Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly #9-18

Published September 8, 2010

An 18-year-old high school student in shop class attached an electrical cord to one of his nipples with an alligator clamp, while a classmate used another alligator clamp to attach the cord to the student’s other nipple. A third student plugged the cord into an electrical wall socket.

The resulting three-second shock knocked the student to the ground and briefly stopped his heart. The boy survived but allegedly suffered short-term memory loss and brain damage.

Naturally, he’s suing the school and the teacher for failing to warn him it could be dangerous to play with electrical cords.

Source: Sean Alfano, “Teen whose heart stopped after attaching electrified clamp to his nipple sues teacher, school,” New York Daily News, August 31, 2010, via Charlie Sykes, WTMJ News Radio

$38,000,000,000,000,000 Suit

A Las Vegas man involved in a land title dispute has filed a $38 quadrillion complaint against a law firm trying to clear the title to the land.

The law firm’s client, Private Capital Group, acquired ownership of the property after the original owner defaulted on a loan. Private Capital then tried to sell the land but couldn’t because the Las Vegas man had placed a lien on it for $918 billion based on a claim he was owed $64,000 by the former owner for consulting work. The former owner said the man failed to perform any work.

The law firm has sued the Las Vegas man, but only for $10,000, because the suit seeks to clear the title on the land. The value of the land is uncertain, but it is now being appraised. An attorney with the law firm said it could cost more than $100,000 in legal fees in the litigation, just to clear title.

Source: Janice Peterson, “Las Vegas man sues Alpine attorney for $38 quadrillion,” Utah Daily Herald, August 24, 2010

Grill, Interrupted

A Virginia man is suing a barbecue restaurant neighboring his house, claiming its barbecue smoker is causing air pollution by releasing particulate matter. Such emissions violate his civil rights, he alleges.

He also alleges the restaurant will “provide a clubhouse for conservative persons to gather to drink until late hours and thereby form a barrier against the encroachment of persons of color.”

Though he’s white, he alleges further civil rights violations, seeking in his lawsuit to represent “a class of persons who are persons with colored skin, persons whose ancestry stems from the importation of slaves and free emigration to the United States.”

Source: Michael Lee Pope, “Breathing: A Civil Right? Lawsuit challenges air pollution from restaurant as a civil rights violation,” Alexandria Gazette Packet, August 23, 2010

Parody’s Lost

Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer has filed court papers attempting to justify her $100 million lawsuit against E-Trade over a commercial involving a “milkaholic” baby called “Lindsay” in the commercial.

The commercial went like this: “Sorry about last night,” the baby boy says. The baby girlfriend responds: “I just don’t understand why you didn’t call.” He tries for a good excuse: “I was on E-Trade diversifying my portfolio,” he says, “Taking control, like a wolf.”

“And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn’t over?” Up pops Lindsay, “Milk-a-what?”

Lohan sued, claiming the “Lindsay” in the commercial was based on her and her alleged alcoholism. She claims she’s owed $100 million in damages for the pain and suffering the ad caused her. She also demands E-Trade should stop airing the ad and hand over all copies of it to her. She filed suit in New York and was recently required to defend its merits. Among other things, her lawyer argued Lohan “deserved single-name status like Oprah or Madonna.”

Her lawyer wrote, “As they say, ‘What’s in the name?'” The filing continued, “Many celebrities are known by one name only, and E-Trade is using that knowledge to profit. They’re using her name as a parody of her life. Everybody’s talking about it and saying it’s Lindsay Lohan.”

Source: Eriq Gardner, “Lindsay Lohan’s E-Trade lawsuit enters odd phase,” Thomson Reuters, August 25, 2020

Early Decision

Facebook is fast becoming a target-rich environment for lawyers looking for dirt–err, make that evidence in lawyer-speak–on people they’re suing, like the other spouse in a divorce case. But here’s another reason why those involved in litigation should avoid this social network.

A Michigan juror was removed from the jury in a criminal trial in suburban Michigan and may be found in contempt at a later hearing, because she posted it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re guilty.” The problem was the prosecution had not even finished with its side of the case and the defense had not yet begun.

The posting was found by the defense lawyer, whose client was found guilty anyway.

Source: Associated Press, “Detroit-area juror faces contempt hearing after predicting a guilty verdict on Facebook,” August 30, 2010, via

Tough Talk

A female Brooklyn teenager is suing her high school. She injured her finger during softball practice when a line drive hit her hand, but that’s not why she filed suit. It’s because when she complained about the pain in her finger, the softball coach told her to “take it like a man.”

“You don’t force a girl to continue practicing if she’s injured,” her lawyer said. “This is not the New York Yankees here.” Her suit alleges she was injured because of “negligence, carelessness and hazardous behavior by the defendant.” The suit seeks $5 million in damages.

Source: Edmund DeMarche, “Take it like a man,” New York Post, August 2, 2010, via facesoflawsuitabuse, a project of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform

Hours Not to Reason

Most lawyers work very hard, but an Ohio lawyer was busted for falsely claiming to do so. She had been appointed by the court to represent indigent clients and billed the court for working more than 24 hours a day and for working more than 20 hours on five other days.

The Ohio Supreme Court found she had violated lawyer disciplinary rules by charging excessive fees and by engaging in fraud, deceit, and dishonesty, among other violations.

Source: Walter Olson, “”Ohio Lawyer Suspended for Billing More than 24 Hours in a Day,”, August 31, 2010

Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly

Published by The Heartland Institute (312/377-4000), a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1984.
Phone 312/377-4000, fax 312/377-5000
Back issues are available online at
Publisher: Joseph L. Bast
Author: Maureen Martin
Editors: S.T. Karnick, Diane Carol Bast

Information on lawsuit abuse can be found on these Web sites: