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6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

A generous helping of sprinkles, a suspicious brownie and four more strange lawsuits in the news

Surfeit of Sprinkles

No good deed goes unpunished. One McDonald’s employee learned that the hard way when she purportedly lost her job for putting extra sprinkles on a co-worker’s McFlurry. Sarah Finch says she added the generous helping of sprinkles after a fellow employee—who had purchased the dessert—asked Finch to “make it a nice one.” According to Finch, her supervisors subsequently fired her for “gross misconduct” and stealing food.

She promptly filed an unfair dismissal suit against Lonetree, the company that runs the McDonald’s franchise in question, and the two sides reached a settlement last month. As part of the deal, the ex-employee received almost $5,000 in compensation and a “good reference” from the company.

Intoxicated Inmates

The Coors Light made me do it? Five inmates at an Idaho prison have filed a $1 billion lawsuit against eight major beer and wine companies, claiming that alcohol contributed to their crimes and that the companies are to blame because they failed to warn consumers about the addictive nature of their products.

Lead plaintiff Keith Allen Brown, who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for shooting a man to death, explained his argument in an affidavit. “I have spent a great deal of time in prison because of situations…in which alcohol played a major role,” Brown wrote, according to the Idaho Statesman. “At no time in my life, prior to me becoming an alcoholic, was I ever informed that alcohol was habit forming.” Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., Coors Brewing Co. and Miller Brewing Co. are among those named as defendants in the suit, which seeks $700 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages.

Shoddy Seating

One New York woman could buy a lot of hot dogs if she prevails in her multimillion dollar lawsuit against popular burger chain Shake Shack. Cindy Cirlin is suing the eatery for $2 million, claiming that she suffered injuries after a dog leashed to a chair at its Upper East Side location knocked her over, the New York Post reports.

According to Cirlin, the restaurant—which sells dog biscuits for diners’ four-legged friends—failed to guard against “the anticipated dangers of allowing dogs to be attached by leashes to its flimsy and unanchored chairs.”

Pot Prank

What could be more relaxing than 18 holes of golf? Some Washington and Colorado residents might suggest a pot brownie. But a New Jersey man is suing the Copper Hill Country Club and several of his fellow members who allegedly tricked him into eating a marijuana-laced brownie following a golf event. According to Barry Russo, club members James Kavanagh Jr. and Gregg Chaplin tempted him with the treat by telling him that Kavanagh, who had supposedly baked the dessert, had “special culinary training.”

After eating the brownie, Russo says he felt numbness and tingling in parts of his body, experienced a rise in blood pressure and felt anxious, light-headed and dizzy. He accuses Kavanagh and Chaplin of trying to poison him. He is also suing the country club’s manager, whom he says attempted to “intentionally conceal” the incident instead of immediately calling an ambulance.

Salad Scuffle

Chuck E. Cheese’s: where a kid can be a kid and an adult can (allegedly) be stabbed by an angry waitress over a salad plate. LaNasia Randle and Aron Moten claim that they were eating at one of the restaurant’s Chicago locations when waitress Shardonnae Pruitt took away Moten’s plate, apparently because she believed he had not paid for the salad bar. During the ensuing altercation, Pruitt allegedly threw a napkin dispenser at Moten and stabbed LaNasia Randle three times.

The allegedly injured duo is suing CEC Entertainment, which owns and operates the franchise in question, for more than $50,000 for medical expenses and negligence.

Candy Clashes

Break me off a piece of that (trademarked) KitKat bar. Last week, the candy’s maker, Nestlé S.A., prevailed in a trademark lawsuit against competitor Cadbury, when trademark regulators in the U.K. ruled that Nestlé owns the rights to KitKat’s distinctive shape. The Swiss company had registered the candy’s four-bar shape in 2006, but Cadbury sought to invalidate the registration, arguing that shapes are too general to trademark.

Cadbury initially won its appeal, but, in its most recent decision, the British regulator ruled that KitKat’s shape was exclusively associated with Nestlé throughout the European Union. Last year, Cadbury won its own victory over Nestlé, when a London judge ruled that the U.K.-based company had the right to trademark the purple shade of its wrappers.

Alanna Byrne

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