Bizarre-Sounding Lawsuits That Triumphed in Court

Peter Besenyei with N806CR Corvus Racer flying over Lake Balaton at Zamardi city for Red Bull Air Race 2019

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Peter Besenyei with N806CR Corvus Racer flying over Lake Balaton at Zamardi city for Red Bull Air Race 2019
Jozsef Soos/istockphoto

Suit Yourself

There are about 40 million lawsuits filed every year in the United States, ranging from simple civil disputes to new spins on criminal cases. Some cases stand out for their silliness and ridiculousness. From lawsuits about popcorn to parents evicting their kids, there have been lots of bizarre ones over the years. Here are some of the wildest, weirdest lawsuits that won in court.

Related: Most Unbelievable Lawsuits Filed Against Big Companies

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The Landlord Who Sued Over Emojis

A couple texted a prospective landlord that they were interested in renting an apartment. The landlord took the listing down, thinking the couple wanted the apartment, but they ended up ghosting him. The landlord sued in 2017 for the month of rent he lost, citing their use of emojis that made it seem like they were sincere about the place. The couple had to pay $2,200. 

Related: 20 Tenant Horror Stories That Will Make You Never Want to Rent Again

Peter Besenyei with N806CR Corvus Racer flying over Lake Balaton at Zamardi city for Red Bull Air Race 2019
Jozsef Soos/istockphoto
Gift by front door
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The Proof That No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Colorado teens Lindsey Zellitti and Taylor Ostergaard thought it would be fun to bake cookies for neighbors and leave them as a surprise on doorsteps by knocking and running away. Neighbor Wanita Renea Young, was scared by the girls’ shadows, though, and reportedly suffered an anxiety attack and was hospitalized. The teens’ families even offered to pay her medical expenses, yet Young sued in 2004 and won $900 to cover medical expenses. (She was denied a request for $3,000 in punitive damages.) People from across the country donated to the teens to help pay the fine. 

Related: These Are Some of the Worst Neighbors Ever

Gamer playing video games

The Parents Who Evicted Their Adult Son

Mark and Christina Rotondo tried to evict their 30-year-old son, Michael, in 2018. The Rotondos sent him five eviction notices and offered $1,100 for a move, but he did not budge, resulting in a court case. Michael lost when a judge ruled the multiple notices given provided sufficient time to vacate the premises.

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Subway footlong
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Finding Subway’s Footlong … Isn’t

Subway was involved in a class action in 2016 for selling footlong subs that came in around 11 inches, not 12 as advertised. In the end Subway settled the case for about a half-million dollars. The judge called the case "quite weak" and agreed to the surprisingly low settlement number.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Passenger Train & Union Pacific Freight Train, Moorpark Station

The Trespassers Who Sued for Being Able to Trespass

Two 17-year-olds trespassing on Amtrak property received severe burns from electrical wires and sued the property owners over it in 2002. Amtrak and Norfolk Southern claimed the two were old enough to know better, but the jury sided with the teens, awarding them $24.2 million. 

Full Bean Mc Donald's Coffee

The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case

We've all heard about the woman who sued Mcdonald's after she spilled hot coffee on herself. What you may not know is that 79-year-old Stell Liebeck acknowledged that spilling the coffee was no fault of McDonald's — but the nearly boiling coffee was. Before Liebeck sued the company, McDonald's had around 700 reports of others burning themselves as a result of the coffee temperatures.

Young woman in the rain.

The Good-Weather Prediction Gone Bad

A woman from Haifa, Israel, sued meteorologist Danny Rup in 1996 after a false forecast. Rup predicted it would be a sunny day, but it rained instead. The woman claimed she left home unprepared for the rain because of the forecast. She got sick and missed work as a consequence. Rup apologized and the case settled out of court. 

Foil Highlights

The Bad Hair Day

Australian Jessica Bray sued Saint James Hair Studio in Melbourne after her hair was ruined with a bad dye job. Bray claims a colorist at the salon bleached her roots so badly that her hair started to fall out, resulting in an unwanted mullet. In her $30,000 lawsuit in 2018, Bray cited wig expenses and humiliation. Bray was awarded $270 for the hair refund and $114 to see a psychologist.

Becks Beer

The Case of Beck’s Beer

A group of beer drinkers sued Anheuser-Busch for about $5 million in 2013 claiming the Beck’s packaging made it seem like the beer came from Germany, not St. Louis. While the label does say the beer is made in the United States, the writing is tiny. The courts agreed with the plaintiffs and the judge approved a $20 million settlement.

Kona Brewing

Another Case of Beer

Just like the Beck’s lawsuit, in 2017, a group of Kona Brewing beer lovers filed a class action after realizing their beer was made in the contiguous United States — not in Hawaii, as suggested by the Hawaiian-themed bottles. Kona settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay a max of $20 per household for consumers with proof of purchase and half the amount for those without proof.

Fountain  filled with soap by pranksters

The Fountain of Slip

Someone pranked Canal Park in Minnesota by filling its Fountain of Wind with detergent. The fountain filled with bubbles and a few hours later, Kathy Kelly, 57, walked into the 8-foot soap mountain, slipped, and fell. A laceration in her shin became infected and cost $43,000 in medical expenses. Kelly sued the city in 2001 and won $125,000. Today the fountain is surrounded by a railing. 

Trash Day

The Collection

After getting a divorce, David Werking moved back in with his parents in Grand Haven, Michigan. His parents found his pornography collection, worth almost $30,000, and destroyed it — leading to Werking suing his parents after discovering his boxes of movies and magazines were missing. Werking’s parents admitted to throwing his property away and lost the case. 

Aleksandar Jankovic/istockphoto

Man Sues Over Popcorn Lung

Denver man Wayne Watson developed "popcorn lung," a respiratory issue he claimed was caused by his popcorn habit: Watson ate two bags of popcorn every day for a decade. In 2007, Watson sued the popcorn makers and the grocery store for selling a product containing a harmful chemical. He won his $7.2 million lawsuit in 2012.

Beautiful young woman using her phone for texting while watching a movie at the cinema

The Terrible Date

Brandon Vezmar had a “first date from hell” in 2017, when he met a woman on Bumble and took her to the movies. Vezmar said his date spent the entire time on her phone, so he sued to get back the money he spent. The woman ended up paying him the money, amounting to less than $25, so he would leave her alone. This wasn’t so much a triumph in the courtroom as because of one — the suit spurred the payment, and Vezmar dropped the case. 

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