6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

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

Mousy Mountain Dew

A man claiming that he found a mouse in a can of Mountain Dew purchased from a vending machine filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo in 2009. As upsetting as that sentence is, PepsiCo’s defense doesn’t exactly set the mind at ease— in the ongoing case, they’re relying on expert evidence that says the plaintiff’s claims are ridiculous because in the 15 months from when the pop was bottled to the day it was opened, the Mountain Dew would have dissolved the mouse.

Wipeout Ripoff

The Japanese television network Tokyo Broadcasting System has settled a lawsuit with ABC and a reality TV production company filed in 2008, which claimed that the show “Wipeout” was copying several Japanese game shows. “Wipeout,” a reality competition program best known for contestants trying (and failing) to leap across a series of giant bouncy balls, allegedly violated the Tokyo Broadcasting System’s copyrights to such shows as “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” and “Ninja Warrior.”

Tooth Hurty

A Canadian woman filed a lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive Co., claiming that she suffered extreme pain and ongoing medical issues after one of the company’s toothbrushes broke in her mouth in 2006. She alleged that when she first complained to the company, they sent her a $20 coupon. However, she recently withdrew the suit, claiming the legal costs were more than she could afford after already having sunk about $21,000 into the case.

Candle Conundrum

On Jan. 3, a federal appeals court dismissed a case brought against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the Holistic Candlers and Consumers Association. The FDA sent letters to candle makers urging them to stop marketing ear candles as treatments for medical conditions. Ear candles are, unfortunately, exactly what they sound like: hollow fabric tubes covered in wax that are inserted into the ear and lit.

Champions of the ear candle say that it creates negative pressure on the ear canal and pulls out wax. Some even believe it can cure ear infections and hearing loss. Critics disagree, saying the best you can hope for from an ear candle is not to get burned by dripping wax. The court dismissed the case, saying that the candle makers did not have the standing to sue the FDA over its letters.

Swamp Person Sues

Troy Landry, star of the History Channel’s “Swamp People,” is suing three companies for allegedly infringing on some of his trademark catchphrases, including “Choot Em,” “Tree Shaka,” “Tree Breaka” and “Mudda Fricka.” “Swamp People” follows Landry and others living in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp as they hunt alligators. Landry accused Halpern Import Co., National Cap and Sportswear, and Ripple Junction Design Co. of using his catchphrases on t-shirts and hats, among other things.

Escalator Issues

On Jan 9., Schindler, the company that maintains the escalators at Giants Stadium, settled with eight people who were injured in an escalator accident at the stadium after a New York Giants – New England Patriots game in December 2007. While the escalator company is in the clear, the New Jersey sports authority is not out of the woods yet, as the plaintiffs are alleging the sports authority knew that overloading the escalators would be a problem but did nothing to stop it.

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