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The ridiculous lawsuits outlined in this episode of The List Show are a mockery of our justice system ... or maybe they're just kind of fun.

In all seriousness, the strange lawsuits described will make you angry/befuddled/delighted, as your disposition allows.

Remember, The List Show is a weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John shares some truly ridiculous lawsuits.


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Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is Mental Floss Video and did you know that in 2011 a woman sued the store Century 21 for $5 million because she was shorted 80 cents when trying to return an outfit. The issue was that she'd bought it with a coupon, but when she returned it, the store deducted some of the value of the coupon from her refund. She eventually dropped the lawsuit because, you know, it was without merit. And that's the first of many ridiculous lawsuits that I'm gonna share with you today.


A high school student filed a lawsuit against his school in 2003. He took a work experience class in a law office, which happened to be where his mother worked. The law office employees gave him an A+, but he took the class through the intermediate countywide district, which didn't recognize A+ as a legitimate grade, even though his school did, so it was on his report cad as a lousy A. And that is cause for a lawsuit.

In 2002, musician Mike Batt released the album Classical Graffiti, which contained a track that was all silence. Soon after, he received a royalty claim because another musician, John Cage, had released his own silent track in 1952. The traditional story is that they settled out of court for 6 figures, but in 2010 Mike Batt revealed that he had convinced the lawyers they had no case, and agreed to pay $1,000 to the John Cage trust. By the way, Mike Batt is still convinced that his silent song is better, because he was, quote, "able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in 4 minutes and 33 seconds." 

In 2011 a woman sued the Houston Police Department after she was arrested and the officer driving her to jail was playing the Rush Limbaugh radio show. She claimed that this meant that she was forced to listen to derogatory comments about black people. That doesn't seem like a ridiculous lawsuit to me actually. 

A man sued the Anheuser-Busch company for $10,000 in 1991, for misleading advertising. He asserted that beer ads implied that if you drink beer, you'll experience, quote, "scenic tropical settings and beautiful women and men engaged in endless and unrestricted merriment." The case was dropped and he later claimed that he was making a point about irresponsible alcohol ads, but you know I bet he would've accepted the 10,000 bucks.

Two men from New Jersey sued Subway in 2013 after they saw a picture from Australia of a foot-long sandwich which turned out to only be 11 inches. This led their lawyer to go around to 17 Subways and measure sandwiches, all of them were smaller than a foot, for the record. Eventually, a settlement was reached.

In 2009, a man made the news when he sued his ex-wife for a kidney that he had donated to her while they were married since it was a "marital asset." He also agreed to settle for 1.5 million dollars. The court ruled that marital property did not include, quote, "human tissues or organs." I don't want to criticize the court, but what about children? They're nothing but human tissues and organs. Well and I guess a soul.

Another disgruntled divorcee filed a lawsuit against his wedding photographer for bad pictures even though his marriage had already ended. He filed the suit in 2011 but his divorce had been finalized in 2010. Nonetheless, he wanted the photography company to pay for his wedding to be recreated so he could, quote, "have memories of the wedding."

In 2014 a little league coach sued one of his players for over $500,000 after the child threw his batting helmet in a victory celebration and accidentally hit the coach on the ankle. He claimed this caused him pain and suffering as well as lost wages and medical costs.

Speaking of lost wages, in 2009 Trina Thompson sued her alma mater, Monroe College, because she couldn't get a job. She wanted $72,000 which was more than the cost of tuition because the school didn't help her with job placement, which had caused her stress. By the way, the lawsuit was filed a mere three months after her graduation.

A woman sued the film distributor FilmDistrict in 2011 because she thought the trailer for the movie Drive was very misleading. The suit stated that the company, "promoted the film Drive as very similar to the Fast and Furious, or similar, series of movies." Because it wasn't, she felt that she was owed compensation. If fact, I would argue that Drive is better than at least two of the Fast and Furious movies. I'm referring of course to Tokyo Drift and 2 Fast 2 Furious. The others are unadulterated classics.

In 2014, a man sued McDonald's for $1.5 million. He claimed he experienced, quote, "Undue mental anguish" because he only received one napkin with his food at the restaurant. One napkin?! You lucky bastard! What was it, free napkins day at McDonald's? I've never received a napkin!

Also in 2014, a woman sued Disney for plagiarism for $250 million. She'd written an autobiography in 2010 titled The Snow Queen and believed that Frozen directly stole her real-life story. Some similarities listed in her lawsuit include: intense sisterly love, two male characters, and a recluse sister. I mean that's a compelling argument but I think in the end you're gonna have to let it go.

Robert Lee Brock filed a lawsuit against himself while he was in prison in 1995. He believed that he had infringed upon his own religious and civil rights by getting drunk and then breaking the law. The lawsuit read, "For violating my religious beliefs, I want to pay myself $5 million, but I ask the state to pay it since I can't work." It was dismissed by a judge. A judge, an actual judge had to dismiss that lawsuit.

Magician David Blaine was sued by a man in 2005 for $50 million. The man said that Blaine had stolen his godly powers and was using them to perform magic. He'd already filed a similar lawsuit against David Copperfield.

In 2011, a woman filed a $5 million lawsuit against Chuck E. Cheese. She claimed that the arcade games in the chain were gambling machines that bore similarities to slot machines and roulette wheels.

A man named Rhawn Joseph filed a lawsuit against NASA in 2014 after he saw pictures from the Mars Opportunity rover. There was a rock in one of the photographs, but Joseph was convinced that it was a living organism, so the lawsuit insisted that NASA, quote, " Perform a public, scientific, and statutory duty which is to closely photograph and thoroughly examine and investigate a putative biological organism." Alright from here on out I'm only gonna refer to rocks as putative biological organisms.

In 2014, a 62-year-old man sued a group of seemingly random corporations and people for a total of two undecillion dollars. That's significantly more money than exists on Earth, but he wanted NYC Transit, K-mart, a dog owner, and many more people to pay up.

A man sued Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for 416 million dollars each in 2006. He was a Michael Jordan look-alike and claimed that those two parties caused him emotional pain and suffering because he couldn't go anywhere without being stopped or compared to Jordan. Not unlike the life of LeBron James. Maybe he should sue Michael Jordan.

Speaking of celebrity look-alikes, in 2010 Lindsay Lohan sued the company E-Trade for a commercial they ran on TV in which a baby calls another baby, "that milk-aholic Lindsay." They eventually settled.

Another sensitive celebrity is Ron Livingston of Office Space fame. In 2009 he filed a lawsuit against an anonymous Wikipedia editor who added the following to Livingston's Wikipedia page: "He is gay and officially confirmed it in TMZ he is gay and darn proud."

The Recording Industry Association of America sued a woman named Gertrude Walton in 2005 for illegally downloading music then skipping her court date. The only problem? She was dead. That's why she missed her court date, due to you know being dead. Also, according to her daughter, quote, "My mother wouldn't even know how to turn on a computer." I know because (whispers) she's dead.

In the late 90s a man named Bob Craft renamed himself to Jack Ass, and then in 2003 he sued Viacom International Inc. for $10 million because he claimed that the MTV show Jackass was plagiarism and also that it defamed his name. Seems like maybe Jack Ass should take a lesson from Robert Lee Brock and sue himself.

And finally, I return to my salon to tell you about perhaps the only person on this list who really had a case. In 2012, a man received $7.2 million from Gilster-Mary Lee Corp, The Kroger Company, and the Dillon Companies Inc. He developed Microwave Popcorn Lung, which is a real disease that people can get from inhaling too much of the diacetyl in microwave popcorn butter fumes. Thanks to his two bags a day habit, he was the first person to get the disease who didn't work in a popcorn factory. It's quite a serious disease, by the way. The diacetyl is no longer in popcorn, just in case you're worried.

Thanks for watching Mental Floss video, which is made with the help of all of these nice people, and also thanks for not suing us. As we say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome.