The 8 craziest lawsuits of 2011

From a two-cent discrepancy to a mid-air cockroach sighting, some people will sue over just about anything

Hundreds of thousands of lawsuits were filed in America in 2011
(Image credit: Tim Pannell/Corbis)

America is a notoriously litigious nation. A 2005 study showed that our nation has 3.3 lawsuits for every 1,000 citizens. And while many suits are noble and just, countless legal battles seem to be pointless wastes of time, money, or both. Here, eight of 2011's more ridiculous lawsuits:

1. The couple who sued over a mid-air cockroach sighting

A North Carolina couple sued Air Tran Airways for $100,000, claiming that they saw cockroaches on a flight. Harry Marsh and Kaitlin Rush say the sight of cockroaches crawling out of an air vent "caused great distress," and forced them to throw away clothing in their luggage for fear of roach contamination.

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2. The moviegoer who sued Drive for its lack of driving

Michigan resident Sarah Deming sued the studio that distributed Drive and the theater where she saw it, claiming that trailers sold the film as a Fast and the Furious-like blockbuster. Instead, she complains, the movie "bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film… having very little driving."

3. The fugitive who sued his hostages for escaping

A fugitive who took a Kansas couple hostage in their home sued them for $235,000. Accused murderer Jesse Dimmick claims Jared and Lindsay Rowley accepted his knifepoint offer of money to hide in their house. But the Rowleys later breached their "oral contract" by escaping as he slept, Dimmick says, "resulting in my being shot in the back by authorities."

4. The woman who sued after being "forced" to listen to Limbaugh

A woman sued Texas police, alleging that after her arrest for a traffic violation, she was forced to endure Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Bridgett Nickerson Boyd, who is African-American, says that an officer unjustly arrested her and handcuffed her in a police car, where she had to listen to the conservative radio host "make derogatory comments about black people."

5. The employee who got fired for working overtime

A former manager at Target sued the company, claiming he was fired for working during his lunch break. Target requires employees to clock out for half an hour for lunch. But Jason Kellner, an eight-year veteran, says his lunch was often interrupted by requests from customers and supervisors and that he never expected to be fired for helping them.

6. The groom who demanded a restaging of his wedding

Todd Remis was so unhappy with the photos of his 2003 nuptials that he demanded the photographers refund their $4,100 fee — and cough up another $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding, to be shot by a new photographer. Among the complications: Remis divorced in 2009, and his ex-wife, Milena Grzibovska, is believed to be living in her native Latvia.

7. The Walmart customer who sued over two cents

Mary Bach won't stand for getting nickel and dimed — or even pennied. The Pennsylvania consumer activist sued Walmart after she was overcharged by two cents (on two separate occasions) for a package of sausages with a shelf price of $.98 that rang up for $1. "This isn't an isolated incident," Bach said. Walmart maintained that the price discrepancy was simply due to new packaging, and argued that Bach was just looking for a lawsuit. But a district court judge sided with Bach, awarding her $100 in damages and some $80 for legal costs.

8. The kids who sued mom for failing to spoil them

The First District Appellate Court of Illinois dismissed a lawsuit brought against a mother by her two children. Her alleged crime? "Bad mothering." The son, 23, and daughter, 20, enlisted three attorneys — one of whom is their father and the woman's ex-husband — to accuse mom of insisting that her then-teenage daughter be home by midnight, "haggling" over party dress budgets, and failing to send college care packages. The (not-so) spoiled kids sought more than $50,000 in damages.

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