9 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

A boiling bench, watermelon projectiles and seven more strange lawsuits in the news

Burning Bench

In the past few years, the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff losses have contributed to their fans’ mental anguish. Now one Texas woman is suing the team for the physical pain she suffered after sitting on a boiling bench outside Cowboys Stadium.

Jennelle Carrillo says that she suffered third degree burns on her buttocks, requiring skin grafts, when she attended the team’s annual Blue & Silver scrimmage game and sat on a black marble bench that was “uncovered and openly exposed to the extremely hot August sun.” Carrillo claims that the team failed to warn fans that the sun might cause the bench to become “extremely hot and unreasonably dangerous.” She is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, physical impairment and disfigurement.

Hockey Hullaballoo

Hockey is a famously physical sport, but one Michigan woman says the fighting didn’t stay on the ice after a 2009 playoff game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Redwings. Rachel Paris claims that Ducks general manager Bob Murray assaulted her in a fit of rage following his team’s late-game loss. According to Paris’s lawsuit, Murray deliberately attacked her with a bar stool, tearing cartilage in her left shoulder and causing her to urinate blood. Paris, who worked as a contract broadcaster at the time of the incident, says she lost her job as a result of her injuries.

Testifying in court, Murray said that he pushed two chairs out of his path on his way to the locker room, but that he was unaware they may have hit Paris.

Ice Injury

A radio personality is suing the Nashville Predators after a stunt called the “human hockey puck” shockingly ended in hospitalization. Adam Davis, better known as “Intern Adam,” says the team invited him to participate in the event, in which a giant slingshot was supposed to launch him across the ice into some inflatable bowling pins. Unfortunately for Davis, the slingshot propelled him into the rink wall, breaking his ankle. The radio host claims the team never warned him about any risks associated with the event; he is seeking $25,000 in medical costs.

Flying Fruit

A Brooklyn woman is suing a local fruit stand, claiming that her summer stroll turned violent when its workers began flinging fruit around. According to Grace Di’turi’s lawsuit,: "The airborne watermelon attack unfolded as she walked along 86th Street and workers for Big Apple Produce who were unloading a delivery began firing the heavy green missiles to each other." Di’turi claims that one of the watermelons struck her in the head, sending her to the hospital. She is seeking unspecified damages.

Dirty Dining

Cafeteria food is the bane of many a schoolchild’s existence. Eating it off the ground is even worse. According to a lawsuit filed by seven New Jersey middle schoolers, their vice principal Theresa Brown forced them to eat off of the cafeteria floor for 10 straight school days, after one of them accidentally spilled a water jug while refilling a cooler. Brown claimed that the unorthodox set-up resulted from a shortage of trays and chairs. But the school board abandoned the excuse last week, and agreed to pay the students a total of $500,000.

Butter Blunder

I can’t believe it’s not fattening! Oh, wait, it actually is. A Nebraska woman is suing ConAgra Foods for false advertising, claiming that the company marketed its Parkay Spray butter substitute as fat-free and calorie-free, even though it was loaded with both. Pamela Trewhitt’s lawsuit alleges that an eight-ounce bottle of the spray contains 832 calories and 93 grams of fat, and that the product’s label uses an artificially small serving size (one to five sprays) to hide its true nutritional facts. Trewhitt, who is seeking class action status for the suit, wants unspecified damages and an injunction that would stop ConAgra’s “fat-free” and “calorie-free” claims.

Casino Claim

Luck was anything but a lady to Randy Perkins when he sat down at the slot machines at the Tunica Roadhouse Casino in August 2010. Perkins claims that, as he tried to gamble, the “heavy metal front of the slot machine” fell on him, causing “possible nerve damage in his left arm and a bulging disc in his lumbar spine.” He is suing the casino for $750,000 in damages. But the casino countered this month, arguing that Perkins’ workman’s compensation claims indicate a pattern of spinal injuries dating back more than a decade. The casino also accused Perkins of perjuring himself in a lawsuit against a Big Lots store, where he claimed he was injured by plastic toolboxes falling off a shelf.

Female Fraternity

Government agency or frat house? That’s the question one Department of Homeland Security employee is asking in an employment discrimination lawsuit against Secretary Janet Napolitano. James Hayes Jr., who oversees New York City investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), filed the suit this month, alleging that Napolitano passed him up for a promotion, and instead promoted the less-qualified Dora Schriro, which whom she “enjoyed a long-standing relationship.”

Hayes also claims that Suzanne Barr, ICE chief of staff, has repeatedly engaged in “sexually offensive behavior” designed to “humiliate and intimidate male employees.” Among Barr’s reported antics: moving the offices of three employees, “including name plates, computers and telephones,” to the men’s bathroom; and making sexually explicit comments to male workers. He is seeking upwards of $335,000 in compensatory damages.

Pregnancy Problem

Your typical back-to-school shopping list doesn’t include pregnancy tests. But one Louisiana charter school landed in hot water with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for a school policy requiring female students to submit to pregnancy tests. Delhi Charter School’s handbook stated that “the school reserves the right to require any female student to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not the suspected student is in fact pregnant.” If the test was positive, the student would have to leave the school and pursue a homeschooling program. Any student who refused the test “[would] be treated as a pregnant student and offered home study opportunities.”

The ACLU threatened the school with a lawsuit, noting that its policy violated Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination, as male students responsible for pregnancies did not suffer any consequences. The school has since changed its policy.

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.