If you look at a soda can label, you’ll likely find plenty of unhealthy ingredients. Hopefully “decomposing mouse” isn’t one of them. But that’s what Ronald Ball says he found when he purchased a can of Mountain Dew from a vending machine. According to Ball, who sued PepsiCo for damages in excess of $50,000, he discovered the dead rodent only after the contaminated soda caused him to vomit.
Apparently Kurt Gies has never heard the expression “no pain, no gain.” The Orlando resident sued Carnival Cruise Lines after he allegedly suffered severe burns in pursuit of a coveted title: hairiest man on the cruise ship. According to Gies, the contest took part on the ship’s deck, which was so hot that it badly burned his bare feet. He sued the cruise line for damages and medical costs, claiming to have “lost the value of his cruise vacation.”
Many people file lawsuits looking for money, but Canadian man Sylvio Langevin had bigger things on his mind with his suit—namely, ownership of the universe. Specifically, Langevin sued for control of the Earth, all other planetary bodies, four of Jupiter’s moons and the space in between, saying that he wanted to collect planets “like others collect hockey cards.”
If this slideshow were an awards ceremony, Justin Bieber would certainly win the title of Best Male Performer. The teen pop star was a frequent target of litigation, much of it strange. First, in March, the Biebs was hit with a lawsuit involving an app named—what else?—“Joustin Beaver.” The game featured a floppy-haired beaver named JB who signs “Otter-graphs” and escapes “Photo-Hogs.” The trouble began when Bieber’s lawyers sent the app’s maker, RC3, a cease-and-desist letter, and the company fired back with a preemptive lawsuit claiming that the game, as parody, was protected under the First Amendment.
Justin Bieber’s female counterpart this year was reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who faced a number of equally bizarre lawsuits in 2012. Some of Kardashian’s legal troubles involved allegations that several of the products she endorses, including the QuickTrim diet system and TRIA hair removal products, are ineffective. Another lawsuit, filed by Kardashian herself, accused retailer Old Navy of damaging her reputation by using a look-alike model in its advertising.
No good deed goes unpunished, even if that deed is compelled at knifepoint. Newlyweds Jared and Lindsay Rowley had their post-nuptial bliss destroyed when fugitive murder suspect Jesse Dimmick crashed a stolen van into their lawn, broke into the couple’s house and held them captive.
It’s only right that a roundup of the year’s strangest lawsuits include a severed finger: In 2012 digits were detached by everything from crossbows to airport luggage carts. But the strangest story came courtesy of Washington D.C. lawyer Robert Dyer, who lost his appendage during a night out at a Georgetown bar.
Fast Food Floozy?
Of all the workplace lawsuits this year, one of the most bizarre came courtesy of Shelley Lynn, a former McDonald’s employee who accused the fast food company of forcing her into prostitution. According to Lynn, her ex-husband (and McDonald’s franchise owner) Keith Handley forced her into sex work after hiring her to work at his restaurant.