein v. Willow Beach/Colorado River Recreation Association
Los Angeles County Municipal Court, Case No. SB94C02433 (1994)
I'm OK, and So Am I. An attorney representing himself in a case for recovery of his fees had his case dismissed because he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing.
He subsequently filed a motion requesting relief from the judgment of dismissal based upon the theory that it wouldn't be fair to penalize the client for the mistakes of his attorney.
Defendants filed their opposition to the motion, which included the following excerpt:
"Uniquely, Plaintiff herein, an attorney litigating in pro se, is alleging that he has caused his client (himself) irreparable harm for which he should
not be made to bear the mistakes of his attorney (also himself). Defendants, jokingly, have dubbed this the 'Sybil' defense."
RQdN v. Teerlink, et al.
Just Imagine. In a case of one website versus another in a copyright infringement matter governed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA"), where
the offending party had copied an entire website, replaced the logos with their own and uploaded the same on the Internet. During investigation of the matter, it was learned that the offending party had posted on their spiffy new
website that they were incorporated in 1999 when, in fact, no such incorporating had ever taken place. In its demand to cease and desist, RQdN was heard to quip:
"We can only assume that such incorporation is a mere figment of your imagination, just as your website is a complete figment of ours."
Turnage v. Christy Brothers Circus
144 S.E. 680 (1928)
Nevermind the Monkeys, Watch the Horses!!
The plaintiff, an unmarried lady, while attending a circus performance as a guest of the circus, was seated in the front row. During the show, "a
horse, which was going through a dancing performance immediately in front of where plaintiff was
sitting, ... caused to back towards the plaintiff, and while in this situation the horse evacuated his bowels into her lap, that this occured in full
view of many people, ... all of whom laughed at the occurrence, that as a result thereof the plaintiff was caused much embarassment, mortification, and
mental pain and suffering ..."
Judgment for plaintiff.
Koutsouradis v. Delta Airlines
___ F.4d ___ (11th Cir. 2005)
Batteries Included. A 36 year old married woman filed a lawsuit against Delta Airlines
for being publicly humiliated after she boarded a Delta Airlines flight
with her husband in Dallas, Texas on a stop over from Las Vegas, Nevada to her home in Clearwater, Florida. After
boarding, the woman surprising heard her name being called on the plane's P.A. system asking her to identfy herself
and to please come forward. Alarmed, the woman complied, and was greeted by a Delta security agent who informed her
that something in her luggage was vibrating. The woman was escorted off of the plane by the security agent and lead to
the tarmack next to the plane where her luggage had been placed. The woman explained to the security agent that the
vibrating must be from an adult toy she purchased while in Las Vegas. The security agent, not being satisfied with this representation, made the
woman remove the toy from the luggage and hold it up for inspection, in full view of curious passengers looking out the windows of the plane
as well as in front of a few Delta ground personnel who, as the complaint alleges, "began laughing hysterically." The woman
was allowed to repack her luggage and return to her seat on the plane. Albeit, a little red faced we're sure.
Mattel v. MCA Records
296 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2002)
Barbie! Now with Pirate Accessories. MCA released a song entitled "Barbie Girl," which didn't paint the toy doll in the best of light.
After the song hit the Top 40, Mattel filed an infringement suit for the unfair use of the name. MCA countered by agreeing to place a disclaimer on the album stating that the song
was "social commentary and not created or approved by the makers of the doll." Mattel shot back, "That's unacceptable ... It's akin to a bank robber
handing a note of apology to a teller during a heist. It neither diminishes the severity of the crime nor does it make it legal." MCA then filed a
counter-claim for defamation based upon Mattel's characterization of MCA and its use of the words "bank robber," "heist," "crime," and "theft."
In dealing with MCA's counter-claim for defamation the court opinined, "All of these terms are variants of the invective most often hurled at accused infringers, namely 'piracy'. No one hearing this
accusation understands intellectual property owners to be saying that infringers are nautical cutthroats with eyepatches and peg legs who board galleons
to plunder cargo."
In this rather heated trial and appeal, where the parties used the press to trade insults and slurs at one another,
MCA ultimately prevailed and the song was deemed non-infringing. The court's opinion aptly ends:
"The parties are advised to chill."
Pillars v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
78 So. 365, 366 (Miss. 1918)
Hold the Toes Please. "We can imagine no reason why, with ordinary care, human toes could not be left out of chewing tobacco, and if toes
are found in chewing tobacco, it seems to us that somebody has been very careless."
Gordon v. Secretary of State of New Jersey
460 F.Supp. 1026 (D. N.J. 1978)
Rock the Vote!
Plaintiff, while a guest in the Worcester County Jail in Massachusetts, filed a complaint in pro per alleging (1)
that he was a certified candidate for the office of President of the United States; (2) that
on December 2, 1978 [sic] Plaintiff was unlawfully arrested while campaigning in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary,
and unlawfully jailed without bail until March 15, 1976. As a consequence, the 1976 presidential election
was fraudulent; (3) that had there been a free legal 1976 Presidential election, Plaintiff would have become the President
of the United States; (4) that Jimmy Carter illegally holds the Office of the President of the United States;
and (5) that Plaintiff should be released from jail so that a new and legal Presidential election can be performed.
Case dismissed as frivolous.
I am the Beast Six Six Six, etc., v. Michigan State Police, et al.
Unreported, File No. 5-89-92, U.S. Dist. Ct. W. Dist. Mich.; U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8792 (1990)
Beast of Burden.
The Plaintiff filed his complaint, in pro per, alleging over sixty (60) civil rights violations that he endured in a series
of incidents arising out of a peaceful demonstration and seeks damages in the amount
of $1,998,000,000. Plaintiff alleges that he began a peaceful demonstration on the steps of the State of
Michigan's capitol; and that he was approached several times by the Michigan Capitol Post Police who inquired about
Plaintiff's purpose for being on the capitol steps and his identity. Plaintiff explained that he had
renounced his given name of Edmond Frank MacGillivray Jr. in exchange for "I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS IN EDMOND FRANK
MacGILLIVRAY, JR. NOW. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS IEFMJN. I AM THE
BEAST SIX SIX SIX OF THE LORD OF HOSTS. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX OTLOHIEFMJN. I AM THE
BEAST SSSOTLOHIEFMJN. I AM THE BEAST SIX SIX SIX. BEAST SIX SIX SIX LORD."
Plaintiff was taken into custody that evening for trespassing by capitol police and turned over to the Lansing Police Department. From there Plaintiff was brought before a District
Court judge. The judge told plaintiff that he was charged with trespassing, and asked for his plea of innocent
or guilty. A discussion about Plaintiff's name and mental status ensued and Plaintiff was eventually
taken from the courtroom at the judge's direction. He was placed in an observation cell
where he began to chant and pounded his head on the door and walls. Plaintiff attempted suicide by slitting his wrists and was
transported to a medical facility where he was diagnosed as having a brief reactive psychosis. The Plaintiff recovered. This
lawsuit followed from his cell in the Ingham County Jail in Michigan.
Defendants' motion to dismiss the action was granted by the court.
In re Skupniewitz
73 F.3d 702 (7th Cir. 1996)
So Sue Me. "This case presents the perhaps unprecedented situation of a court, as litigant, petitioning itself, as court, for relief."
Skydiving Center v. St. Mary's County Airport Commission
823 F.Supp. 1273, 1279 fn.2 (D. Md. 1993)
Aerospace? "Plaintiffs also contend that parachute jumping falls within the right to travel protected by the Fourteenth Amendment."
Carter v. United States
530 U.S. 255, 185 F.3d 863 (2000)
Playboy Mystery Writer Unveiled? In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Ginsberg wrote,
"The Court's woodenly literal construction gives rise to practical abnomalies and effectively shrinks the jury's choices while enlarging the prosecutor's options."
Ruth v. Congress of the United States
71 F.R.D. 676 (D. N.J. 1976)
Right to a Speedy Trial?
Plaintiff, while a guest in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, filed suit, in pro per, against the U.S. Congress. Among his allegations were
the constitutionality of a number of statutes dealing with the salaries, retirement pay, survivors' benefits, etc., of Judges, U.S. Attorneys, Clerks, Marshals, and others; and
that he was unjustly tried and convicted in both Federal and State courts because the charges against him were processed and tried by the court
and staff in an extremely rapid manner, failing to consider all issues, due to the fact that the court "was overworked
and under paid."
Case dismissed as frivolous.
Miller v. Silverstein
122 F.3d 1056 [table] (2nd Cir. 1997)
Unpublished Opinion - See Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinion
Yeah, But they Didn't Inhale. The Plaintiff, a Vietnam veteran, filed a complaint, in pro per, seeking $49 million in damages against Larry Silverstein, the
alleged owner of "Runway 69," a Queens dance club, WNBC-TV Channel 4 television station, the City of New
York, Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, H. Ross Perot, John W. Vessey and Gen. Colin Powell.
"The gravamen of Miller's complaint is that the named defendants committed or aided others in
committing illegal acts, including assassinations, over a twenty-five year period, beginning amidst the Vietnam War, in
furtherance of a conspiracy to distribute Laotian heroin. He asserted that the defendants are still engaged in heroin trafficking
today and that 'Goldfingers International,' a business that supplies nude dancers to nude dance clubs, is laundering the
proceeds of the conspiracy through 'Runway 69.' Miller alleged that the proceeds are used for such purposes as covering up
the 'Watergate scandal' and buying the 'cooperation' of the NYC Police Department."
Case dismissed as frivolous.
United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff
54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D. Penn. 1971)
A Real Devil of a Litigant.
Plaintiff filed suit against Satan and his staff for violation of his civil rights. Among the allegations were:
(1) that Satan had on numerous occasions caused him misery and unwarranted threats, all against his will; (2)
that Satan had placed deliberate obstacles in his path that caused Plaintiff's downfall; and (3) that by
reason of the foregoing acts, Satan had deprived him of his constitutional rights.
The court noted that, "Even if plaintiff's complaint reveals a prima
facie recital of the infringement of the civil rights of a citizen of the United States, the Court has serious
doubts that the complaint reveals a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by the court."
The court went on about its concerns and further noted, "We question
whether plaintiff may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district .... the plaintiff
has failed to include with his complaint the required form of instructions for the United States Marshal for
directions as to service of process."
Case dismissed as frivolous.
Sanders v. Rosen
159 Misc. 2d 563, 605 N.Y.S. 2d 805 (1993)
White Knight, Black Knight. "A lawyer, like any other person, may in his private life be a cad or a king, an inconstant lover or a rock of stability,
gracious or a grouch, but in his professional life he may not overstep the bounds and abuse his position of trust as counsel,
confidante, champion and fiduciary."
Fisher v. Lowe
122 Mich.App. 418, 33 N.W.2d 67 (1983)
A wayward Chevy struck a tree
Whose owner sued defendants three.
He sued car's owner, driver two,
And insurer for what was due
For his oak tree that now may bear
A lasting need for tender care.
The Oakland County Circuit Court,
John N. O'Brien, J., set forth
The judgment that defendants sought
And quickly an appeal was brought.
Court of Appeals, J.H. Gillis, J.,
Gave thought and then had this to say:
1) There is no liability
Since No-Fault grants immunity;
2) No jurisdiction can be found
Where process service is unsound;
And thus the judgment, as it's termed,
Is due to be, and is, Affirmed.
Before BRONSON, P.J., and V.J. BRENNAN and J.H. GILLIS, JJ.
J.H. GILLIS, Judge.
We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree.
A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree's behest;
A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy's crumpled crest;
A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;
A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.
Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court's decree.
Stambovsky v. Ackley
169 A.D.2d 254, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1991)
Who ya gonna call?
Plaintiff, to his horror, discovered that the house he had recently purchase was
widely reputed to be possessed by poltergeists, and promptly commenced an action
seeking rescission of the sale.
"From the perspective of a person in the position of plaintiff herein, a very practical problem arises
with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: 'Who you gonna call?' as the title song
to the movie 'Ghostbusters' asks. Applying the strict rule of caveat emptor to a contract involving a
house possessed by poltergeists conjures up visions of a psychic or medium routinely accompanying
the structural engineer and Terminix man on an inspection of every home subject to a contract of sale.
It portends that the prudent attorney will establish an escrow account lest the subject of the transaction
come back to haunt him and his client -- or pray that his malpractice insurance coverage extends to
supernatural disasters. In the interest of avoiding such untenable consequences, the notion that a
haunting is a condition which can and should be ascertained upon reasonable inspection of the
premises is a hobgoblin which should be exorcised from the body of legal precedent and laid quietly
Salinero v. Pon
124 Cal.App.3d 120, 177 Cal.Rptr. 204 (1981)
Who Left this Sand Bag Here? "The owner of a six-story apartment building hired
an independent contractor, the plaintiff's employer, to wash the windows of the building. No safety devices from which windows washers could be
suspended had been installed on the building. Consequently, the owner and the contractor agreed that the windows would be washed by means of a
ladder extended over the edge of the roof from which the workers would be suspended in a boatswain's chair secured to the roof by a weighted sand
bag. While the plaintiff was suspended in the chair some 35-40 feet above the ground, a fellow worker mistakenly removed the sand bag anchoring
the plaintiff's chair, causing him to fall and suffer injury."
Greenup v. Rodman
42 Cal.3d 822, 825 (1986)
It's all BS. After a majority shareholder used involuntary dissolution procedures to transfer certain corporate assets to another corporation
in which he was the sole shareholder, the minority shareholder filed suit. During the course of the lawsuit, Plaintiff commenced discovery.
Defendant actively resisted both document production and deposition. After repeated failures to appear and numerous postponements, he appeared
at a deposition on February 12, 1981, rescheduled at his request, only to refuse to answer questions because it was Lincoln's birthday -- assertedly a "legal holiday."
At a June 1981 deposition, on a court order to appear with records at the office of plaintiff's counsel,
"Rodman [the defendant] produced an assortment of papers in a box filled with straw and and horse excrement, which he laughingly dumped on the table.
After [Plaintiff's] counsel and the court reporter had inspected the documents for an hour, Rodman announced they must be sure to wash their hands
thoroughly because the straw had been treated with a toxic chemical readily absorbed through the skin."
Consequently, on Plaintiff's Motion, the court struck the Defendant's Answer from the record and a default was entered against him.
Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc.
Dade County, Florida (11th Jud. Cir. 1996)
He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins!
In a 1996, Pepsi launched a marketing campaign aptly named "Pepsi Stuff." The campaign included Pepsi products offering
a certain number of random points, as revealed under the twist off cap. By collecting points (or buying them from Pepsi at $0.10 each) comsumers could then redeem them in exchange for Pepsi promotional
"stuff," i.e. t-shirts, hats, etc. Pepsi then ran several television commercials promoting the campaign.
At the end of one such commercial a student was portrayed showing up to school in his new Harrier jet and the words "7,000,000
points" flashing across the TV screen.
Mr. Leonard, age 24, collected 15 Pepsi Points and together with a check in the amount of
$699,998.50 (for 6,999,985 additional points) plus $10.00 for shipping and handling, forwarded his Pepsi Stuff
order form with a request to redeem the Harrier jet, as shown in the television commercial.
Surprise! Pepsi refused to honor the request saying it was a joke and Mr. Leonard filed suit.
U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood agreed with Pepsi saying, "no objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial
actually offered consumers a Harrier jet."
Schmuck vs. United States
489 U.S. 705
Plough vs. Fields
422 F.2d 824 (9th Cir. 1970)
United States vs. Estate of Grace
395 U.S. 316 (1969)
Silver vs. Gold
211 Cal.App. 3d 17, 259 Cal.Rptr. 185 (1989)
Klump vs. Duffus
71 F.3d 1368 (7th Cir. 1995)
State of Indiana vs. Virtue
658 N.E. 2d 605 (1995)
Bivens vs. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics
403 U.S. 388 (1971)
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Funny Job Evaluations
Totally Useless Legal Facts
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Funny, Strange and Bizarre Legal News [ AnnoyingStuff.com ]