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5 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

An injured NBA player, a shy bladder and three more strange lawsuits in the news

Photo by Keith Allison

Aching ACL

Many Chicago Bulls fans are none too happy about star point guard Derrick Rose’s continued absence from the basketball court—playoff heroics from backup guard Nate Robinson notwithstanding. But not everyone’s ire rises to the level of Illinois resident Matthew Thompson’s. Thompson is reportedly suing D-Rose for missing the entire 2012-2013 season with an ACL injury, even though team doctors cleared him to play last month.

Rose’s “negligent behavior,” Thompson says, has caused the fan to suffer from mental breakdowns, emotional distress and obesity.

Bladder Blues

An Iowa woman is suing a hospital that allegedly denied her a job because of excessive shyness. But it isn’t her personality that’s at issue—it’s her bladder. Jennifer Conner claims that she successfully interviewed for a job at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center. The job offer, however, was contingent on Conner passing a drug test.

Conner was reportedly unable to complete the test, she says, because she suffers from parueresis, also called “shy bladder syndrome,” which prevents her from urinating when she is in public restrooms or near other people. She offered to undergo a blood-based drug test at her own expense, but hospital officials refused, according to the lawsuit. After subsequently losing out on the job, Conner sued the hospital for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Barney Brawl

“Barney and Friends” creator Sheryl Leach and her 27-year-old son Patrick aren’t a happy family, according to a lawsuit filed by Patrick Leach’s neighbor. Eric Shanks is suing the mother-son duo after Patrick allegedly shot him in the chest during an argument over a “trespassing issue.” The younger Leach is currently awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

In addition to suing his former neighbor for assault and battery, Shanks has also filed a negligence suit against Sheryl Leach, arguing that she allowed her son to own a gun even though she knew about his violent proclivities.

Toilet Trouble

A Virgin America passenger is suing the airline after crew members allegedly had him detained for not flushing a lavatory toilet. Flight attendants on a 2012 Philadelphia-to-San Francisco flight claim that Salvatore Bevivino refused to place drink orders through his seat’s touch screen, and instead directly pestered crew members to bring him drinks. After he had problems ordering a drink, the man allegedly went to the bathroom, “came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities.” Another passenger reportedly saw that Bevivino had left the toilet unflushed. Federal agents detained Bevivino upon arrival in San Francisco.

The passenger, however, says that although he was frustrated with the drink ordering system, he never used obscenities or left the toilet unflushed. He is suing the airline for charges including false imprisonment, defamation and racial discrimination. The last charge stems from allegations that flight attendants racially profiled him because his “dark” Italian complexion gives him a Middle Eastern appearance.

Soap Scuffle

Soap operas are known for their twists and turns, and the drama isn’t always confined to the screen, as a recent legal battle between ABC and production company Prospect Park Networks demonstrates. Prospect Park licensed the rights to ABC soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” with the intent of relaunching the shows following their cancellation on ABC. When the relaunch was delayed, however, Prospect Park agreed to let ABC introduce seven “One Life to Live” characters to its ongoing “General Hospital” soap.

Prospect Park says it struck the deal so that the actors would be employed, but did so only on the condition that ABC would consult with Prospect on story lines featuring the characters. Instead, the producers’ lawsuit contends, ABC killed off two characters by sending their car over a cliff, and tarnished the remaining characters by “creating absurd story lines, having characters do things they would never do, and destroying critical character relationships popular with soap fans."

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