5 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

Undercooked eggs, a celebration of Pee-wee Herman and three more strange lawsuits in the news

Pelvic Pain

When it comes to exercise, no pain equals no gain. But one New York City lawyer is suing his personal trainers after too much pain allegedly left him unable even to sit down normally. Neil Squillante says he told trainers at Focus Integrated Fitness—whose clients include pop superstar Beyoncé—that he “lived a sedentary life with minimal physical activity” when he first started training sessions there. The company’s owners, Gabriel Valencia and Joe Masiello reportedly assured the attorney that they would design workouts geared towards his fitness level.

But after a few sessions, Squillante began to suffer from severe, persistent pain in his pelvis, according to his suit. This pain has continued, to the extent that he can no longer travel long distances, attend lengthy meetings or even sit at his computer. He is suing Focus for negligence and seeking unspecified damages.

Malicious Mower

A Mississippi man is suing the manufacturers of a riding lawnmower that allegedly cut much more than just grass. According to Everardo Garfias, who owns a lawn service company, he was riding the lawnmower when a swarm of yellow jackets began stinging him. Garfias’ day got even worse when he allegedly jumped off the lawnmower to evade the insects—only to have it run him over.

Garfias says that the machine’s blades severely cut his legs and completely severed one kneecap, leaving him unable to walk normally. He is suing Husqvarna Professional Products Inc., which made the mower, and Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A., which manufactured its engine, claiming that a cut-off switch designed to shut down the motor if the rider leaves the seat failed.

Fan’s Festival

Paul Reubens—better known as Pee-wee Herman—is no stranger to legal troubles. But this time Reubens isn’t the one in legal hot water; in fact, he’s the one threatening legal action against a fan who attempted to create a festival in his honor. Will Russell intended the Pee Wee Over Louisville festival as a celebration of the comic, complete with music and a Pee-wee-style danceoff.

But Reubens apparently didn’t share Russell’s enthusiasm, and sent him a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the Sept. 7 event be canceled. Russell complied with Reubens’ request, but expressed his disappointment to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Fans like me … really want an opportunity to step forward to be like, ‘We like Pee-wee Herman. We think he’s great,’” he said. “It’s really disappointing we can’t do that.”

Saw Situation

NewView Oklahoma, a nonprofit group that aims to assist the visually impaired, allegedly did more harm than good for one blind worker. Steve Theis, who is legally blind, is suing the organization after an accident with a power saw left him without one hand.

According to the lawsuit, NewView hired him as a machine operator, and assigned him to build wooden chocks using an electric radial saw. The work assignment went awry, however, when Theis “right hand and arm came into contact with the saw blade and [were] severed,” his suit says. Theis is suing the organization for more than $75,000 in medical costs and lost earnings, claiming that it acted with “reckless disregard” by telling him to use the power tool.

Egg Emergency

A Texas nursing home no longer has egg on its face, after the 5th Circuit ruled that the center did not violate any laws by serving its residents soft-cooked eggs. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) fined the Elgin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after state inspectors discovered that the nursing home had served the eggs to five residents who requested them.

CMS argued that the unpasteurized eggs’ runny yolks could make patients ill, but the nursing home said that the meals were prepared at the proper temperature. An administrative law judge and an appeals board both upheld the $5,000 fine, but the 5th Circuit, after reviewing the CMS Operations Manual, ruled that the section dealing with cooking temperatures for eggs was “inherently ambiguous” and overturned the previous decision.

Alanna Byrne

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