Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Lawsuits Category

Woman Sues Hospital for Emotional Distress After 'Pulling the Plug' on a Stranger

Shirell Powell has filed a lawsuit against St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx for removing life support from Frederick Williams. Any first year law student would immediately start thinking medical malpractice or wrongful death. But no, this is a case regarding negligent infliction of emotion distress. And it is distressful on so many levels, but read on to find out which level you think pushes most on your stress points.

They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. But what about when you give a man free Burger King for the rest of his life? Then you teach him how to do some math.

An Oregon man claims his lifetime of free burgers was cut off after only a few weeks, and the chain is going to need to fork over $9,026.16.

We live in a weird, weird world. Even our legal system, designed to makes things a little more predictable and a little less weird, is not immune from the strange. Many are tempted to call 2018 our weirdest year, but that may be the result of recency bias. There's no doubt that things did get a little odd, legally speaking, over the past 12 months, so here are the five stories from our legal curiosities blog:

No one wants to lose a furry friend. Especially not 231 furry friends all at one time. And not all based on a "bogus warrant."

But that's what Faye and Dave Spencer are alleging happened to them, and the 200-plus cats in their care. They are suing the Houston SPCA and several individuals -- including a deputy sheriff, assistant county attorney, and a justice of the peace -- claiming a conspiracy to deprive them of the cats and their constitutional rights.

Perhaps it's the century or more that their culture was systematically dismantled and almost destroyed completely that makes Hawaiians especially protective of certain words, phrases, and concepts, along with the very descriptor, "Hawaiian."

They weren't too happy when a Chicago eatery called itself Aloha Poke, and tried to trademark the phrase, to say nothing of the mainland's general bastardization of the concept of aloha or the poke dish. And some mainland customers were none too pleased when they found out the "Hawaiian" beer they were drinking wasn't so Hawaiian.

And now some locals and mainlanders are teaming up to take on potato chips. Or at least one chip company, Pinnacle Foods, whose "Hawaiian" potato chips are [GASP] made outside of Hawaii and without Hawaiian ingredients.

Playboy Sued by Blind Man Wanting to Read the Articles

I read Playboy for the articles.

We've all heard that one before, but this time, it may be legit! Donald Nixon, who is legally blind, filed a lawsuit against Playboy for violating the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). He claims that the Playboy website is not compatible with his screen reading software, which allows users to read the text with a speech synthesizer or Braille display. He also claims he can't enjoy the centerfolds because the website lacks "a text equivalent for every non-text element." This also means that he can't purchase online Playboy branded "hoodies (and) jogger pants".

At age 13, arguably the greatest soccer player in the world signed a playing contract on a paper napkin in a Spanish tennis club. Lionel Messi agreed to play for Barcelona "as long as the conditions agreed are met," and his allegedly forged signature joined a few other jots at the bottom of what may now be the most famous napkin in history.

Of course, more specific contract terms were later codified in a proper playing contract, but the question remains: would the napkin be legally binding? That's what one Alaska court is tasked with determining, after a newspaper editor sued a publisher over hundreds of thousands of unpaid dollars.

Boy Scouts Sued by Girl Scouts for Trademark Confusion

Gender confusion is one thing. But Scout confusion? Evidently that's a thing too. As the old saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

But why are the Boy Scouts being sued by the Girl Scouts? Here's a look:

Most of us are familiar with the story of Koko, a female gorilla known for adopting a pet kitten and learning quite a few sign language hand signs. Koko lived most of her life at a California preserve run by the Gorilla Foundation, along with male gorillas Michael, who died in 2000, and Ndume, who had been moved from the Cincinnati Zoo in 1991 to be Koko's companion.

Koko died in June of this year, and, as part of his loan agreement, Ndume was expected to return to Cincinnati "as soon as possible." But the Gorilla Foundation is allegedly blocking that move, and now the Cincinnati Zoo is suing for his return home.

Senator Sued for Battery After Grabbing Student's Phone

It seems U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle while on the Georgia Tech campus supporting his friend and fellow Republican, gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. Nathan Knauf, a Georgia Tech student, was attempting to ask the senator how he could endorse Kemp, who some claim is attempting to disenfranchise black voters. Knauf was attempting to get the answer recorded on his cell phone. Perdue then snatched the cell phone out of Kemp's hand, touching him in the process.

Knauf is now suing Perdue for civil battery, and seeking a jury trial, damages, attorneys' fees, and costs. But what they are really looking for is an apology, and an answer to Knauf's question.