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5 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

The following lawsuits exemplify the lighter, and sometimes bizarre, side of the corporate legal world.


Diva Disaster

R&B singer Patti LaBelle allegedly threw half a bottle of water and cursed at a woman and her 18-month-old daughter in a Manhattan apartment building lobby. A lawsuit filed Monday by Kevin and Roseanna Monk claim the “Lady Marmalade” singer reprimanded the mother when the toddler walked away on her own. When Roseanna Monk told LaBelle it was none of her business, the Grammy Award-winning singer threw water and hurled a string of curses at them.

The Monks’ lawyer, Samuel Davis, says LaBelle tried to hit Roseanna, and that the couple feels “someone’s got to teach her even a diva can’t attack and frighten and assault regular people in the building.” The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


TGI Fridays v. Obama Supporter

A man’s support for Barack Obama allegedly cost him his job. Michael Verzillo, a black manager at a Long Island, N.Y. T.G.I. Friday’s, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the restaurant chain claiming his white regional manager, Tanya Edwards, repeatedly asked him who he would be voting for in the 2008 presidential election. “Reluctantly, I told her Obama, and again she told me that I was making a big mistake,” Verzillo told The New York Post.

Verzillo said that after Obama won the race, Edwards began criticizing his performance and fired him by phone after charging him with changing expiration dates on food and leaving early during a snowstorm.


“Real” Housewives

“The Real Housewives” can add another member to its list of stars involved in lawsuits. Dana Wilkey, who joined the Beverly Hills cast in season two, is being sued along with her fiancé, John Flynn, for fraud. The woman who filed the lawsuit, Mary Painter, claims she invested about $53,000 in 2008 with Wilkey, Flynn and another man. She says that although she tried to pull her money out, she has not been able to retrieve it, and is suing for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

However, Flynn told TMZ, “There is no fraud. Dana Wilkey is not a properly named defendant, and we expect to continue to negotiate and gain dismissal of this lawsuit as quick as possible.”


Sponge Situation

An Iowa family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a local hospital claiming doctors left a sponge inside a man after an open heart surgery, causing his death. Aldrick Kneppe died three days after surgery at the hospital. While the defendants, including the doctor and several specialists, claim Kneppe died because of existing health conditions, the family says in the complaint the surgical sponge led to bleeding problems during a subsequent operation to remove the sponge.


Cockroaches on a Plane

A North Carolina couple is suing Air Tran Airways after they allegedly saw cockroaches crawling out of air vents and carry-on compartments during a flight in September. Attorney Harry Marsh and his fiancé Kaitlin Rush claim flight attendants ignored them and allege negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

The couple photographed the cockroaches and said the cockroaches made them sick, caused Rush to become nauseous and forced them to throw away belongings and wash others, fearing the cockroaches entered their luggage. Because of the alleged emotional distress, the couple is seeking more than $100,000 plus the price of their tickets in damages.

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