Everybody wants to be like Mike, except for Allen Heckard of Portland, Oregon. In 2006, Heckard sued Michael Jordan and the Nike corporation for over $800 million after alleging that his uncanny resemblance to the NBA superstar had led to defamation, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering. “I’m constantly being accused of looking like Michael,” Heckard said at the time, “and it makes it very uncomfortable for me.”
In 1991, a man named Richard Overton filed a lawsuit against Anheiser-Busch for false advertising that had led to emotional distress, mental injury, and financial loss. Harris alleged that, unlike the what happens to guys in their ads, when he drank Bud Light the ladies weren’t attracted to him, nor did beautiful women and tropical settings appear out of thin air, as they did in another Budweiser commercial that was airing at the time.
In 2006, Curtis Gokey filed a lawsuit against the city of Lodi, California when one of their dump trucks accidentally backed into his car. The problem? Gokey, a city employee, was the guy driving the dump truck. Even though he freely admitted the accident had been his fault, Gokey sued the city for $3,600 in damages. After the city denied the claim and asserted that he couldn’t legally sue himself, Gokey filed a new lawsuit, this time in his wife’s name.
One thing all surfers hate is when someone “snakes” a wave that they were in a better position to ride. A California man once took this anger to the courts when he supposedly sued another surfer for “stealing a wave” that he believed was meant for him. The man alleged that he had endured “pain and suffering” as a result of not being able to carve up the surf, and attempted to take the wave thief to court.
Teunis Tenbrook, a philosophy student at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, sued his school after he was thrown out for having unusually smelly feet. Professors and other students had complained that the smell was overpowering and made it impossible to conduct classes, and Tenbrook was eventually expelled from both the school and its library. He sued, and after a ten-year legal battle, a judge ruled in 2009 that having smelly feet is no excuse to prevent a student from continuing their studies
Marina Bai is a Russian astrologer who sued NASA in July of 2005 for allegedly “disrupting the balance of the universe.” At the time, NASA had just fired the Deep Impact space probe into the comet Tempel 1 in the hope of studying its interior. Bai sued for damages and “moral sufferings,” alleging that the comet and “the natural balance of forces in the universe” would never be the same, and that her astrology business would be adversely affected as a result.
In 2008, a Canadian man brought a $2 billion lawsuit against several corporations after claiming that the companies had repeatedly dabbled in witchcraft, satanic rituals, and brain wave control in an attempt to bolster profits. The man, named Jerry Rose, alleged that companies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart had subjected him to “invasive brain computer interface technology, research, experiments, field studies and surgery.” Rose also named several universities and professors as defendants in the case, saying that they had helped engineer the “brain-drain” technologies that had made the mind control tactics possible.
In San Francisco in 1964, a woman named Gloria Sykes was injured after the cable car she was riding on malfunctioned and careened down a hill. Sykes suffered a black eye and some scratches in the accident, but she filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the city for a much more curious reason: she claimed the accident had triggered a “demonic sex urge” in her. Sykes said the trauma from the accident had led to her developing an uncontrollable nymphomania, and that after it happened she’d had sex with over 100 men, as many as 50 in one week. The case made headlines in the Bay Area when it went to court, and many called it one of the most egregious abuses of the legal system in history.
In 2005, a Romanian prisoner named Pavel Mircea attempted to sue God for fraud and gross negligence. Mircea, who had spent twenty year behind bars for murder, claimed that God had failed to deliver him from evil, as he had been promised at his christening, and that this was tantamount to a breach of contract. Mircea sued for an undisclosed amount, partially to be reimbursed for money he had spent on prayer candles and other religious goods, and directed his case toward the Officials of the Romanian Orthodox Church, whom he considered to be God’s representatives on Earth.