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6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

Donald Trump’s birth certificate, a failed doggie facelift and four more strange lawsuits in the news

Security Snafu

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), never the most popular of federal agencies, is now facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for an incident involving a jar of gourmet peanut butter. Frank Hannibal says that he was trying to take a jar of Crazy Richard’s peanut butter through airport security when a TSA worker objected to the layer of oil on top of the peanut butter and pulled him out of line.

At that point, according to court papers, Hannibal sarcastically told his wife and daughters, “They’re looking to confiscate my explosives.” The TSA didn’t take well to his joke, however. Officers reportedly arrested Hannibal and kept him in jail for 25 hours. The peanut butter junkie is now seeking $5 million from a TSA employee and the Port Authority officer who arrested him.

Walrus Whisperer

Stealing a walrus doesn’t seem like an easy task, but that’s what one marine animal trainer planned to do following his departure from Marineland Canada, according to a $1.5 million lawsuit filed by the popular Niagara Falls theme park. According to the lawsuit, Philip Demers, who has been dubbed the “Kanye West of walrus training” because of his outspoken demeanor, left the park when his idea for a reality television show called “The Walrus Whisperer” was rejected in August 2011.

Following his departure, Marineland says, Demers trespassed onto park property, intimidated its employees and plotted to steal Smooshi, a walrus with which he had worked closely. Demers has denied Marineland’s allegations, and maintains that his departure was motivated by concern for the welfare of the park’s animals.

Failed Facelift

Several months ago, a Chinese man won $120,000 from his ex-wife, after she allegedly tricked him into marriage by changing her appearance with extensive plastic surgery. Now another Chinese man is suing over a plastic surgery procedure…that was performed on his dog.

The dog owner, whose surname is Yu, says that he decided to bring his Tibetan mastiff in for a facelift to make it more attractive to other dog owners, who would presumably pay more money to breed their female dogs with the pooch. Unfortunately, the dog died during surgery, reportedly due to a problem with anesthesia. Yu says he bought the Tibetan mastiff, which is among the most expensive breeds in the world, from a breeder for more than $140,000 last March, and he is seeking that amount from his veterinarian.

Poor Participation

A C+ grade may seem average to some, but one Lehigh University graduate student was so upset by the mark that she filed a lawsuit against her alma mater. Megan Thode says that her grade in a counseling fieldwork course dropped from a B+ to a C+ after her teacher gave her a zero for class participation. Thode’s lawyers argued that it was unprecedented for a student who attended every class to receive such a low score, and claimed that the grade prevented the aspiring counselor from pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and human services.

Thode sued the university for $1.3 million, the amount she purportedly would have earned over the course of her career as a state-certified counselor. But a Pennsylvania judge tossed the lawsuit last week, ruling that the participation grade was an academic, not a legal, matter.

 

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Orangutan Offspring?

Donald Trump’s choice of hairstyle is a mystery, but comedian Bill Maher claims to have found a possible genetic explanation for the mogul’s famed comb-over. Unfortunately, that explanation could cost the comic millions. Last month, Maher said during an appearance on “The Tonight Show” that he would pay $5 million to Trump’s charity of choice if the billionaire produced a birth certificate proving that he is not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”

Trump’s attorney promptly released said birth certificate, but Maher failed to come up with the cash. Trump subsequently filed a lawsuit against the comedian, explaining on Twitter that he “had an obligation to sue for charity.”

 

Photo by Joella Marano

Crowded Class

Alec Baldwin isn’t known for having an easygoing demeanor, and apparently his recent marriage to yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas hasn’t calmed him down any. In fact, Thomas’ yoga studio may be just one more thing causing the actor stress, thanks to a lawsuit filed by one of his wife’s former students.

Spencer Wolff says that Thomas’ Jan. 15 yoga class at Manhattan’s Yoga Vida studio was so overcrowded that he had to take a spot close to a window. Later, while attempting to come down from a handstand, Wolff alleges that he lost his balance and put his leg through a window. The Yale doctoral student purportedly suffered serious injuries from the mishap, and cannot move his ankle. He is now seeking unspecified damages from Thomas, arguing that she should not have instructed him to take a place so close to the window.

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