Personal Injury Suit

“She filed a personal injury suit against who!?!” 

7 Ridiculous Personal Injury Lawsuits (that duped the public)

Ridiculous Personal Injury Suit Part I-

This week I heard someone say that they wouldn’t eat at KFC “because of what they did to that little girl. ” Last month a horrific story was plastered all over the news.  A young girl, who went to KFC for a quick lunch with her grandmother, was kicked out of KFC.  Why?  Because the young girl was a dog bite victim, who suffered severe cuts and lacerations on her face.  According to the grandmother, the girl was told she looked too “scary” and KFC workers asked them to leave.  The grandmother said the girl was very traumatized by the incident.  Lawyers were knocking on the grandmother’s door, ready for a battle.  Over a hundred thousand dollars was donated to a charity that supports the young girl and KFC even pledged to donate $20,000.00 to the young girl for what occurred.  A few days after this atrocious incident leaked, what happened?  The entire story turned out to be a hoax.  The grandmother made it up.  And did you hear the news talk about that?  No.  It quietly disappeared.

A lot of the stories you hear on the news are not always what they appear to be.  This article focuses on personal injury lawsuits in the news.   We want to believe the news reports, because it feels good to believe that tons of people out there are stupider, meaner and greedier than we are.  And those people are what’s wrong with this country today. Not us. We like outrageous villains that don’t hit anywhere close to home.  Shame on KFC….and Tom Ridge for making some guy duck tape his private parts.

 Personal Injury Suit 1: Tom Ridge sued after someone duck taped his privates for “Homeland Security”

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

Tom Ridge’s advice to Americans to stock up on duct tape and plastic has sparked a lawsuit which has been filed against him, the Department of Homeland Security and President George W. Bush.  Steven J. Bosell, the owner of B & B Construction in Corona, California, has filed a lawsuit claiming emotional distress, personal injury and sexual dysfunction after he wrapped his “privates” in duct tape to protect them from a biological attack.

“After watching Mr. Ridge on television advising us to stock up on duct tape and plastic, I went to the local Costco and bought $100 worth of duct tape to protect myself”, Bosell said. “When I got home, I taped up my windows and doors. After I did that I realized if survivors like myself are going to reproduce and populate the Earth after a biological attack, we have to protect our privates as well.”

Also named in the lawsuit is the President of the United States, George W. Bush. “President Bush is just as liable for injury to my reproductive future because he hired Mr. Ridge to run the Department of Homeland Security and Mr. Ridge gave the nation bad advice. They also make me look like a fool.” Bosell sobbed.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

In reality no resident of Corona, California filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge for emotional distress after duct-taping his “privates.”  The public was confused by what they read.  Many did not realize that the piece was actually a spoof of the craze set off during the “Code Orange” security alert in February 2003 by the advice for U.S. resident to have duct tape and plastic sheeting on hand to create sealed-off environment in their homes in case of chemical or biological attack, as well as a jab as litigious cranks who file all sorts of lawsuits.

 Personal Injury Suit 2: Man in Phone Booth Hit by Drunk Driver, Sues Phone Company

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

President Ronald Reagan himself told this story, in these words:

“In California, a man was using a public telephone booth to place a call. An alleged drunk driver careened down the street, lost control of his car and crashed into a phone booth. Now, it’s no surprise that the injured man sued. But you might be startled to hear whom he sued: The telephone company and associated firms!”

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

By the time Reagan spoke of the Bigbee case, more than fourteen years had passed since the crash into the telephone booth and three years since the California Supreme Court issued its decision. Reagan’s version of Bigbee was technically correct, but misleading.  For one, it is important to appreciate at the start that the injured man did not just walk away from the telephone booth. Charles Bigbee had suffered very serious injuries, including the loss of his right leg and physical disability in his left.  And contrary to Reagan’s implication, Bigbee sued all those he felt contributed to his accident, including the more “likely suspects,” such as the alleged drunk driver, as well as Hollywood Turf Club at Hollywood Park, who he claimed had served alcohol to the driver that night. Furthermore, Bigbee never claimed that all phone booths were dangerous. Rather, he claimed that because this particular booth was very close to a six-lane thoroughfare and because its door was defective, he was unable to escape when he saw the car careening toward him.

Personal Injury Suit 3: Workman Puts Ladder in Manure, Slips, Sues Ladder Company

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

A ladder manufacturing company was hit with a $300,000 jury verdict in a slip and fall suit by a man who fell off a ladder because he set it in a pile of manure. The business owner claimed the lawsuit alleged the company should have warned buyers of the dangers of setting ladders in dung.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

In 1980, “60 Minutes” got duped in an anti-lawsuit segment.  The real lawsuit had nothing to do with manure.  The ladder had broken with less than 450 pounds on it, even though it had a safety rating that said it could support up to 1,000.  This is exactly the kind of thing you are supposed to sue about.  The show never ran a correction.

Personal Injury Suit 4:  Psychic says her powers vanished because of medical errors, Awarded $1 million

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

Judith Haimes, a self-proclaimed psychic, was awarded close to $1 million by a Philadelphia jury in March of 1986 after she said that a C.A.T. scan at Temple University Hospital made her lose her psychic abilities.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

Judith Richardson Haimes had indeed filed a medical malpractice claim after suffering a severe allergic reaction to an injection of dye prior to a CAT scan at Temple University Hospital in 1976.  As the jury heard it in the 1986 civil trial, the thirty-three-year-old Ms. Haimes warned the radiologist that she had previously experienced strong allergic reactions and had been admonished to avoid iodine-based dyes. The plaintiff testified that the radiologist dismissed the warning as “ridiculous.” After the doctor persisted and proposed to experiment with a small dose of the dye, Haimes finally relented. Almost immediately, the patient went into anaphylactic shock and experienced severe pain, later testifying that she felt “as if my head was going to explode” (Haimes v. Temple University Hospital and Hart). Haimes suffered from extreme nausea and vomiting along with the intense headaches for several days.  Welts and hives that initially appeared on her body lingered for several weeks. She testified that acute headaches continued thereafter whenever she attempted deep mental concentration.  In addition to the pain and suffering described above, she contended she is no longer able to read auras that surround people, conduct seances, and observe the past and the future.

Judith Haimes sought legal relief from the doctor and hospital for the immediate pain and other consequences of the dye injection as well as for the protracted, debilitating headaches that ended her practice as a professional psychic. National and local law enforcement officials affirmed that the plaintiff in the past had aided them in solving crimes through use of her unusual gifts, a legacy well documented for some time by Philadelphia media.  Lt. Alfred Fritzinger, of the Whitehall Township police, in suburban Allentown, Pa said he came to be “a believer in Judith Richardson” after she provided clues in a murder case and warned him his wife was ill, even though she appeared to be in good health.

At the conclusion of the four-day trial, however, Pennsylvania state court judge Leon Katz instructed the jury to ignore the latter component of her claim because Haimes failed to produce any expert testimony linking the injection of dye to her continuing headaches and alleged loss of income. Defense attorney Richard Galli hailed Katz’s ruling as “the correct decision,” while Haimes’ attorney, Josel Lieberman, said he would ask the judge to reconsider.  The judge determined that only her claim for immediate pain and suffering from the allergic reaction was to be considered.

The jury returned within three quarters of an hour, after assessing only her claim for immediate pain and suffering.  The jury did NOT consider her claim that she can no longer be a psychic.  The jury awarded Haines $986,000 for her pain and suffering.  The defendant immediately moved to set aside the judgment. Four and a half months later, Judge Katz agreed, denying the award as “grossly excessive” and ordering a new trial. A second trial in 1989 was dismissed when the new judge ruled that the plaintiff’s medical expert lacked qualifications. That ruling was affirmed in 1991 by a divided Pennsylvania Superior Court. In the end, Judith Haimes never received a cent for her civil claim of injury, much less adequate medical care for her condition.

Personal Injury Suit 5:  Disneyland sued after children see costumed characters without their heads.

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

Disneyland was sued by the parents of children who were traumatized after glimpsing cast members costumed as Disney characters walking around backstage with their costume heads removed.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

Lonnie and Karen Boozer expected their 5-year-old daughter to ride some rides, eat some frozen bananas and shake hands with Mickey Mouse during their family vacation to Disneyland.  They did not expect her to end up in therapy.  But their trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth” took an unpleasant detour, the Boozers say, when the entire family was accused of shoplifting a $2.50 piggy bank, detained, interrogated and searched. They were released in time for daughters Lyndsey, 5, and Melissa, 2, to see a parade of costumed Disney characters get off work and march down a back street carrying their heads in their hands.

Karen Boozer states that the experience drove daughter Lyndsey to a therapist’s couch.  As a result, the couple did file a $1 million lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing the Walt Disney Co. of false arrest and false imprisonment.

The amusement park settled for an undisclosed sum with Karen and Lonnie Boozer of Idaho Falls, who had sought $1 million.Disney officials declined to comment Friday on the lawsuit. The Boozers and their attorney said terms of the out-of-court settlement prohibited them from disclosing the settlement amount.

So, although Disneyland has been the target of lawsuits over incidents that included children viewing headless Disney characters, both lawsuits were based on larger complaints and only included claims about headless characters as afterthoughts or secondary claims.

Personal Injury Suit 6: A woman sued a pharmacy from which she bought contraceptive jelly because she became pregnant even after eating the jelly with toast.

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

This frivolous case allegedly took place in Philadelphia. The story was that a woman sued the pharmacy that sold her a popular contraceptive jelly-.  The reason?  She ate the jelly on toast and got pregnant anyway.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

Every once in a while an invented tale from a crazy tabloid escapes from its natural habitat and makes its way into the civilized world.  The mainstream news and entertainment media then pick it up and report it as a “true story.”  Such was the case with this incident.

Bottom line- it never happened.

Personal Injury Suit 7: Lady Trips on Pothole, Sues, Whole Town Goes Bankrupt

What the public thinks happened in this personal injury suit:

According to this NBC Nightly News report, Sally Stewart was shopping one day in a small city near Branson, MO, when she tripped on a pothole. She sued the small town, which consequently filed for bankruptcy when they didn’t have enough money to pay her award. Of course those nice folks of Reeds Spring had nothing against Sally Stewart, but that didn’t stop the rest of the American public to hate what they perceived to be a litigious and greedy woman.

What really happened in this personal injury suit:

Upon further investigation, you’ll see that trip and fall injury required surgery.  The hole she tripped on was buried in grass at a gap in the sidewalk that the city’s crosswalk was directly connected to, implying that’s the official place you need to be if you wanted to legally walk across a crosswalk.  She also sued the store owners, because it was a little unclear exactly who was responsible for thr sidewalk gap, but the court decided it fell under the city’s jurisdiction.

Aside from all that, under normal circumstances, the city’s insurance would have covered it and everyone could have moved on happily.  Now, here comes the real point of the story and the true villain:

The town didn’t have insurance.  Why?  Because Joe Dan Dwyer was the former mayor at the time and he did not feel insurance was an important thing to have.  He eventually left office under investigation for insurance fraud, as well as child porn, having sex with a 15-year old and paying off witnesses to say the girl lied.  He’s the one who let the city’s insurance lapse and ultimately the reason why the town went bankrupt.  Apparently he also passed on the opportunity to work things out reasonably with Sally.  Former mayor Joe Dan Dwyer met her initial attempts to settle by saying “… to collect any damage with us you will probably have to sue us” and that “the chance of us paying this without a lawsuit is practically zero.”

So, while it is easy to pin the blame on the lady and “these crazy lawsuits these days,” the real villain in this case is the child-molesting, insurance-defrauding former mayor.

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