5 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

A quick-fading makeup, a cruel office prank and three more strange suits in the news

Mussed Makeup

An Orthodox Jewish woman is suing L’Oreal USA Inc. for advertising practices she says are anything but kosher. In April, Rorie Weisberg paid $45 for a bottle of Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation, which is billed as offering “24-hour lasting perfection and comfort.” This supposed longevity was especially important to Weisberg, who cannot apply a fresh layer of makeup between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday —the hours of the Jewish Sabbath.

Instead, Weisberg says that she frequently wears the same makeup for 24 hours in a row. But when she tested the Lancome foundation prior to her son’s bar mitzvah—which fell on the Sabbath—the makeup looked “cakey” and “had faded significantly” by the following morning. The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, asks for refunds and interest for every consumer who purchased the product in the U.S.

Bruised Backside

An Intel Corp. employee is suing the company after a workplace prank allegedly wounded more than just his pride. Harvey Palacio says that his co-workers surreptitiously stuck a “Kick Me” sign on his back, and then proceeded to repeatedly follow those instructions. When Palacio suspected that someone had tacked something onto his back, he went to senior staffer Randy Lehman for help. Instead, Lehman kicked Palacio three times in the buttocks.

Palacio says that he “felt demoralized and assaulted and … began to cry during the drive home.” According to his suit, the kicking incident was just the latest in a string of mean-spirited pranks, which he suspects were racially motivated (Palacio is Filipino). Intel fired Lehman and fellow employee Chris Zeltinger following the incident. Both men were also convicted of petty misdemeanor battery and ordered to do 16 hours of community service.

Disturbing Diagnosis

Most of the time, it’s good news when your doctor gives you a clean bill of health. But for Mark Templin, that news came 148 days after an erroneous brain cancer diagnosis. The Montana man quit his job, sold some of his possessions, paid for his funeral expenses and entered hospice care after doctors at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center reportedly told him that his cancer had metastasized and that he had six months to live.

After several months, however, Templin began feeling better, and a subsequent MRI revealed that he had actually been suffering from the aftereffects of several small strokes. Templin sued the hospital, which maintained that it had considered stroke as a possible diagnosis, and had advised Templin to undergo further testing. A district court judge disagreed with the hospital, however, and awarded Templin $59,820 for his distress last week.

Libation Litigation

Indiana residents looking to kick back with a cold one may have more beer-buying options if a recent lawsuit filed by a group of convenience stores and gas station owners is successful. The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association is suing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission over a state law that bans their members from selling cold beer.

While the state’s liquor stores can sell the chilled booze, convenience stores and gas stations can sell only warm beer (although they can sell cold wine). Some state officials say that changing the law could lead to more underage drinking, considering that convenience stores attract more children than liquor stores. The store owners, however, contend that the measure is arbitrary and drives down their beer sales.

Parking Problems

A group that refills expired parking meters for strangers is likely popular in its home base of Keene, N.H. But the appropriately named “Robin Hood and His Merry Men” isn’t making many friends among city officials and parking enforcement officers. The group searches downtown Keene for cars in danger of being ticketed, then refills the meter and leaves a note reading “Your meter expired; however, we saved you from the king’s tariffs, Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward.”

But the city is suing the group for allegedly harassing Keene’s three parking enforcement officers to the point where they’ve considered resigning from their posts. According to the lawsuit, the group’s members follow the officers, taunt them and videotape them. But the “Robin Hooders” say that the city is just angry about the lost ticketing revenue.

Contributing Author

Alanna Byrne

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