6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

Mardi Gras gone bad, a "pirate" Trader Joe's, and four more lawsuits in the news

Tasty Plunder


Tasty Plunder

Trader Joe’s may have 390 stores across the U.S., but with zero stores north of the border, would-be Canadian fans have been left in the cold. One Vancouver man, however, vowed to change that. Michael Hallatt opened “Pirate Joe’s” in 2012, selling Trader Joe’s goods he purchased in the U.S. and took with him across the border. Hallatt estimates he purchased at least $350,000 in Trader Joe’s goods to sell in 2012.

The U.S. chain isn’t too happy with Mr. Hallatt, and Trader Joe’s has filed a lawsuit in Washington State Federal Court, according to the CBC. The company’s suit alleges trademark infringement, false endorsement, false advertising and threat to the reputation of the brand. Hallatt’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but as of now, the case is proceeding.

 Audit Audacity

 

Audit Audacity

Think you’ve had a rough time with the IRS? I bet you’ve never had this dilemma: Vincent Burroughs of Fall Creek, Ore., filed a lawsuit claiming an IRS agent forced him to have sex with her or else face an audit. According to the suit, IRS agent Dora Abrahamson contacted Burroughs in 2011 claiming to be auditing him. The agent then sent Burroughs racy pictures and texts before dealing the ultimatum. Burroughs claims he complied in Sep. 2011 after Abrahamson “showed up at his home dressed provocatively,” according to KVAL.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin threw out the case earlier this week. In explaining his reasoning, Coffin said, “The plaintiff concedes that the sex itself occurred after hours, off employment premises, and not in respect to the performance of official duties of the federal employee.” David Moule, the attorney representing Burroughs, said he plans to appeal.

Bad Beads 

 

Bad Beads

Mardi Gras is known as a time to party, a time to drink, and a time to… get injured in a bar fight? That certainly seems to be the case in Galveston, Texas, where Renee Nash has filed suit against Buck Brothers Inc., owners of a bar where Nash claims she was injured in a fight. According to the Southeast Texas Record, Nash was not a part of the original fight but was “was knocked over and injured as the fight spilled over onto an area where [she] was standing.”

In the suit, Buck Brothers is faulted for, among other things, failing to assess a security risk and failing to properly train management , security personnel and other employees. The suit also claims that “despite the defendant’s knowledge of the ongoing argument, the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to protect its guests from a foreseeable altercation.”

For the Love of Nature


For the Love of Nature

If there are two things U.S. attorneys love, it is litigation and their vacation homes. So when the latter is supposedly ruined, it’s no surprise that Gerald Hosier of Aspen, Colo., turned to the former to extract damages. Hosier claims fellow attorney Walter Stuart hired a landscaper to cut down 39 aspen trees on Hosier’s property so Stuart could have a better view of Mount Sopris. The Aspen Daily News claims the suit seeks damages of $1 million, the amount Hosier claims Stuart gained in property value from cutting down the trees.

Hosier owns a 36-acre undeveloped lot next to Stuart’s property in Sopris Mountain Ranch between Basalt and Carbondale, Colo. In the suit, Hosier claims the trees were 90 feet tall and up to 70 years old. Stuart’s attorney claims Stuart tried to adequately compensate Hosier, but “Mr. Hosier has refused to consider a reasonable resolution and instead chose to file a lawsuit seeking up to a million dollars.”

Facebook Fail

 

Facebook Fail

Musical artists are notoriously flaky at showing up for gigs. However, if you’re going to sue one for breach of contract, perhaps the best way to serve them isn’t via Facebook. Australian promoters Mothership Music are learning this the hard way after an Australian District Court judge threw out Mothership’s suit against rapper Flo Rida (real name Tramar Dillard) for improper serving. Billboard says the promoters were suing for damages totaling Australian $417,365 ($377,000) for breach of contract.

According to the judge, Facebook was not an appropriate channel to serve because there is no evidence directly linking the artist to the social networking fan page.  Justice Robert McFarlan ruled, “The evidence did not establish, other than by mere assertion, that the Facebook page was in fact that of Flo Rida and did not prove that a posting on it was likely to come to his attention in a timely fashion.”

Platform Peril 

 

Platform Peril

When you enter a Wal-Mart store, there are items to buy all over the place, be it up, left, right or sideways. Katy, Texas, resident Aida Sanford should probably add “down” to that list. Sanford has sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for improper placement of a platform containing watermelons. Sanford claims the protruding platform caused her to trip, leading to serious injury. The Southeast Texas Record says she seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Sanford and her attorneys blame the injuries on the “condition of the floor plan”. According to the suit, the “structure constituted a dangerous condition that posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff and others.”

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