7 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

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

 

© Rafael Amado Deras

Litigious Lohan

Lindsay Lohan has been the defendant in more than one court case over the years, but this time she’s the one doing the suing. The actress filed a lawsuit against the musician Pitbull, whose song “Give Me Everything” includes the lyrics “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan.” According to Lohan’s suit, the lyrics caused “tremendous emotional distress” and damaged her image “as a professional actor of good repute.”

Pitbull countered that, as Lohan is a public figure, his words are protected free speech under the First Amendment. He added that TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, whose name also appears in the song, did not sue over the lyrics.


Bogus Bagels

Is “Brooklynized water” the real secret behind authentic New York bagels? The Florida-based Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. claims to have discovered a water filtration process that replicates Brooklyn water, which is then used to boil the perfect bagel. Businessman Andrew Greenbaum was so convinced that he bought franchise rights for the restaurant in three counties. Now he is suing the company, saying that the water filtration process is a sham, and that the company’s bagels cannot compare to their New York counterparts.

"The water filtration system is not unique and does not render water equivalent to Brooklyn water," said Robert Zarco, Greenbaum’s attorney. "You want Brooklyn water, go to Brooklyn. You want a Brooklyn bagel, go to Brooklyn." To prove this assertion, Zarco will hire experts to compare the composition of the company’s water to real Brooklyn tap water. 

 


Modeling Meltdown

After winning the TV competition “Holland’s Next Top Model,” Dutch model Ananda Marchildon netted a three-year contract with Elite Model Management worth $98,500. But after Marchildon had completed just $13,000 of work, the agency fired her for failing to lose weight off her 36 inch hips. Now a judge has ruled that Elite must pay the model the remaining money on her contract, plus interest and legal fees.

The case included e-mails from an Elite representative, who repeatedly reminded the 5’11” model that "[Elite] agreed that you would come by us every two weeks for an evaluation, how it's going with your diet and exercise and losing weight. We're going to keep measuring you.”  Marchildon, who now makes her living as a cabinetmaker, said that the agency “shouldn’t have let me win, if they can’t be true to their word. It’s as simple as that.”


Facebook Fracas

Most people have learned to live with the scourge of embarrassing family photos, but one Minnesota man fought back against the humiliation. Aaron Olson sued his uncle for harassment for refusing to take down Facebook photos of a young Olson standing in front of a Christmas tree. Olson also requested a restraining order in the case, claiming that his uncle had posted the photos with “obscene” captions, and then responded with “veiled threats” when he was asked to remove the images.

But an unmoved judge tossed the suit, ruling that “comments that are mean and disrespectful, coupled with innocuous family photos, do not affect a person’s safety, security, or privacy.”

Warring Weatherman

A long-time Los Angeles weatherman is suing CBS and its L.A. affiliates, KCAL and KCBS for age and gender discrimination, after being passed over for two open positions in favor of younger women. Kyle Hunter’s suit notes that “unlike the many mere ‘readers’ who are now employed to present television weather reports,” he holds multiple degrees in meteorology and is certified by the American Meteorological Society.

That didn’t help him, though, when he applied to replace retiring meteorologist Johnny Mountain. Instead, the station declined to interview Hunter and hired a younger and allegedly less-qualified female meteorologist, after informing Hunter that he “wouldn’t be the type men would want to look at.” CBS, in a somewhat less-than-serious response, predicted that “[t]he forecast calls for a vigorous defense by CBS and an early dismissal of the complaint.”

 


Gladiator Gaffe

A San Diego man is suing the city after he was arrested for public nudity at the city’s 2011 LGBT Pride Festival. Will Walters attended the event dressed in a "gladiator type kilt over black underwear." His lawsuit claims that he “had invested a significant sum of money in his leather gear and took special care to insure that he was compliant with the rules for the event." But that didn’t convince police officers, who escorted Walters from the event, locked him up overnight and allegedly encouraged other inmates to verbally harass him.

Walters says that the arrest violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as San Diego police regularly allow women to wear revealing outfits in public.

 


Storming Seagal

Talk about a rude awakening: Arizona man Jesus Llovera says that in March 2011, he was woken in his home by a V-150 tank, a SWAT team and a rifle-toting Steven Seagal. Llovera, who breeds roosters on his property, was charged with cockfighting and drug possession as a result of the raid, which was filmed for a reality series entitled “Steven Seagal: Lawman.” Now he is suing Seagal and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for monetary damages, claiming that the “overkill” raid was manufactured for TV ratings.

The sheriff’s office says that the use of force was justified by Llovera’s previous legal troubles, which include a misdemeanor conviction of being present at a cockfight and a claim of kidnapping that was later dismissed.

 

 

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