September’s ridiculous lawsuits of the month create a whole new category of reasons for engaging in asset protection!  These include a mother sued because her birthday card did not include a gift, a computer gamer who thinks Microsoft owes him $500 Billion for not responding to his legal notice, and a brand new lawyer suing a New York law firm for $77 million – and more!

Here they are:

1.  “Bad Mothering” Lawsuit.  A pair of siblings from Barrington Hills, Illinois, sued their mother for “bad mothering” after she sent her children birthday cards without a gifts!  The suit sought $50,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.  They claimed their mother engaged in “a course of conduct which has caused bothe the intentional and negligent infliction of emotions distress” to her children.  They claimed their mother didn’t include gifts in cards sent to her children; played favorites with the children, threatend to take her son to the police station when he was 7 if he didn’t buckle his seat belt, refused to buy her daughter a homecoming dress, and didn’t send her son a “care package” until his 6th semester away at college.  The daughter also complained that she was in high school she got to go out in the family automobile, but had to be home by midnight.

The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and after the children (aged 23 and 20, respectively at the time fo the lawsuit) appealed the dismissal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court.  The appellate court ruled (in a 33 page opinion) that the mother’s “sometimes erratic, sometimes spiteful, sometimes less than generous or fully sensitive to the material and emotional needs of her children” conduct did not meet the legal standards of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

2.    Xbox Live User Sues Microsoft for $500 Billion.  An Arkansas man is trying to get Microsoft to pay him $500 billion after he tried to amend his Xbox Live contract wtih the company and was ignored when he asked for legal arbitration.  David Stebbins, an Xbox Live user, entered into the standard contract binding both Microsoft and the Xbox Live user.  On May 6, he “submitted a notice” to Microsoft that he was “unilaterally amending the terms fo service,” and gave Microsoft 10 days to terminate his membership or the changes would become effective. Microsoft did not terminate his membership, so he argues Microsft accepted the new contract terms.

        On May 18, he invited the company to arbitrate a legal dispute in which he claimed $500 billino in damages.  He included in his “notice” a “forfeit victory clause” which stated that if Microsoft did not respond within 24 hours of receipt fo the request for arbitration that he would automatically win the arbitration.  Microsoft did not respond, so he claims he automatically won on May 19, “per the forfeit victory clause.”

        The case has not been dismissed – yet.  Apparently Stebbins have filed more than a dozen legal claims in the past year against other companies involving similar stunts involving contract arbitration.  He claims he is trying to “give a voice to the little guy.”

3.    Fired First Year Lawyer Sues New York Firm for $77 Million.  A first year attorney at a New York law firm was fired after boasting of his “superior legal mind” and angering his colleagues.  He promptly filed suit for $77 million against the firm.  Shortly after beginning work for the firm, he emailed the partners of the firm with the following message:  “It has become clear that I have as much experience and ability as an associate many years my senior, as much skill writing and a superior legal mind to most I have met.”  He was fired a few days later.  He claims the firm and the two of its partners, also named in the lawsuit, interfered with his job, inflicted emotional distress, and tried to thwart his career prospects. 

He accused the firm of unethical behavior and lying about its work culture.  He also claims he was fired for comments he made about “possibly fraudulent” billing practices at the firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman.

Since leaving the firm, Gregory Berry, a University of Pennsylvania law school graduate, has gone into solo practice.  He is seeking $25 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages of at least $50 million.

4.    Woman Sues Philadelphia Eagles and Kicker Sav Rocca for $75,000 for Injuries Suffered from Football Thrown by Fan.  Sav Rocca, the Eagles’ punter at the time, kicked a football into the stands during fan appreciation day.  Rocca then asked the fan who caught the football to throw it back to him.  The fan complied, but the ball hit Debra A. Campana who was sitting between the fan and Rocca.  She suffered a left forecarm and wrist fracture, other injuries and “severe physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation.”  She alleges the Eagles were careless, reckless and negligent and failed to have procedures and personnel in place to return footballs retrieved from the stands.

5.    Plaintiff Who Filed More Than 160 ADA Lawsuits Against Small Business Owners Caught on Tape Hiking Despite Supposed End-stage Emphysema.  James Farkus Cohan has filed at least 161 lawsuits against small businesses claiming the businesses are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Cohan claims his end-stage emphysema “limits his ability to walk, work, speak and breathe,” that he needs a wheelchair or walker, and that he requires supplemental oxygen.  However, a local television station (KABC-TV, Los Angeles) caught up with him, on videotape, hiking up a steep hill, without a wheelchair, walker or oxygen tank. 

He claims he files the lawsuits “out of the goodness of my heart” because he likes to help people be in compliance with the ADA.  Though most all of his cases settle, in at least 128 of them he asked for and was granted a fee waiver by the courts.  Thus, taxpayers are subsidizing his litigation.

When Cohan is not hiking or filing lawsuits, he is in the organ procurement business.  He procures organs for transplant.  When the television station reporter asked him about the procurement of organs, Cohan would not discuss the business.  However, his website indicates that he will arrange for a kidney for $115,000, or a heart, lung or liver for $225,000.

So be sure to vote on your choice for the #1 ridiculous lawsuit for September, here.

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