"I am a personal injury lawyer in the UK. I took a call from a potential client that had fallen down the stairs in her own home. She had tripped over her own cat. She told me that she wanted to sue her local authority as her home was owned by the council and she was not allowed to keep pets as part of her lease. She claimed that when the house was inspected she was not told to get rid of the cat. It was therefore the council's fault that she fell down the stairs.
We didn't take the case on."
"My mother said that at a law firm she used to work at many years ago they had received a call from a gentleman that wanted to file a lawsuit against Walt Disney. When asked why he was filing suit he claimed that the Disney characters were coming out of the TV and stealing food from his refrigerator. They told him they'd take the case for an advance fee of $100K and never heard back from him."
"Client wanted to sue because there were no strawberries in her fruit salad which she bought from a supermarket. Thankfully a secretary was able to screen the call. She asked if the package said it had strawberries, and the response was, 'No, but I thought it would have.' I don't know how these people manage to make it through life."
"My friend at work, his girlfriend filed for divorce a few weeks ago. That's right. They aren't married and common law doesn't apply in WA state. They lived together for 5 years. She has a job. She isn't on the mortgage. And she left him a few months ago. There are no kids involved. They were never engaged.
In the 'divorce' she wants him to leave his house and she wants to move back in. She wants him to pay her 2800 a month for some reason. I referred him to my divorce attorney and now that attorney is probably going to represent him. The chick is nuts. She has already tried to get a restraining order against him that was dismissed. he filed and had him served via certified mail and claimed he was avoiding service because he wasn't home for several days. She put all kinds of things in the divorce paperwork that don't belong. In the dismissed restraining order she said she wanted her furniture and this and that ...she is representing herself and is from Guatemala. She is clueless."
"The guy who cut off all of his fingers would be a serious contender. He clearly had some really awful mental illness, I assumed schizophrenia or psychosis, but I never really found out what his deal was.
Anyway, he had decided one evening that a good way to get some money would be to break into a butchers shop and use a meat saw to cut all his fingers and both thumbs off at the knuckles, which is pretty much exactly what he did.
He was found the next morning, somehow having survived. He was put in a mental health facility and made a pretty much full, albeit fingerless, recovery.
Anyway, he wanted to sue someone. He didn't really know who he wanted to sue, he had just got it into his head that if he was injured he would get compensation. I remember his biggest question was whether he would get more money if he went back and cut off his feet too."
"I run a consumer advocacy firm. I had a client come in and tell me that he bought a product, and the company refused to honor the warranty after the product broke. I asked for details, and he just started screaming in my face asking if I was going to take his money or not. I decided then that I wasn't taking him on as a client, but I wanted to know what was going on. I convinced him to tell me what happened. Turns out he bought a computer back in the 1990s. It had just recently died. But not because it was old and just stopped working. It was slow, so he picked it up, and threw it out a two story window. And then he wanted to sue the manufacturer for breaking warranty."
"I was working in a law firm and got a call from reception advising that someone had arrived needing some intellectual property advice. I arrived at reception to find a clearly disturbed woman with a persistent facial twitch and a small wheeled suitcase. I took her to a conference room to discuss, making sure I kept a good line of sight to reception. She put the suitcase on the table and opened it to reveal a stack of thousands of handwritten pages and one half of a pair of scissors (so I guess a scissor?). She explained that she had written a manuscript about how the city council gave her schizophrenia and hepatitis, aliens stole her pets and that it was all part of a bigger conspiracy involving the army and the Illuminati. She was worried that our local newspaper was going to steal her thoughts and publish her manuscript without her consent, and wanted to register the copyright in her manuscript. We then had a perfectly rational and reasonable discussion about copyright laws. I explained that in our jurisdiction she didn't need to register it and that she had rights as an author automatically on creation of the work. I told her the most useful thing she could do is ensure she had evidence of her creative work, and that she should send a digital copy to herself and a friend, and also leave a copy with a friend. That way if it was published without her consent she could prove it was her work. We spoke for nearly an hour, she thanked me and then left. She got free legal advice, and I didn't get stabbed with a scissor. I hope she found the help she needs."
"Without going into too many details --- had a guy that wanted to bring a class action against the company that made his underwear, because he was convinced his underwear was the reason he had a crooked private part. He assured us that as soon as the jury saw his private part, they'd side with him. No, we didn't take it."
"A guy found a rock in the middle of Melbourne's central business district that he believed came from an underground volcano; therefore he discovered the volcano and he owned the volcano and that the Melbourne city council and indeed the Victorian government should pay him rent to live on top of his underground volcano.
No no I did not take on the case"
"My father is a patent attorney, and when I was around 14 he told me about a guy who wanted to patent the iPhone 3 because 'aliens' had given him the design for it. My father told him that if the aliens originally designed then they were the ones that had to patent it, not him."
"I dealt with a guy once who wanted me to take on his road traffic accident personal injury claim. He had written a poem, in Yoruba (A dialect in Nigeria), about the accident. He refused to tell me anything about his case until he's read the whole thing, in Yoruba.
Among other problems, I can't speak any Yoruba. As in, not one word. As in, that day was the first time I had ever heard of the Yoruba language. I'm not even from a part of the world where I might readily be mistaken for someone who speaks Yoruba. It's a West African language, and I am really, really obviously not from a West African background.
I try to explain this to the guy who becomes very agitated and insists that he must read out his poem in Yoruba. I give up and tell him to get on with it so we can talk about his claim. He does. It takes him nearly 20 minutes to finish.
Anyway, after he's done, he finishes and sits back with a big smile and says that he's certain I'll take his case on now. I begin to ask him some questions about his case, but he refuses to answer. He says that this poem (in Yoruba) is everything I need to know about his case.
Basically, I tell him to screw off and stop wasting my time. He does, but not before standing around outside my office for an hour or so, reading out his poem, to no-one in particular, over and over again.
"My dad is an in house lawyer for a major American insurance company. He once spent an entire year trying to help deny insurance benefits for a painter who had stepped off his ladder onto a cat, fallen down the stairs and become paralyzed. The insurance company was arguing that a cat was a commonly expected occupational hazard for a painter and that he was negligent in not checking for cats before stepping down. A whole year of his life. Over whether a cat is a known occupational hazard of house painting."
"I never did much criminal defense, but a man, who we'll call Dennis, came into my office with a Driving While Intoxicated charge and a Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle charge - both misdemeanors. Dennis swore up, down, and sideways that 1) he does not drink and was not intoxicated, 2) he never drove the vehicle, and 3) that he has a valid driver's license.
I give Dennis the names of some local criminal defense and DWI attorneys and suggest he try them out. Dennis refuses, saying I'm the lawyer he wants (in hindsight, I should have realized that he probably had already gone to these other attorneys and only came to me after they refused to take his case).
I charge the guy $200 for an intake and record review fee and contact the local court, police station, and district attorney's office for information and paperwork. I find out that not only did this guy blow a .18 on the breathalyzer, but the cops did a blood test on him after he kept insisting he wasn't drunk. The blood test came back with a .22 BAC. As for driving, the separate squad cars witnessed Dennis's vehicle run over a mailbox and drive off; he was followed and pulled over on the block. Per the police report, Dennis was the only person in the car and was in the driver's seat with a seat belt on. Oh, and I tracked down his license through the DMV and it had expired three years ago and was suspended for two years prior to that.
I called Dennis back into my office and told him he did not have a case that should be taken to trial. Dennis admitted that he probably had been drunk, but he wasn't aware he had been drinking. His son must have put fireball whiskey in his green tea and he didn't realize there was whiskey in his green tea because he was eating red hot cinnamon candies and had a cold/stuffy nose. Anyways, Dennis retains me, but only after I put a clause in his engagement agreement stating I explained his low chance at trial and he understood there was no guarantee of a win.
I take the case to trial and, of course, we lose. I was hoping to convince Dennis to take one of the plea offers given to us in advance, but absolutely not. Dennis was sure the judge would understand (Dennis wanted a bench trial, not a jury trial - I made him sign another document later on that said he understood the difference between a bench and jury trial and he was opting for the bench trial) and he would be found not guilty and everyone would move on. He was sorely disappointed, but only got probation after trial - I think the judge was taking pity on me more than Dennis.
Dennis later sued me for his retainer because I didn't adequately defend him. As proof of my inadequate representation, he offered the judge's verdict rendering him guilty. The case was thrown out quickly."
"I'm in immigration, so most of my 'stupid' cases involve people trying to con the system or 'forgot' to tell us material information.
One lady stood out, though. She was referred to us as a pro bono case. She was filing for asylum based on the fact that's she's a Chinese national and she's also a devote Christian. If she was sent back, she would be persecuted based on religious reasons. So nothing weird up to this point. She provided me with statements about how she and her family were harassed by the local police and how certain members of her congregation were arrested.
So I'm looking at the statements and the names and places sound familiar. Sure enough, a quick googling showed this was one of the 'bought' stories. Essentially what happens is there are people on the internet that sells these packages of fake documents and stories for a successful asylum case. From what I've heard, it usually is a real case that was successful, and someone got a hold of the supporting documents and started mass producing them and selling them. I'm guessing you're supposed to change the names from the original, but this lady didn't. (another red flag was the fact that in her supporting documents, the witnesses kept referring to her in the male form. At first I thought the English translation had typos, but yeah same thing in the original Chinese ones) I always thought it was more of an urban legend amongst immigration lawyers.
Needless to say, I did not take her case..."
"I'm a lawyer, but this happened to a friend of mine. He got engaged and apparently this angered his ex-gf. The ex-gf sued him for custody of their two cats AND $500,000 for something like the lost value of the cats because she claimed they were service animals. Hint: they were not at all service animals."
"A guy in his late 50's/early 60's comes into the lobby area of my office and starts a commotion that freaks out the receptionist. I was the closest attorney to the lobby so I go out and talk to the guy. He was clearly mentally disturbed and presented the following story: someone had implanted a device in his brain that was controlling his behavior. He believed it was being controlled by Baskin Robbins and a former mayor of Detroit. He believed they were forcing him to do random things like going to bars to drink, taking the wrong turn when driving, forcing him to retire from his job, and a lot of very other intricate things. After asking him if he had seen any doctors regarding the 'implant' he got really upset and said that he thought the doctors were in on it as well. After telling him I couldn't help him and suggesting that he find some new doctors, he asked me if I knew any lawyers who specialized in his kind of case.
I often wonder if the lawyer I referred him to was able to help him."
"I had a teacher that worked for a major video game publisher
He told me that when people tried to sue them for small amounts due to some game being bad, they would just pay whatever the person wanted, it was cheaper than dealing with the country terrible justice system.
Except one day a guy sued them because a game was bad, he was a law student, self representing, and tried to throw the book at the company.
They decided to make a exception for this guy, they instead 'threw the book back' at him, the lawsuit kept escalating until both sides wasted lots of time and money...
Then as final stroke, they offered to settle in front of a judge. There in front of the judge... they put the price of the game on the table in cash, and told the guy to just take it and stop bothering them.
The judge thought it was very fair, and told the guy that if he refused that settlement he would be fined.
Guy was very unhappy... he spend like $5000 in bureaucracy and airplane fares to get $60."
"I had a client come in saying that he 'needed to sue Stu for robbing all his checks. 'When I asked him if Stu had a last name, he said no. When I asked him if he knew any Stu, he said no. When I asked him what proof he had that Stu was robbing him, he showed me all of his pay stubs.
There were clear, monthly deductions by 'SCU.' As soon as I saw it, I knew. I asked 'Do you have children?' He said yes.
I then told him 'Your 'Stu' is the SCU - the Support Collection Unit. They take money out of your check to pay for your child.'
He left the office insisting that we needed to find Stu."
"Not a lawyer but worked for a large national insurer who dealt with frivolous lawsuits frequently.
Idiot is visiting friends in the country and gets drunk, decides to wander across the street to the driveway of a farm. Ignores the multiple signs that say 'no trespassing' & 'Beware dog' in both English and Spanish.
Gets to the end of the driveway and there's a large dog chained to a post in the front yard barking its head off at him. Farmer comes out and tells the idiot to stay away from the dog, idiot says something to the effect that he's 'good with dogs' and tries to pet the dog.
Dog takes off his finger and the idiot drops his beer bottle as he runs back the way he came. Owner tries to save the finger for reattachment but the guy disappears (and so the farmer turns everything over to the police).
Shortly thereafter we denied the idiot's claim and he lawyers up. Every time he lawyered up we'd send the documents to the lawyer, lawyer would review and then drop the case. Happened multiple times. Idiot insisted we needed to pay for his 'emotional trauma.'"
"Worked as IT for a family law firm. One day a lady comes in asking to have an attorney look at her divorce. She goes in with the lawyer and tells him she wants the divorce on the grounds that he was beating her. The attorney explained that he would be willing to do it, but advised that because the marriage was so short(just a few months)the easiest way to get a divorce and get away from her abuser was just to file a no fault and get it over with. She starts yelling, throwing things at, and hitting him(mind you he is an older guy in his late 60s at this point) telling him that if she could get 4 other divorces from him then she could do it a 5th. She had married and divorced the same guy 4 times before this...
The firm didn't take the case, but our sister firm(what we called the firm our firm split off of) did take on the guy's case. Turns out she had actually been the abusive one basically holding him and their kids hostage with threats of telling the police he was harming the kids and beating her."
"Sometimes, you have no choice but to take it.
I represented a guy who sold & leased cars.
A woman worked for a company that let her drive a company van to work as part of a car pool effort. She'd keep the van at home and picked up fellow workers to go to work, then bring them back to their homes. One day going to work, she was stopped at a stop light. Some guy didn't stop in time and bumped into the van. She got out to look, she and the other guy agreed no damage, so each went on his/her way.
Later, a woman who as a passenger decided/discovered she was injured. Went to a lawyer. The lawyer sued the company, the driver, and every passenger in the van. The lawyer deposed each passenger, got the name of their auto insurance company, sent a demand letter for coverage. One of the passengers said, 'I don't have a car. But my sister does.' So they sued the sister. She said, 'I don't have insurance because I lease the car, and they provide insurance.' So the lawyer sued my client and sent a demand letter for insurance coverage."
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