6 of the strangest lawsuits making headlines

Rogue rifles, a miffed singing duo and four more strange suits in the news

Guns Blazing


Guns Blazing

Gun control has been a major issue across the country, but what happens when your gun seems to have a mind of its own? That’s the issue facing Remington Arms Co., maker of one of the most popular hunting rifles, concerning its Remington 700 bolt-action rifle series of guns. Owners of the gun have reported the gun shooting without anyone pulling the trigger in numerous circumstances, most recently in Idaho where Loren Korpi was allegedly shot in the foot by a defective gun.

According to CBS News, Korpi plans to sue Remington, claiming that the company has known about the defective trigger in its Model 700 rifles but has refused to recall them. “It's fascinating what I believe is a truly defective product can continue to be made by a company staffed with good people,” Timothy Monsees, a Kansas City-based lawyer who represents Korpi, told CBS News on Oct. 25.

Not Happy Together


Not Happy Together

For most older bands, one would think that receiving repeated airplay on a major carrier like Sirius XM radio would be a good thing, possibly leading to more sales. But instead, Flo & Eddie of the Turtles believe Sirius exploited their music without their consent. The duo filed suit against Sirius, claiming the radio carrier “reproduced, performed, distributed, or otherwise exploited” their music without their consent. Sensing an opportunity, Sony, Universal and Warner proceeded to file their own lawsuit along the same grounds.

The implications of a ruling in Flo & Eddie’s favor could be disastrous for Sirius; it would need explicit permission to play each song recorded before 1972, when sound recordings were brought under federal copyright protection. In a motion to transfer the lawsuit from California to New York, Sirius writes, “[N]ow, after decades of inaction while a wide variety of music users, including radio and television broadcasters, bars, restaurants and website operators, exploited those Pre-1972 Recordings countless millions of times without paying fees, it asserts a purported right under the law of various states to be compensated by SiriusXM for comparable unlicensed uses.”

Gives You Angel Wings

 

Gives You Angel Wings

How much of an energy drink is too much? And better yet, is an energy drink manufacturer liable if someone passes away as a result of its product? That second question may now be on a New York court to decide. The family of Brooklyn native Cory Terry, 33, has brought a wrongful death suit against energy drink maker Red Bull, claiming the drink had a direct hand in Terry’s heart attack following a basketball game. The suit is believed to be the first wrongful death suit brought against Red Bull.

Terry’s grandmother, Patricia Terry, told the New York Daily News that her grandson had previously consumed the drink with no trouble. “He drank that stuff all the time. He said it perked him up,” she said. However, after consuming a drink before playing a basketball game on Nov. 8, 2011, Terry became lightheaded, collapsed, and later died as the result of a heart attack. The family filed suit in late October 2013, with lawyer Ilya Novofastovsky saying Red Bull contains “extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee. They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on.”

Row Your Boat 

 

Row Your Boat

College sports can be extremely tough, especially when the pressure of keeping a scholarship is in play. But for Margaret Krusing, a former member of the University of Iowa’s women’s rowing team, the pressures and expectations of her coaching staff were too high. According to USA Today, Krusing claims that coach Mandi Kowal's excessive training regimen left her with chronic exertional syndrome. The syndrome has required multiple surgeries and has left Krusing with walking difficulties. So, she sued in 2010, looking to make Iowa pay up in response.

Krusing settled her lawsuit with the university on Oct. 14 for $300,000, on top of the $60,000 in an earlier payment from the university that allowed Krusing to keep her scholarship after the initial injury. Both sides are happy with the agreement, and the university said in a statement, “In this case, the UI not only did what it does for all injured student-athletes — provide excellent medical care — it also provided the assistance necessary to allow Margaret to complete her education.” Former Coach Kowal resigned in 2012 after the university ordered her to more closely monitor training regimens for her rowers.

Beware the Goblin Toppler

 

 

Beware the Goblin Toppler

Following a 2009 car crash, Utah native Glenn Taylor filed a personal injury lawsuit against a woman and her father also involved in the crash. In the suit, filed in September 2013, Taylor claimed he had to “endure great pain and suffering, disability, impairment, loss of joy of life.” That’s not extraordinarily exceptional, but that’s also not what has so many people from Utah and nature conservationists from around the nation up in arms.

In early October 2013, just one month after the suit, a video surfaced of three men defacing an ancient rock formation in Goblin State National Park, with the man actually pushing over the formation earning the nickname the “Goblin Toppler.” On Oct. 23, TV station KUTV identified the Goblin Toppler as Taylor, also noting that he doesn’t show any sign of injury while on the video as he knocks over the rock formation. The tape could potentially be introduced as evidence in a trial, and Taylor’s lawyer told KUTV that just because his client is recovering, it does not mean he has not felt pain in the past.

Pirate Joe's Lives

 

Pirate Joe’s Lives

And the pirate flag flies high, ready to keep sailing… and importing Trader Joe’s goods from the U.S. Remember the saga of Pirate Joe's, the store opened in Vancouver, British Columbia by Michael Hallatt? In case you don’t, Hallatt, saddened that there were no Trader Joe’s franchises in Canada, took it upon himself to purchase Trader Joe’s goods in the U.S., then transport them across the border and sell them in his own “Pirate Joe’s” store in Vancouver. The store did well, but Trader Joe’s sued him for trademark infringement, false endorsement, false advertising and threat to the reputation of the brand.

Turns out, Hallatt didn’t need to be worried at all. On Oct. 5, a U.S. district court judge dismissed the Trader Joe’s suit, saying that the makeshift store was harming neither U.S. commerce nor Trader Joe's itself. “I get to do with it whatever I want to, including reselling it to Canadians,” Hallatt, who temporarily renamed his store _irate Joe’s in response to the lawsuit, said. "My right to do this is unassailable.” It’s unclear whether Trader Joe’s will pursue an appeal at the federal level.

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