The United States is well known for strange, archaic state laws that were never stripped from the books. But we’re also known for our lack of tolerance — whether direct actions affect us or not. We’re also known for settling disputes by filing frivolous lawsuits for huge sums of money. Allegedly, anyway. Here are some of the strangest lawsuits that resulted in a jury trial. None of them resulted in criminal charges.
Erasmus University in Rotterdam allegedly kicked out a student because of his smelly feet. According to the university’s lawyers, Teunis Tenbrook’s feet smelled so bad that staff couldn’t function at the extraordinarily high level expected of them. The suit took ten years to play out before a judge said that Rotterdam’s staff was not legally allowed to expel due to foot odor.
A D.C. judge brought a pair of pants to the local dry cleaner in 2005, but the dry cleaner accidentally sent them to a different location during the cleaning process. They were retrieved, but the judge refused to accept the clothing. Instead, he decided to sue the dry cleaner to the tune of $67 million by arguing that the owners had not delivered on their “satisfaction guaranteed” promise while potentially violating a consumer protection law. He lost the case and has not been reappointed to his position.
Remember the TV show Dexter? One New York woman sued Showtime after she fell down the stairs after viewing the advertisement of actor Michael C. Hall wrapped in cellophane. Showtime’s representatives claimed that because the fall was not predictable (unlike hot coffee being hot), they were not responsible for what happened. They also contended that they were not morally or civilly obligated to provide protection from the advertisement. A judge ultimately dismissed the case.
Magician David Roller claimed that David Copperfield had pilfered his patented divine abilities — but failed to prove in court that he had a patent or the divine abilities that might require such a patent. The case was dismissed after the suit was amended to claim that Copperfield had conspired to have him killed. Roller is no longer legally allowed to file lawsuits.