Tim Gilmore

A few years ago, a group of five peacocks mysteriously arrived in a Michigan neighborhood.  No one has ever found where the birds came from, but 80 members of the community recently signed a petition to let them stay.  Why the petition now, after years of peaceful squatting?  It’s in response to a lawsuit filed by a resident who thinks the birds are a nuisance that have created “dangerous, offensive, or hazardous conditions.”

The suit accuses a local wildlife rescue organization of feeding the birds and sheltering them during the harsh Michigan winters, which the birds would supposedly not be able to survive otherwise.  The rescue group responds that they do occasionally feed the birds (as do most of the people in the neighborhood) but do not provide them any shelter, and the peacocks simply roost with native species during the colder months.

Animal control officers have put out traps for the birds but so far haven’t caught any, so the plaintiff now wants to force the wildlife rescue group to remove the birds.  Oh yeah, and they want monetary damages too.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources obviously doesn’t consider the peacock an indigenous species, but it does have a list of 29 other birds native to the state that can pose as much of a nuisance threat as the peacock, none of which are mentioned in the plaintiffs’ suit (so far).  They also have a list of hardier animals like cougar, moose, and badgers (oddly enough, the famous Michigan wolverine isn’t named – maybe the “dangerous” peacocks scared them off?)

So is this the most ridiculous lawsuit of the month?  Or is it one of these instead:

·         the woman suing the maker of her K-cup coffee pods, alleging that the product is not “fresh” and “delicious” as advertised

·         the man suing a grocer for $15,000 after he pricked his finger on a rose’s thorn

·         the Arkansas couple claiming that seismic activity was caused by fracking process

·         the woman who hired a lawyer to sue over false advertising claims before she actually bought the product

Vote at FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org!

Tim Gilmore

Tim Gilmore is an associate manager at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.