Tim Gilmore

What could make a judge wax poetic about “misty watercolor memories” and “scattered pictures of the smiles . . . left behind?” A lawsuit over a wedding. Or rather, a lawsuit to recreate a wedding.

A groom who tied the knot eight years ago decided that he was unhappy with the pictures and videos of his big day and is suing the photographer that he hired. In addition to a full refund for the photos, the groom wants $48,000 more so he can fly in family and friends to recreate the entire wedding. That might be easier said than done, considering that he and his wife have since divorced, and she returned to her native Latvia. The erstwhile groom’s suit is one of the nominees in this month’s Most Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Month poll. The others:

· Here’s a riddle: Say a group of three liquored-up friends steal a car, go for a drunken joyride, then get hurt when they inevitably crash the car. Who gets sued? The car’s 91-year-old owner, who was on vacation at the time of the theft. The plaintiffs, who were passengers in the stolen car, say the thief was hired to do occasional odd jobs for the defendant and should thus be considered an employee the night of the crash. Despite the fact that the thief was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, among other charges, the plaintiffs still think the car’s owner should be held liable for their injuries.

· Another nominee is taking Playboy to court over the company’s alleged favoritism towards women. Apparently, the plaintiff paid $1,000 to get into a “Leathers Meets Lace” party at the legendary Playboy Mansion, while “gorgeous ladies” were let in for free. The plaintiff calls the practice discriminatory (similar suits against Ladies Night promotions have been dismissed).

· A couple that was held at knifepoint by a fugitive while he was running from the police is being victimized by their attacker again – in court. The kidnapper, currently serving a 10-year sentence, says that the couple fed him and watched movies with him to put him at ease. He says he offered them a undisclosed amount of money if they would help him escape. Eventually he was caught by the authorities, which he claims breached the “contract” he made with his victims. The convict/plaintiff is suing the couple for $235,000.

· And last but not least, a New York lawyer is suing his health club after the club stopped offering complimentary breakfasts to members. The lawyer wants $230,000 in damages for the missed meals, plus an additional $500,000 for what he says was a “libelous comment” from a club employee.

So which of these suits in the most ridiculous? You can vote for your favorite at FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org. In case you missed it, here’s the winner from last month: the Michigan woman who sued the makers of the movie ‘Drive,’ saying she was deceived by the trailers into thinking the movie would be more like the ‘Fast and the Furious’ films.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming Most Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Year poll, which will feature some of the most egregious lawsuits from 2011. And visit FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org regularly throughout the new year for even more examples of ridiculous plaintiffs bringing ridiculous suits.


Tim Gilmore

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