5 Desperate Lawsuits from Deeply Entitled Customers
If someone has wronged you, please sue. We’re not going to be one of those people calling all lawsuits against companies frivolous. That woman who sued McDonald’s over hot coffee was not the scam artist people made her out to be, and various other wacky stories you’ve heard of dumb lawsuits were far more justified than funny summaries make them out to be.
On the other hand, well, some lawsuits really are dumb and deserve all your mockery. For some people, filing a lawsuit is the ultimate form of complaining to the manager, and we all know not everyone who wants to see the manager has a valid complaint. Even when they do, a lawsuit can take it too far. For example...
Fans Wanted Millions After a Lame Creed Concert
The band Creed was a cultural punching bag for a few years. People had no good reason for attacking them; we simply find it convenient sometimes to choose a few artists to insult, and we all pretend to feel much more strongly about them than we really do. We accused Creed of crimes against music, and the closest they came to really being guilty of this happened in December 2002.
No, we’re not talking about the song above, which is flawless, but about a concert of theirs in Chicago. They put on a bad performance that night. They stumbled over lyrics, they left the stage for a while, and fans thought maybe they were drunk. If you were in Allstate Arena that night, you’d be right to tell your friends afterward that that show sucked. Four attendees went further and sued the band for $2 million.
They were suing on behalf of thousands of other attendees, they claimed, in which case each one of them would be getting a payout quite a bit above the cost of their ticket. Tickets cost just $50, which wasn’t that much, even in 2002. However, it turned out the plaintiffs had not received input or authorization from any of those thousands of other customers they claimed might join them in a class-action suit. The judge threw the case out.
Earlier, the band had apologized for the show (which isn’t the same as admitting legal liability). Their management sent out a message saying, “For now we hope that you can take some solace in the fact that you definitely experienced the most unique of all Creed shows and may have become part of the unusual world of rock and roll history!”
Later, emboldened by the legal victory, the band’s Scott Stapp now claimed fans had misunderstood the performance. It wasn’t a bad show, he said — when they thought he passed out onstage, he was really lying down as a symbolic gesture. We’re now kind of sorry the suit got thrown out, denying us the chance to hear Creed and fans argue over the definition of art.
Suing the Blue Man Group for a Stunt That Never Happened
Five years after the Creed concert, we got another Chicago show that left a customer deeply distressed. The Blue Man Group were performing, and they brought attendee James Srodon onstage. Then, claimed Srodon, those men shoved a tube down his throat. This resulted in throat injuries, ones even more severe than you might associate with men who just blue themselves.
While we don’t have a tape of the incident, the Blue Man Group has performed this same skit thousands of times, so here’s a video of a different rendition:
It’s an illusion. They broadcast pre-recorded footage of an endoscopy (what it looks like when a camera goes down your gullet), but they merely place something against the audience member’s mouth. They do not penetrate into the mouth cavity, and they definitely don’t force any kind of deep throating. You can guess this by how the audience member doesn’t react very much at all while it’s happening.
Could the stunt have gone horribly wrong in the specific case of James Srodon, resulting in the tube entering his stomach for real? We’re going to say no. Again, the tube isn’t a real endoscope and is not designed to go down into a stomach. During an actual endoscopy, the patient lies down and is usually anesthetized or wholly sedated to keep them from gagging.
Maybe Srodon really did find this audience participation segment traumatic, enough to make him want compensation, but that doesn’t mean we believe his stomach-churning claim. If they really did forcibly penetrate his throat, that would be a crime, and any lawyer representing him would demand more than the $40,000 he sought.
The media didn’t follow up on the lawsuit after the initial announcement. The lawyer later claimed that the group paid Sroden a settlement, but this lawyer also made sure to mention that he himself withdrew from the case, which isn’t much of an endorsement.
Cadillac Customers Were Sad Their Convertible Wasn’t the Last
In the 1970s, people weren’t buying as many convertibles as they used to. Maybe tastes had changed. Maybe people were responding to how, unlike before, most cars now had air conditioners. Whatever the reason, General Motors figured they had to adapt. They announced that the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado would be the Last of the Convertibles.
They resultantly sold twice as many convertibles that year as they usually did. Eight years later, with other companies selling convertibles of their own and seeing some success, GM went and manufactured a limited run of new Eldorado convertibles after all. If you’d missed the last chance at buying one, this could only have meant good news. People who had gone and bought that ’76 Eldorado, however, now felt deeply unspecial.
Two ’76 owners — a lawyer and a chiropractor, both members of professions famous for their honesty — sued GM for $50 million. As with the Creed case, they claimed to represent thousands of customers, and the accusation in this case was fraudulent advertising. GM had called their car the last of the convertibles, but it was not. These valuable investments weren’t worth nearly as much as they would have been. The plaintiffs claimed they’d bought the cars as investments, anyway. The lawyer admitted he’d driven the car 30,000 miles and had sold it, actions not necessarily characteristic of a car collector.
The lawsuit was dismissed. No evidence marked the “last of the convertibles” campaign as the long-term conspiracy it must be to rise to the level of false advertising. Plus, it seemed that those cars would never have appreciated in value after eight years, even if GM never cranked out some new ones.
The World’s Most Litigious Man
The Grand Theft Auto games have faced several lawsuits over their content, each ridiculous in its own way. Video game crusader Jack Thompson sued the publisher for making a kid kill two cops. Thompson was thrown off the kid's legal team for that strategy. Lindsay Lohan sued them for using her likeness (it was actually the likeness of a model, made to resemble the likeness of a different celebrity).
Then there was the case of John Lee Riches. Rockstar Games “contributed to Plaintiff committing identity theft,” read the complaint. “Defendant’s games show sex, drugs and violence, which offends me.” Riches made the filing from prison, having been found guilty of wire fraud. He also feared the future effects GTA may have on his life. “I face imminent danger from violent inmates who played Grand Theft Auto,” he said, “who will knock me out and take my gold Jesus cross.”
He did not have a legitimate case, but then, John Lee Riches didn’t have a legitimate case in any of the many lawsuits he filed. In 2007, for example, he filed suit against the INS and several Pakistani politicians, to prevent himself from being deported to Pakistan. At no point was he in danger of being deported to Pakistan, and he is in fact not Pakistani.
In 2009, he sued Guinness World Records to stop them from naming him “the world’s most litigious man” in their upcoming book. Guinness did not respond by fighting him for the right to name him this. Instead, a spokesperson announced that no such record existed, and they’d never had any plans of observing it. Riches had just made it up.
The Man Really Angry About Doctors Mocking His Penis
Also in 2009, a Virginia man received a colonoscopy, and he sued the doctors for malpractice. He did not object to the colonoscopy itself (these were qualified doctors, not men covered in blue paint). He objected to what the team said to each other, audio that his phone captured.
They’d talked about how unpleasant interacting with him had been, pre-operation. The anesthesiologist said she’d felt like punching him. They laughed at how long he had taken to get undressed and how many drugs were needed to knock him out. They jokingly suggested diagnosing him with hemorrhoids, since he was such a pain in the ass. Then they made fun of his penis. His penis had a rash, and a doctor warned a medical assistant not to touch it. She’d probably get syphilis if she did — no, on second thought it was probably tuberculosis.
The man (who has remained anonymous, because he’s so embarrassed, about his penis) sued for $5 million. He didn’t win that much, but unlike the other cases we covered today, his did reach a jury, who awarded him $500,000. Along with malpractice and punitive damages, this included $100,000 for defamation for saying his penis had syphilis and tuberculosis. When people joke in private about something neither believes, that’s not defamation, and calling it defamation is so inaccurate, the judge should have set aside the verdict.
The doctors did nothing wrong. If you yourself ever get knocked out for some minor procedure, the doctors will crack jokes while you’re under, and that’s fine. They will make fun of your penis if you have one or find something else to laugh at if you don’t. If they didn’t, they’d kill themselves. As it is, many of them will still kill themselves, but the jokes do help a little.
If someone makes fun of you, they aren’t violating your rights. “The right not to be made fun of” is not a thing. If someone makes fun of you behind your back, they aren’t even hurting you — the fault is entirely yours, as eavesdroppers never hear good things about themselves. And if someone recounts how much they disliked talking to you, you are not the victim in this scenario. Take to heart how unpleasant you were and vow to be better in the future.
Also, fix that rash on your genitals. It’s nasty.