Legally Weird: Strange Lawsuits Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Lawsuits Category

Whether the world is actually getting weirder or we're just more aware of the odd things that people do these days, one thing is for sure: People do a lot of strange stuff.

Often, these off-the-wall events have legal consequences. In 2014 there was certainly no shortage of legally weird occurrences. And since the name of this blog is Legally Weird, we went ahead and wrote about them.

So without further ado, here are our 10 most popular Legally Weird blog posts of 2014. Prepare to get weird:

The rise of the apes may be nigh, as a New York appellate court unanimously denied that chimpanzees were legal persons.

On Thursday, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division issued a decision declaring that chimps -- including a 26-year-old chimp named "Tommy" -- were not entitled to the same legal protections as human inmates because they aren't legally considered "persons." The New York Daily News reports that Tommy is owned by an upstate New York couple, and this case was an attempt to free him from their care.

What exactly does this chimp decision mean for us humans?

A California woman's claim that she was severely burned by spilled McDonald's coffee was revealed to be a scam when investigators discovered that photographs of the woman's alleged injuries had been downloaded off the internet.

38-year-old Selena Edwards of Victorville, California had claimed that an unsecured lid on a cup of coffee she ordered in a McDonald's drive-through had caused serious burns to her hand, reports the Los Angeles Times. The woman submitted photos and medical documents back up her injury claims.

After an investigation, however, state insurance officials determined that both Edwards' documentation and her injury were bogus.

A jury has awarded more than $16 million in damages in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of California users of an STD-positive dating site accused of leaking confidential information.

The jury awarded users of the site, which catered to those living with sexually transmitted infections, $1.5 million dollars in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages, reports the New York Daily News. The lawsuit was filed after users of the site discovered that their profiles were being displayed on other websites owned by the's parents company

Where else were these users finding their supposedly private information?

Pregnant mothers can't use Facebook to notify their baby daddies before putting their child up for adoption, Oklahoma's highest civil court ruled earlier this month.

For one adoptive couple, that meant that their child's biological father still had a right to contest the adoption of his previously unknown son. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that the biological mother couldn't terminate the biological father's parental rights without giving him notice she was pregnant -- and a Facebook message doesn't count.

Why can't new moms break the news using Facebook?

A Washington man insists he only wants to pray for strippers, not prey on them.

Still, a legal battle is unfolding over David Van Vleet's public records request for the names and addresses of as many as 125 exotic dancers. In Washington state, showgirls are required to get a $75-a-year license, which lists the applicant's name, date of birth, address, a full-color photo, and other identifying information, reports The Huffington Post. And Van Vleet says that he needs those full names and addresses in order to pray for them by name.

As public records, with no provision in the law to protect the strippers' privacy, the applications would seem to be open to any inquisitive individual with a taste for salvation. But the dancers, and a strip club manager, have taken action to block the request.

Dwight Pink Jr., a convicted murderer serving a 56-year sentence in Connecticut, is a man with taste. While others have sought to look at pornography in prison, and sued over their Playboys, he wants something more classy: "The Atlas of Foreshortening," a book that uses nude models to show how to draw human bodies.

It's not porn -- it's an instructional book on art. And yet, it was ensnared in the prison's porn ban (in place since 2012) and confiscated.

Pink is now suing for the right to his book, $25,000 in damages, and attorneys' fees, reports The Associated Press.

A Delaware man who underwent a colonoscopy procedure claims that he woke up from the anesthesia to find himself wearing a pair of pink women's underwear.

The man, 32-year-old Andrew Walls, was an employee of the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover at the time he underwent the colonoscopy exam in 2012, reports The News Journal. According to the lawsuit, when Walls "recovered from the effects of the anesthesia administered by defendants, he awoke to realize that while he was unconscious pink women's underwear had been placed on his body."

While the apparent prank may have been in unquestionably poor taste, is it grounds for a winnable lawsuit?

A California atheist who sued after being jailed for complaining about being forced to participate in a faith-based drug rehab program has settled his case for nearly $2 million.

Barry A. Hazle Jr. was convicted of possession of narcotics and served a year in a California prison, reports The Sacramento Bee. He was released on parole but his parole was revoked after he complained to parole officials about having to participate in a recovery program that required him to acknowledge a 'higher power.'

After serving an additional three months in prison, Hazle sued the California Department of Corrections as well as the substance abuse firm contracted by the government to provide drug treatment for parolees.

A Missouri couple got more than they bargained for, twice, when they purchased an upscale home next to a golf course in 2007.

First, the couple discovered that their new home was filled with up to 6,000 venomous brown recluse spiders, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Adding insult to injury, the couple prevailed in a lawsuit against the home's previous owners, but was never able to collect the judgment nor were they successful in filing a claim with their insurance carrier.

How did this couple end up tangled in such an unfortunate legal web?