After his 12-year-old son — yes, 12 — was sued last year by a woman who got conked by the boy's errant throw at a Little League baseball game, Bob Migliaccio of Asbury Park, N.J., told his local newspaper he wasn't shocked because “people sue every day.” Do they ever.
Like the inmate in a Michigan prison who sued that state's corrections department claiming he had been denied toothpaste, resulting in him losing a tooth. The man only had five of his adult teeth when he was locked up in the first place.
Or like the woman in Nassau County, N.Y., who had an affair with a police officer and then threatened to sue the county and the police department for $10 million — because they didn't keep the officer from visiting her while on duty. As a result of this alleged dereliction, “claimant has suffered and sustained severe and substantial emotional damages,” the notice of claim said.
We're not making this stuff up. Indeed the website FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org provides a month-by-month breakdown of some of the most incredible lawsuits filed around the country. The site is a product of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, which recently announced its 10 most ridiculous suits from 2012. Topping the list: a lawsuit by a driver in Florida who pleaded guilty to DUI in a fatal accident, then sued a victim.
This is similar to a New Jersey case in which a woman who sent a text message to a man was sued because he read the text while driving and caused a serious wreck. A judge tossed that case, thank goodness.
But sometimes even dismissals can pay off for trial lawyers. After a California judge found a class-action claim against Volkswagen meritless, plaintiffs' attorneys tweaked the complaint. Weary of the court battle, VW finally settled. The attorneys received about $500,000 in fees, the plaintiffs received zilch. What a system.