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4 True Lawsuits Stranger then Fiction

You know how we are constantly telling you to buy liability insurance? It’s because the world is becoming increasingly obsessed with lawsuits. Lawyers are everywhere, and the influx of these professional workers has lead to the manufacturing of additional – and sometimes frivolous – lawsuits. And with suit after suit being thrown around your city, you need those high liability limits to protect you. Because people can sue for just about anything now. Just see these 4 true lawsuits!

Leonard v.s. Pepsico, Inc.

This lawsuit sprang from this seemingly innocent video commercial Pepsi used as part of it’s 1996  Pepsi Stuff Campaign. At its end, the commercial shows a child driving a Harrier Jet (a plane worth $70,000,000), with a humorous claim stating it was purchasable with 7 million Pepsi points, which would require a person to drink 16,800,000 cans of the fizzy softdrink to collect. Harmless fun and an impossible goal right?

John Leonard however, did not see the humour, and decided Pepsi’s commercial constituted a legally binding offer. Taking advantage of Pepsi’s option to buy Pepsi points for 10 cents each, Leonard found 5 investors and on March 28th delivered to Pepsi 15 Pepsi Points, as well as a check for $700,008.50, to pay for the outstanding 6,999,985 points. When Pepsi understandably refused to purchase a plane, John sued.

However, John was not successful in court, as it was found the advertising claim was not a serious offer, as no reasonable person would assume Pepsi was offering a $70,000,000 machine for $700,000. They stated that since the Jet was being used to go to school in the morning, and not as an assault vehicle of war, it was clear that Pepsi was not serious in their advertising.

Pearson v. Chung

This lawsuit is known around the world as “the pants lawsuit”, for good reason.

In 2005 Roy L. Pearson, a judge in the district of Columbia (who I will refer to from now on as “judge fancy pants”), became upset when a pair of his pants were lost by his local dry cleaners. The store had a sign out front that said “satisfaction guaranteed”, and Judge Fancy Pants was anything but. So he did what any normal person would do under the circumstances and sued Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung, the owners of “Customer Cleaners”, for $67,000,000.

No, really.

Claiming inconvenience, mental anguish and attorney’s fees, Judge Fancy Pants represented himself as he tried to bring the horrible Dry Cleaners to justice, despite offers to settle for $3000, far above the price of his pants. Judge Fancy Pants refused to relent, however, going so far as to break down in tears while cross examining himself during his trial, when he tried to describe the distress of his lost pants.

Thankfully, the legal system is not completely insane, and Judge Fancy Pants lost, eventually also losing his job as the result of this ill-advised venture. But not before making everyone realize just how stupid the American justice system can sometimes be.

Robert L. Brock v. Robert L. Brock

You know we are living in an interesting, vibrant legal world when you have people suing themselves. Yes, that actually happened.

Robert L. Brock felt that he had inflicted irreparable harm to himself back when he consumed extreme amounts of alcohol and committed the criminal offenses of breaking and entering and grand larceny, resulting in him receiving a 15 year prison sentence.

His logic, as tenuous as it is, was that he was responsible for the damage done to himself and the resulting jail-term (that part is reasonable, it is completely his fault). However, this is where the sensibility ends. His line of thinking past this point was that he (or past him I suppose), owned himself (present him) restitution for the wrongs he committed against himself. However, since Robert was imprisoned as a ward of the State, he lacked the ability to make money. Therefore the state was depriving present him from the remedy owed to him by past him, and therefore the state should have to pay damages.

And so he submitted his handwritten lawsuit for a sum $5,000,000, and thankfully was promptly laughed out of court. But hey, points for trying right?

Cutrufelli v. Leone

It seems simple. Burglar breaks into home, shoots at 90 year old occupant, occupant ducks into cover, retrieves a weapon and tries to defend himself, wounding the burglar. Of course there is a lawsuit against the shooter.

But not the shooter who was defending himself.

In a series of events that prove reality is sometimes stranger then fiction, Sam Cutrufelli broke into the house of 90 year old Jay Leone one January morning in 2012, and proceeded to rob the elderly man at gunpoint.

Jay managed to convince Sam to let him use the bathroom, where he kept some of his own weapons. When Jay emerged from the room with a gun, a firefight ensued where both men were wounded – it ended as Sam attempted to shoot Jay in the head, but discovered he was out of bullets.

Of course, like with all of these entries, Sam decided that the only reasonable thing to do was to sue the elderly Jay, claiming physical and emotional distress as well as a dissolution of his marriage.

The outcome of this case is still pending, although Sam Cutrufelli recently being found guilty of attempted murder makes me question his chances of success.

Weird and wild lawsuits can come out of the woodwork at any time – and even though no one had to pay a cent in the end, most defendants still had to spend significant sums employing legal advice as the justice system took it course. Don’t let this happen to you, check your liability limits and work with McDougall Insurance so you can be protected with liability insurance. Don’t let Sam Cutrufelli or Judge Fancy Pants ruin your life. Get McDougall’d today.

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