7 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

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

 

Angry Analyst

We’ve all heard about the war on women, but is the Federal Bureau of Investigation waging a war on men? FBI analyst Jay Bauer is suing the bureau for gender discrimination, claiming that its fitness test is biased against men.

Bauer passed an initial fitness test when he first joined the FBI in 2009, but failed a second exam when he completed just 29 of the required 30 push-ups. Female trainees only have to do 14 push-ups—the equivalent of 27 to 29 for men, according to Bauer’s suit. He also claims that a female trainee who failed the firearms portion of the test was allowed to retake it, while he was not given a second chance.

 

Sizeable Stock

In a case that the judge has dubbed “a new version of the Beverly Hillbillies,” the family members of a California man claim that an antique stock certificate entitles them to a $130-million share in the Coca-Cola Co.

Tony Marohn, now deceased, bought a Palmer Union Oil Co. stock certificate at a 2008 garage sale. The line assigning the certificate was blank, so Marohn signed his name, only to discover that Palmer’s successor company was none other than the soft drink manufacturer. If the certificate is valid, the family would own 1.8 million shares of Coca-Cola stock, making it one of the largest non-institutional investors in the company.

In response, the beverage giant sued Marohn’s relatives, seeking to prove that their claims are “meritless and unfair to the company’s millions of legitimate shareholders.”

© Luke Ford

Hairy Hullabaloo

Hair-removal company Radiancy Inc. has joined the never-ending list of companies suing Kim Kardashian. The reality star endorses hair removal products for rival company TRIA, claiming that she no longer needs razors or shaving cream. But Radiancy says those claims are exaggerated, as TRIA cannot permanently remove hair and is not safe to use on all body parts.

Fearing that Kim’s glowing TRIA endorsement will damage sales of their own No No Hair Removal System, Radiancy filed suit. Kardashian maintains that all her claims were true, and that "being Armenian and hairy, I thought [TRIA] was the perfect product."

© Alan Light

Raging Rocky

Sylvester Stallone has brought down Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and most of the Hope, Wash. police force, and now he’s setting his sights on the “unscrupulous” contractor who ruined his kitchen remodeling job.

According to the action star, he hired Mohamed Hadid in December 2009 on the recommendation of Beverly Hills housewife Lisa Vanderpump. Hadid proceeded to wreak havoc on Stallone’s kitchen, installing “unsafe electrical wiring,” “cracked and misaligned cabinets and doors,” and “an inoperable and unsafe fire pit.” Stallone has filed a $1.4 million lawsuit, seeking a refund, punitive and exemplary damages, interest and court costs.


Immoral Illusionist

It’s a well-known fact that a magician never reveals his secrets. Apparently Gerard Dogge missed the memo. The Dutch magician posted a YouTube video of an illusion called “The Rose & Her Shadow” and offered to explain the trick for $3,050. But according to Raymond Teller—the silent half of magical duo Penn & Teller—the illusion is a rip-off of his famous “Shadows” trick.

After Dogge refused to remove the video, Teller filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction and damages. Supporting the mute magician’s case is a sketch of the illusion, which he filed with the U.S. Copyright Office in 1983.

Terrific Tipper

When Moorhead, Minn. waitress Stacy Knutson saw that a customer had forgotten a takeout box at her table, she rushed after her to return it. After the woman simply said, “No, I’m good. You keep it,” Knutson opened the box and found a $12,000 tip.

She called police, who confiscated the money. They originally told Knutson that the money would belong to her if no one claimed it in 60 days (later upped to 90 days). After the time had passed, however, the police said that the cash, which allegedly smelled of marijuana, would be held as “drug money.”

Knutson declined a $1,000 reward offer and filed suit against the against the police department, saying that the money must have been a gift from someone familiar with her financial struggles. Shortly afterwards, the city relented and wrote Knutson a $12,000 check.

House of Horrors

There were only supposed to be four people living in the New Jersey rental home. But soon after Michele Callan, her fiancé Josue Chinchilla and her two children moved in, they began to suspect that they had some uninvited—and otherworldly—guests. Doors mysteriously opened and closed, strange voices whispered threatening messages and clothes flew from the closets.  

The couple says the paranormal activity eventually forced them out of the house. They have now filed a lawsuit seeking the return of their $2,250 security deposit, but their landlord says the suit is just a ploy to break their lease.

Alanna Byrne

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