Some people are dumb, and some are not. But that does not stop them from pretending to be dumb. These people know how to handle arguments and sometimes win millions of dollars for it. However, their ways might vary. For example: By suing a company for anything that was as obvious as ‘achhe din!’. You see what I did there?
Here are some cases where people sued a company and came out with big money as compensation for the ‘damages’ faced.
1. Larry Rutman Vs. Larry Rutman
Mr. Larry sued himself for hitting himself on the head with a boomerang, which is a curved piece of wood shaped like a ‘V’, and was traditionally used as a weapon for hunting. The thing is known for coming back to the person who throws the same, (much like this suit!) because of aerodynamics.
The case was filed for $300,000 claiming that his memory was possibly the only expected thing in this whole story. He won the case, well… lost at the same time too. It is like a case-ception going on here.
However, guess who bore the medical expenses for this, the insurance company. Explaining the logic for this lawsuit, Larry said, “I paid all that insurance for a long time just in case something unforeseen like this ever happened.” Such logic, much wow! :’)
2. Benjamin Careathers Vs. Redbull
Redbull, the caffeinated energy drinks giant was once sued by Benjamin Careathers as he felt fooled by the company and alleged that the company deliberately misled people to spend huge amounts on their drinks in place of their competitors by making false promises. As per him the company promised to give him ‘wings’ (Remember? Redbull gives you wings, well apparently not!). He stated that he neither got any wings nor any boosted athletic abilities after the drink.
Interestingly enough, the case was ruled against Redbull which was then forced to pay compensation of $10 to any customer who bought the drink since 2002 also to make changes to the future advertisements. As per the ruling of the case, Redbull had to pay $13m to settle the suit, $6.5 out of which was to be kept for a fund where an estimated number of 1.4 Million consumers could apply for refund. A site was especially designed for the same, which is currently inaccessible energydrinksettlement.com.
On the day of ruling of the case, Benjamin was reported to be carrying a fat compensation cheque, singing, “Panchhi banu udta firun mast gagan me.” Nyaah! Lol!
3. Stella Liebeck vs. McDonald’s
Eighty-year-old Stella Liebeck spilled hot coffee on her lap causing third degree burns on her legs and crotch area. She sought $800 for her skin treatment which McDonalds obviously refused to pay. Duh! Coffee is supposed to be hot unless called cold coffee and this was not the first time McDonalds was encountering such a case, there had been about 700 of them before this one. The temperature of the coffee served in McDonalds is about 40-50 degrees higher than the temperature at which coffee is served at most restaurants i.e. 140°F.
The jury estimated the compensatory damages to be around $200,000 in the beginning for the pain and the disfiguring third degree burns suffered by the complainant. But attributed 20% of the liability for the accident to the complainant for negligence and putting the coffee cup between her thighs with the lid taken off.
McDonalds ended up paying a hefty compensation of $2.7 Million dollars for this case. The amount was based on estimate of 2 days revenue of McDonalds nationwide sales through coffee.
This case is remarked as the benchmark in lawsuits filed against big companies for compensation.
4. Nikhil Jain vs. Emami
Nikhil Jain dragged the famous ‘ladko wali fairness cream’ company to court for false advertisement and promising the user to get fairer in three weeks of usage of the cream. The case was actually filed by Nikhil’s brother, Paras Jain who was a law student, on Nikhil’s behalf for not getting intended benefits from the usage of the product even after regular usage for three weeks as per the directions mentioned on the product.
The company argued that the components of the like ‘skin nourishing agents’ and Lumino Peptide, wait, rather ‘Fast action Lumino Peptide that effectively penetrates deep in to tough male skin’ have the quality to make the skin fairer but the quality of the effect may vary from person to person. Yeah, tell me about it! There were also arguments based on the absence of proof that the complainant had used the product as per directions of usage regularly for three weeks and that the user’s skin condition did not improve at all.
So after too much of argument, between the both the parties here, Emami had to pay a compensation of Rs. 10,000 to the complainant and a sum of Rs. 15,00,000 to Delhi as punitive damages with the consumer welfare fund managed with the State Commission, Delhi. Inshah Allah, boys played well! Lol!
5. Cynthia Robinson Vs. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
In 2008, Cynthia Robinson, wife of Michael Johnson Sr., sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company over her husband’s death from lung cancer in 1996. Johnson became addicted to smoking cigarettes since the age of 13. Robinson was represented by the personal injury firm Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson and Gary LLC. Willie Gary argued that at no point in time did the tobacco company inform Robinson’s husband that smoking causes cancer or that nicotine is highly addictive.
The law firm reported that they were okay even if they are not paid anything at all for this case, as it was not about money but about making a difference. Meanwhile, the tobacco company’s vice president and assistant general counsel argued that the compensation asked for is grossly excessive. The hearing went on for four long weeks and an additional fifteen hours to determine whether the tobacco company was negligent in informing vital information to the consumer, here, Johnson. The court ruled in favour of Robinson awarding her $16.9 million in compensation and $23.6 billion in punitive damages in 2014.
However, in 2015 the punitive damage part was thrown out by Escambia County judge after tobacco company’s appeals and it was then reassessed all over again.
6. Normans Vs. Honda manufacturer
On December 2, 1992, Karen Norman tried to back her car up to turn the car around at about 2:00 am, but she accidentally reversed the car into the water in Galveston Bay. There was one more person in the car, Josel Woods was able to swim to safety but Karen got unlucky while the car was sinking.
The car was a 1991, four-door Honda Civic equipped with an automatic seatbelt. It is known to engage on its own and to disengage the same a person has to press a button. But Karen could not reach to the button as her seat was too close to the steering. Josel testified that he had heard Karen shouting for help saying, “Help me, I can’t get my seatbelt undone.” Later in the morning the body was found, an autopsy of the body revealed an alcohol level of 0.17 which means she should not have been driving in the first place.
However, the case was a products liability suit. It means that it is more about the proving a fault in the product’s design that caused the damage. In this case Karen Norman’s life was enough evidence. The jury found Karen as 25% contributory negligent and awarded the plaintiffs for the rest, collectively $60 million. The trial court later decreased the compensation to $20 million to Karen’s mother and another $18 million to her father.