Folks, there are lawsuits and then there are the most frivolous of the frivolous lawsuits.
Every year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, through its Institute for Legal Reform keeps track of the most ridiculous, most inane, most common sense-defying lawsuits that have somehow managed to wriggle their way through a courtroom somewhere, which all seem to have the sole purpose of wasting everybody’s time.
It’s been quite the tradition; in fact, the Chamber shares these ridiculous lawsuits via a Facebook Page, “Faces of Lawsuit Abuse”, where followers are encouraged to pick their favorites via likes, shares, and comments.
What’s The Most Ridiculous Lawsuit of 2019?
A woman from Belleville, Illinois is suing lip balm manufacturer Blistex for deceiving its consumers.
Blistex packaging says its product contains zero-point-fifteen ounces (0.15 oz.) of lip balm. However, with the way the lip balm is packaged, a significant portion of it– about eleven percent (11%) of it– is stuck in the bottom.
The plaintiff says she doesn’t want to dig the lip balm out and apply it with her fingers.
Her solution then is to employ a gaggle of lawyers to waste resources, money, and everyone’s time to make sure the plaintiff has constantly moistened and medicated smackers.
Other Frivolous Lawsuits That Made The List
- A man from Washington, DC is suing chocolate manufacturer Godiva for committing “massive fraud” labeling their confections as premium Belgian chocolate (and thus charging more) while they have factories in the United States.
- An animal hospital in Florida is suing a dog owner for writing a negative online review about his experience with them. The man claims his dog died because the hospital was giving him a hard time, preventing his pet from getting the emergency surgery he needed.
- Epic, the publisher of the massively popular online game, Fortnite, held a dance competition among its players to have their moves featured within the game. A fan favorite (and his team of lawyers) has sued the game publisher for using his dance even if the rules made it clear that players weren’t going to be compensated for their winning entry.
- Ex-NBA player David West tried to sue British Petroleum for $1.5 million claiming his earnings were affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010. His frivolous case was tossed out of the court.
- An upset customer is suing Friendly for misleading its patrons, claiming that its vanilla ice cream contains more than just vanilla (it actually does– the recipe has ingredients like turmeric and annatto).
- A controversial law, Prop. 65, requires businesses to put warning labels on products to let people know they may have been exposed to chemicals that might cause cancer or congenital disabilities. Jones Coffee Roasters was one of those businesses sued. Even while owner Chuck Jones continues to settle the lawsuit, coffee had been removed from the Prop. 65 list. Today, the law still allows plaintiffs’ lawyers to cash in by filing frivolous lawsuits over warning labels.
- A woman sued New York City claiming she fell down the stairs after being scared by a promotional poster of the Showtime hit TV series, Dexter, in a subway station. This frivolous case has finally been dismissed.
- A woman from Brooklyn, New York is suing Miyoko’s, a dairy-alternative company, claiming that its buttery vegan spread isn’t real butter and that its packaging confuses consumers. (But consumer studies show that shoppers aren’t confused by vegan butter and know the difference.)
- Trial lawyers argued a $600 million class-action lawsuit over the advertised health claims of a well-known daily multi-vitamin. Their claims, however, began to unravel under the testimony of their own key witness, forcing the plaintiff’s lawyers to effectively admit they had no case.
The Institute of Legal Reform
“While lawsuits over lip balm, chocolate or ice cream are funny, frivolous lawsuits are a serious problem that affects everyone,” says Harold Kim, the ILR’s chief operating officer, in a statement.
“A recent study found that the U.S. spends $429 billion on civil lawsuits — or more than $3,000 per household. That’s no laughing matter.”
Founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1998 to address the country’s litigation explosion, the Institute of Legal Reform has the critical mission of making America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone.