What?! Cashing in on stupidity

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Have you heard the story of Carl Truman? He was awarded $74,000 and medical expenses when he sued his neighbor after Truman’s hand was injured, run over by a Honda Accord.

Mr. Truman was attempting to steal the hubcaps off the neighbor’s Honda at the time.

In this world we live in, just when you think you’ve heard it all, you read about an unbelievable lawsuit being won and think, “Now THAT has to top them all!”

Unbelievable. The one that made me sit up and take notice was a lawsuit won by Rose Tramaine of Wisconsin. She sued and won in excess of $100,000 after she sued her neighbor for spreading manure all over the neighborhood just as she was about to welcome guests to her brand new home for a party.

Turned out the neighbor was the dairy farmer from whom she had purchased the land on which to build her new home, and the “neighborhood” was hundreds of acres of his farm fields.

Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pa., robbed a house and found himself trapped in the family’s garage back in October 1998. The malfunctioning garage door opener would not allow him to exit, and he had pulled the locked door shut to the home after he had finished robbing it, so he couldn’t re-enter the home.

He existed on a case of Pepsi and a bag of dry dog food for a week while the family was away on vacation. He sued for “undue mental anguish” and the jury awarded him half a million dollars.

In January 2000, Kathleen Robertson won $750,000 in a lawsuit she filed against a furniture store, after she tripped over a toddler running around inside the store, breaking her ankle.

The owners of the furniture store were shocked at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little boy was Kathleen Robertson’s son!

An Arizona woman was awarded $450,000 after tripping on a gopher hole, spraining her ankle, while walking in a park. Michele Nations sued the city for failing to post a warning in the park that this could happen.

A Tennessee inmate is suing the state for taking away his right to possess pornography. Gary Cone is on death row.

In probably the craziest one of all, Mr. George Cates of Clifton, Colo., sued the Winnebago Company because in his first trip out in his new vehicle, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and then calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back and make himself a cup of coffee.

Not too surprisingly, the Winnebago left the freeway and crashed. He sued for damages because the owner’s handbook did not advise him he could not do this.

Mr. Cates won $1,750,000 and a brand new Winnebago. And the Winnebago company changed their handbooks to include very clear warnings that this could happen, just in case any additional morons needed it spelled out for them!

Amazement. What continues to amaze me is that while there are obviously some people in this world who wish to cash in on their own blatant stupidity and greed, others who are living with valid, life-altering problems that may very well be someone else’s fault would never dream of filing a legal complaint to cash in on their misfortune.

Our extreme differences continue to make the world go ’round.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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