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6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

A boy's dentist nightmare, an unfortunate shopping trip and four more of the strangest lawsuits in the news

Dentist Nightmare

Dentist Nightmare

Going to the dentist is every 4-year-old boy’s worst nightmare as it is. But one Eugene, Ore., boy has a legitimate reason for his nightmares after his dentist allegedly pulled the wrong teeth during dental surgery two years ago. Now, the boy’s godparents have filed a $1.75 million lawsuit against dentist and dental surgeon Gerald Harper, seeking in addition an unspecified amount to cover past and future medical costs.

According to Oregon newspaper The Register Guard, the boy went to Harper for a second opinion on two extra teeth that were growing between his top front incisors. The dentist operated to remove the extra teeth in August 2011. The suit claims that the dentist accidentally removed two permanent teeth while leaving one of the extra teeth behind. The errors were discovered when the boy developed an infection months later.

All About the Crabfries

All About the Crabfries

For those unfamiliar with Mid-Atlantic cuisine, crabfries are flavored French fries that taste similar to the area’s seafood specialty. Crabfries are synonymous with Philadelphia-based restaurant Chickie’s and Pete’s, which holds intellectual property over the use and manufacture of crab fries. And when someone tries to infringe upon those IP rights, Chickie’s and Pete’s gets angry, asserting “irreparable harm” to the restaurant’s brand by the sale of similar fries in Philadelphia pizza shop Tony’s Place.

A federal judge agreed with Chickie’s and Pete’s, ordering Tony’s Place to stop advertising its crab fries with a picture of a crab next to the word “fries” on its menu. However, the judge did deny Chickie's and Pete's claims of unjust enrichment, which would have allowed the chain to seek restitution against the pizza shop, according to Tony’s Place had been using the crab image instead of the word “crab” on its menu after a 2002 settlement agreement between these same two companies over IP rights.

Paper or Plastic or Lawsuit?

Paper or Plastic or Lawsuit?

One Nebraska man is going to have the question “Paper or plastic?” in his nightmares. William Freis claims his wife, Lynette, purchased two 42-ounce cans of La Choy and a 2-pound bag of rice from an area Wal-Mart. According to his lawsuit, the bagger placed all of the items into one plastic bag. The bag broke when Lynette exited the store, and one of the cans fell on her foot, breaking her toe and causing a deep cut. The cut later infected, leading to her death.

The suit claims Wal-Mart was negligent in teaching its employees how to not overfill a customer’s bag and when to double-bag an order if necessary. The suit also says the defendants provided Lynette with a defective grocery bag. Her estate seeks more than $656,000 in medical expenses, plus an unspecified amount for pain and suffering. Wal-Mart has not commented on the suit, but they have moved to have it relocated to federal court.

Green with Anger

Green with Anger?

Energy efficient homes are all the rage, and according to homeowners Hannah Polmer and William Robert Rudge, having a “green” house was one of the deciding factors when they purchased their Colorado Springs, Colo., home. But when they received their first energy bill, which was much higher than the “average energy costs around $55 per month” they claim they were told, they realized their house wasn’t as energy-efficient as they once thought.

Polmer and Rudge have filed a lawsuit against Hi-Point Home Builders, claiming they were misled in purchasing their home. According to the suit, the homeowners were told the house was LEED-certified, with solar panels creating as much energy as the owners used. According to The Colorado Springs Business Journal, one builder says he was surprised by the suit and that the home is not LEED-certified because, “[W]e just didn’t feel we needed it. It’s registered LEED. If the homeowner wants to get it certified, there’s a fee. It’s registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, but it’s not certified.”

Snooki's Power

Snooki’s Power

With all of the partying and questionable behavior, “fresh-smelling” isn’t the first adjective that typically comes to mind when describing Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. However, after her recent actions, “litigious” may just be high on the list. Snooki has filed suit against Excell Brands, claiming the perfume company has used her name to sell their scents without her permission.

The suit, which seeks $6 million in damages, claims Excell used Snooki’s name and signature exactly as they appear on her own authentic “Snooki” and “Snooki Couture” products. According to the New York Daily News, the suit claims, “Plaintiff was not contacted, nor did she give her consent to the use of her personal name.”

Football for Everybody

Football for Everybody

With so many parents turning their children away from the game of football thanks to some recent concussion issues, it may be hard to imagine somebody fighting hard to have the chance to play. But when a 7th grade Indiana girl was told she couldn’t join her school’s football team because of her gender, she decided that her first tackle would be on the Eastern Pulaski school corporation.

The 12-year-old, with the help of her father, filed suit in U.S. District Court against the school corporation to be allowed to play. According to the lawsuit, the principal at Winamac Middle School in Winamac, Ind., told the girl she should consider volleyball or cross country instead. According to WLFI News, Eastern Pulaski School Superintendent Dan Foster has had no comment concerning the potential suit. Destin Haas, superintendent of nearby Benton Community Schools, said, “We've had girls play football, we've had them play wrestling, and we've never had an issue with it.”

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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