Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Lawsuits Category

Michigan Stole Blood of 5M Newborns, Parents' Lawsuit Claims

Few feelings rival the intensity with which parents seek to protect their children. From the helpless stages of infancy well into adulthood, parents try to guard against germs, sharp corners, bad influences, inadequate love interests, and poor life choices. In Michigan, one group of parents is trying to protect their children from the overreach of the state. Their lawsuit claims that Michigan took and stored the blood of over 5 million newborns without consent.

Man Sues for Lost Job After 'Pocket Dialing' Boss

Oh, the dreaded butt dial! There's nothing quite like gossiping about your arch nemesis and suddenly realizing it was all recorded on voicemail because you accidentally pocket dialed their best friend. Or something similar to that dramatic scenario.

A butt dial is often innocuous -- your mom gets to listen to 4 minutes of you walking to your car. But every now and then it's disastrous. A Georgia man experienced the latter when he accidentally called his boss while talking about his boss.

Dog Dies in United Flight: Is the Airline Liable?

Traveling on an airplane requires passengers to obey various rules and instructions. So, when a flight attendant instructs you to do something, or cease doing something, you obey. After all, disobeying a flight attendant can result in anything from being kicked off a flight to fines from the Federal Aviation Administration to jail time, depending on the circumstances.

That's why when a flight attendant on United Airlines reportedly insisted that a family put their dog in an overhead bin, the family complied. Unfortunately, the dog ended up dying in the overhead bin.

'Cannabis Church' Raid Prompts Lawsuit

Religion has been around for thousands of years, leading to many well-established religions. But over time, less conventional and less established religions have also sprouted up, such as Pastafarianism. Another less established religion belongs to members of the Hundred Harmonies Association of Faith, a "cannabis church" in La Puente, California.

According to the church's head minister, the cannabis is vital and central to the church's religious beliefs. However, when cannabis is central to your religion, it's likely that you'll have an uphill battle with police accepting your religion. And, this church was not immune -- police raided the church on November 15, 2017. The "cannabis church" has decided to fight back: it recently filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's department, city, and county claiming violations of religious freedom.

College Evicts Former Student Who Won't Leave Dorm Room

We often hear stories of landlords from hell, especially since the landlord is generally in the position of power in the landlord-tenant relationship. But, tenants can also be problematic, and sometimes evicting them can be difficult. Take for example, Lisa Palmer, who has been living in Hunter College's Manhattan dormitory since the spring semester of 2016. The problem? Palmer hasn't been a student for some while, yet refuses to leave her dorm room.

Grumpy Cat Awarded $710K in Iced Coffee Licensing Suit

There's big, there's internet big, and then there's Grumpy Cat Grumppuccino big. The last of these may prove out of reach for America's cat-loving coffee drinkers, unfortunately. A California jury awarded $710,001 to Grumpy Cat Limited on Monday, pushing the owners of internet-sensation Grumpy Cat over the top in their lawsuit would-be cat coffee makers, and former business partners, Paul and Nick Sandford.

Fruity fraud. Ripened rip-off. Peeled pretender. Banana sham?

When a company called Rasta Imposta sues Kmart, accusing the store of selling carbon copies of its copyrighted banana costume, the puns will follow, so we'll get them out of the way here. And while this may sound like an open-and-shut case of an object so ubiquitous as to defy copyright protection, wait until you hear what the Supreme Court said about cheerleading uniforms.

At first glance, a judge saying the iconic Civil Rights anthem 'We Shall Overcome' has the same copyright protection as the iconic birthday anthem 'Happy Birthday' (which is to say, none) doesn't seem that odd. After all, both songs are older than any living person, come from indefinite origins, and are sung so ubiquitously that paying royalties every time a line is uttered seems absurd.

And yet, none of those reasons for denying copyright protections is a legal one, and the path to the public domain for the former song was a bit different than that for the latter.

Some lawsuits you just shouldn't read about until after lunch. The In-N-Out burger trademark infringement case against Smashburger is one such lawsuit, as the juicy details are bound to make burger lovers salivate.

In short, In-N-Out alleges that Smashburger violated their trademark on the phrase "Double Double" which is used to describe one of the few menu selections offered at the burger chain. The allegations rest upon Smashburger's recent menu addition from this past summer, the "Triple Double."

It's not hard to imagine walking into a doughnut shop, wanting all those sweet, glazed calories, noticing some fruity options on the menu, and thinking to yourself, "That sounds like a healthy option for my sweet glazed calories -- I'll go with the blueberry doughnut." These could be the thoughts of many doughnut shop customers; those who go to Krispy Kreme and those who go to Dunkin' Donuts.

It's also not hard to imagine that those customers might be disappointed upon learning the blueberries in their sweet, glazed donuts were not actually blueberries. So disappointed, in fact that they would want to sue the doughnut shop, whether it be a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin' Donuts. And you might even imagine attorneys for one of those disappointed customers copying and pasting large sections of one fake blueberry doughnut lawsuit into another.