Pattaya Daily News

07 April 2010 :: 16:04:15 pm 17751

The Court Jester: Litigation, Funny or Mad?

More and more we read of bizarre litigations going to court where opportunist lawyers stand in front of rational declining judges and win the oddest and most unlikely cases, often for large sums of money. I do not intend to argue for or against, just inform you of some of the more outrageous cases and let you come to your own conclusions.
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Mrs. Grazinski, of Oklahoma City purchased a new 32ft Winnebago motor home. On her first run on the freeway, she set the cruise control and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself some refreshments.  Unsurprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her $1,750,000 and a new

Amber Carson of Pennsylvania went to court and a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the bottom by his next door neighbor’s dog even though the dog was on a chain in its owner’s garden. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the dog was provoked at the time of the bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the garden and repeatedly shot the dog with his pellet gun.

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Finally some cases from the past to make us all smile:

In 2005, Mr. M Pavel a Romanian prisoner serving 20 years for murder sued God, filing his claim as breach of contract. He argued that his baptism was an agreement between him and God under which, in exchange for value such as prayer, God would keep him out of trouble.

In 2006, a young man from Jiaxing, near Shanghai, found himself in legal trouble after failing to take advice before putting his soul up for sale on an online auction site. The posting was eventually removed by the auctioneer and the seller was told that the advert would be reinstated only if he could produce written permission to sell his soul from “a higher authority”.

In 1874, Francis Evans Cornish, while acting as a magistrate in Winnipeg, Canada, had to try himself on a charge of being drunk in public. He convicted himself and fined himself five dollars with costs. But then he stated for the record: “Francis Evans Cornish, taking into consideration past good behavior, your fine is remitted”.

A delightful piece of British legal history occurred in the case Arkell v. Pressdram. The plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, the writers had ample evidence to back up their claim. Arkell’s lawyers wrote a letter in which, they said: “Our clients’ attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply”. The response from the writers was: “[We] would therefore be grateful if you could inform us what his attitude to damages would be were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: “f*ck off”.

It is common now when there is an interchange of legal correspondence to quote “We refer you to the reply as given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram”

Sarah Goldman

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