In the old days, whoever had the biggest stick won. We've evolved to the point that, now, whoever has the highest paid lawyer wins, with the advantage that no matter how much you use a lawyer, it won't snap into pieces.
As long as the legal system has been around, people have been trying to find ways to fuck with it. From plaintiffs to lawyers to judges, it looks like we've perfected the art.
Exhibit 1: The most expensive pants in the world
Power corrupts, and absolute legal power makes you retarded. Thus, Judge Roy Pearson launched a lunatic legal siege on a dry cleaners over a lost pair of pants, claiming $67 million compensation. If you just said, "$67 dollars? Those must have been some nice pants!" then you should know that you skipped a word.
Clearly these $67 million pants were stitched from the Turin Shroud using threads picked from the canvas of the Mona Lisa. To reclaim his loss, Pearson adapted the legal system into a game of "hunt the poor people," pursuing the immigrant owners of Custom Cleaners for over two years.
Pearson claims the cleaners lost the pants to a $1,000 suit. They claimed they found them later that week, but he disagreed. They then offered him $12,000 compensation, but he demanded the more reasonable figure of $67 million, which we've repeated a number of times now in case your eyes blocked it out before to protect your sanity.
Photo altered by Cracked
After two full years of everyone on the planet telling him he was totally insane, he lowered the claim. To $54 million. You might recognize that as 50,000 times the cost of the original item, which he claimed accounted for his inconvenience and mental anguish. The legal fees ($80,000) nearly drove the cleaners back to South Korea until a community effort raised the money to pay the bill. Which means that, holy shit, Roy Pearson is the villain from a Disney movie.
He lost the case, lost his job as an Administrative Law Judge, was divorced by his wife, and faces bankruptcy. Upon realizing he'd become the star of a heavy-handed parable, Peterson apologized to the world and said he'd learned valuable lesson about the evils of materialism and the availability of more pants. Ha, no, not really. He filed for the court to reconsider the decision, and when they refused, he launched a full appeal.
Exhibit 2: Softcore porn apparently illegal in court
North Carolina lawyer Todd Paris was charged with criminal contempt, fined $300 and given a 15-day suspended sentence for reading Maxim during a court session. It wasn't clear whether the penalty was meant to punish his disrespect, his poor taste or was based on suspicion that he's too stupid to really be a lawyer.
Now we understand the urge to look at boobies is a powerful and primal. It's why we work so hard here at Cracked. We know every word is a pitched battle against your urge to say "Fuck it" and head over to "HOT-RACE-GENDEROFCHOICE-XXX.com." But if you work in a courthouse and expect to see boobs, your name had better be Attorney-At-Ass Dick Long, and you better be starring in a court-themed video for the aforementioned website.
On appeal, he got the charge reduced to civil contempt with no sentence, by agreeing to pay an extra $200 fine. The fact that this amount likely wouldn't cover one-tenth of the court costs of the appeal proceedings, which raises a salient question: Who gives a shit? Wouldn't it have been easier to just tell him to put the magazine away and call him a dumbass?
Exhibit 3: Dartmouth professor sues students for being mean
Professor Priya Venkatesan accused students in her French narrative theory class of "anti-intellectualism." For Ivy League students interested in what the French are saying about narrative theory, this is probably on par with accusing Bruce Willis of being unmanly (though with an infinitely lower chance of getting dropped out of a skyscraper for your error).
She hired lawyers to sue members of the class, claiming the way they kept complaining about her inability to teach constituted a "hostile work environment." She also sued her superiors, apparently unaware that even being allowed to call "talking about French narrative theory" a job was already a huge allowance on their part.
She complained that during lectures on expository argument, her students argued with her. So either she's the world's master of irony or doesn't understand what those words mean. Some might say that a lecturer who needs expensive legal professionals to deal with student questions is not a very good lecturer. Others might say she probably needs trained assistance and a four-man safety team to open a door.
Students aspiring to work in the lucrative French narrative theory industry
In a sane world, the judge would hand Venkatesan a shovel, point her toward a hill-sized pile of manure and say, "Your sentence is to try a real job for a while. Fill that shit truck over there. When it comes back empty, do it again, for the next 20 years or until you get some fucking perspective."
Though her lawyers should be digging right beside her for even taking the case, so that their "Shoveling shit for money" hours are less metaphorical and more useful to the community.