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5 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

A nose job gone terribly awry, a case of mistaken identity and three more strange lawsuits in the news

No Nose

A New York man hoping to reduce the size of his nose got more than he bargained for when he went in for plastic surgery. Vishal Thakkar sought out Tulsa, Okla. surgeon Angelo Cuzalina, who serves as president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, for his first nose job in 2006. When the procedure allegedly left Thakkar with breathing problems, he returned for more than a dozen corrective surgeries over the next several years.

In the last of these procedures, Cuzalina cut off Thakkar’s nose entirely—purportedly because it was infected—prompting the patient to file a lawsuit. In it, Thakkar also claims that Cuzalina took cartilage from his ears in an effort to rebuild his nose, even though Thakkar had specifically instructed him not to do so, and that he prescribed his patient enough painkillers to “easily kill a couple human beings.”

Mistaken Identity

A woman allegedly got a less-than-hospitable welcome at a Miami hotel when a group of prostitutes mistook her for a competitor. Anna Burgese says she and her husband Joseph were walking through the lobby of their hotel, the W South Beach, earlier this year when she was suddenly subjected to “a completely unprovoked, sudden and brutal attack” by a group of unidentified prostitutes.

The irate escorts—apparently afraid that Burgese would steal their customers—purportedly threw the New Jersey resident headfirst into a stone wall, tackled her and then escaped in a taxi with the help of hotel staff.  The hotel is at fault, the Burgeses argue in a lawsuit, because it “fosters a prostitute-friendly environment … as evidenced by … reviews left on various travel websites.”

Reduced Riches

Most people would be thrilled to appear on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires. But Prince Alwaleed bin Talel, a Saudi Arabian businessman, was evidently more offended than honored when the magazine ranked him as the planet’s 26th richest billionaire in its annual “Rich List.” The publication pegged Alwaleed’s fortune at $20 billion, but the prince argues that his real fortune is actually worth closer to $30 billion.

Forbes also attracted the prince’s ire by calculating his wealth based on the underlying valuation of his investment company, Kingdom Holdig Co., rather than by the price of its shares on the Saudi stock exchange, which Forbes has said “rises and falls based on factors that, coincidentally, seem more tied to the Forbes billionaires list than fundamentals.” Alwaleed is suing the publication for libel in the U.K., contending that its valuation system is “irrational and deeply flawed.”

Botched Burial

A Michigan woman is suing a cemetery for a burial mistake that allegedly denied her parents the chance to rest in peace together. Following Alfred Phillips’ death in 1989, his wife Marion visited his plot—marked with a headstone reading “Together Forever”—until she passed away 12 years later and was buried in the same spot. For another 10 years, the couple’s family continued to visit the gravesite, until they discovered in 2011 that Alfred had not been laid to rest under the headstone, but in another family plot in the Mount Ever-Rest Memorial Park.

Myra Fish, the couple’s daughter, is now suing the cemetery for $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages, arguing that the mix-up amounted to gross negligence and misrepresentation, since the cemetery had promised to bury the couple together. According to the lawsuit, when the cemetery learned of its mistake, it told Fish that she would have to pay to rebury her parents in a single plot.

Dry Driver

When the police stopped Arizona resident Jessie Thornton for drunk driving late last year, they impounded his car, suspended his license and ordered him to take a class for drunken driving. The problem, Thornton says, is that he was completely sober at the time. Officers pulled Thornton over when he crossed a white lane marker and accused him of driving drunk because of his supposedly bloodshot eyes.

Thornton says that the officers subjected him to a breathalyzer test, even after he told officers them that he had irritated his eyes while swimming at a nearby health club. They then charged him with driving under the influence, even though the breathalyzer test showed that his blood-alcohol level was 0.000 and a subsequent toxicology test came back negative for alcohol. Thornton is suing the Surprise Police Department for $500,000 for emotional distress, claiming that the arrest was motivated by racial profiling.

 

Contributing Author

Alanna Byrne

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