Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform announced its list of the Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2014:
Defendants in these suits include a 14-year old Little League baseball player being sued by his coach in lawsuit No. 2 who sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon when the youngster’s helmet—tossed after a game victory—landed on his foot. Another group of defendants are rescuers who saved a man from drowning in floodwaters—but not fast enough, according to the plaintiff in lawsuit No. 4.
But lawyers filing those two suits were only asking for half a billion dollars. In contrast, defendants like the City of New York and two hospitals collectively faced damages of two undecillion dollars (that’s a 2 followed by 36 zeroes), according to a local newspaper account of lawsuit No. 3. According to the New York Post account, the allegations were numerous but hard to decipher in the hand-scribbled 22-page complaint that included a description of dog bite sustained by the plaintiff on a city bus.
Also making the list was a lawsuit that captured the attention of many Carrier Management readers when we published the Associated Press account in July under the title, $10M Sleeper Lawsuit: Yankee Fan Taking ESPN Announcers to Court. In this lawsuit, ranked No. 7 ILR, a Yankees sought $10 million lawsuit from two ESPN announcers, Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees baseball team, because he said the ESPN announcers mocked him when he was caught on national television sleeping in his seat during a game.
Garnering the top ranking is a story that actually dates back to October 2013, involving a Boy Scout troop leader who destroyed an ancient rock formation in Utah. He made the list not because he is being sued for the damage he caused, but instead because he had filed a personal injury lawsuit—claiming disability and pain and suffering from an earlier car accident—weeks before pushing that massive boulder in a video that went viral.
The ILR ranking is based on tallies of monthly votes cast throughout the year by visitors to the website FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org.
The Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign is ILR’s public awareness effort created to highlight the impact of abusive lawsuits on small businesses, communities, and individuals.