Top 10 ‘Most Ridiculous’ Lawsuits of 2016: Chamber of Commerce

By | December 30, 2016

Too much ice in an iced coffee? Too much lip balm left in the tube? Too much environmental damage from thousands of red balloons?

Lawsuits complaining about those situations made this year’s list of unnecessary litigation as judged by the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), a unit of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

ILR regularly shines a light on what it sees as abuses of the country’s legal system. Once a year at this time, it narrows down its reports to what it sees as the most ridiculous lawsuits of the year.

ILR’s Top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2016 were chosen from the year’s 10 most popular stories featured on its website,, and then ranked according to a national Google survey of 5,000 consumers across America conducted November 16-18.

The following is ILR’s Top 10 countdown and slightly-edited commentary:

  1. Business Fights Overzealous Government Prosecutors — and Wins

It took $25 million and 100 lawyers for a Minnesota company to beat overzealous federal prosecutors in court. The Feds’ suit claimed products were sold without proper government approval. The jury disagreed.

  1. Mom and Son Sue Over SAT Typo that Gave Students Extra Time

Test-taking is nerve-racking… but a lawsuit over extra test time? That’s what one mother and her son did after SAT test instructions mistakenly gave students five MORE minutes to complete a section.

  1. Hot Air: Man Sues Nebraska Cornhuskers To End Balloon Release

For 50 years, University of Nebraska football fans have celebrated Cornhusker touchdowns by releasing thousands of red balloons. But one fan’s lawsuit said this threatens the health and safety of wildlife, even though the balloons were environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Perhaps he’s not feeling that Husker school spirit.

  1. SoulCycle Rider Alleges Injury to Sue Trendy Indoor Cycling Outfit

Celebrity SoulCycle instructor Angela Davis got sued for running too rigorous a workout. A California woman claimed the instruction, the equipment and the music caused her to fall off the bicycle while the still-moving pedals banged into her ankle.

  1. Lawsuit Turns $40 Printer on Craigslist into $30,000 in Damages

How does a $40 printer on Craigslist turn into a $30,000 nightmare? When the buyer sues. The printer was broken, he claimed. Six years after the original sale, the case is ongoing. Can you say: most expensive printer ever?!

  1. MasterCard Blasts Lawsuit Over Cancer Fundraising

MasterCard has raised more than $30 million for cancer research . . . and that was too much for one card member who sued claiming the company continued fundraising after the original $4 million goal was met. The legal costs of raising more money for a good cause?? Sadly, not priceless.

  1. Monkey Business Coming to Ninth Circuit, Courtesy of PETA

In 2015, a British photographer used his camera for a series of popular “monkey selfies…” Animal rights activists sued on behalf of the monkey, claiming the primate—not the photographer—owned the copyright! In 2016, a court ruling allowed the lawsuit to continue.

  1. Woman Walks into Ladder While on Phone; Jury Award: $161,000

“Walking-while-texting,” which is now common, turned into a payday for a Georgia woman. She walked right into a ladder, causing her phone to hit her forehead! And now . . . she’s $161,000 richer.

  1. Court Tosses Lawsuit over Lip Balm Left in Tube

Did you ever think there was just a bit more lip balm at the bottom of the tube? Ever consider suing? That’s what a California woman did when she claimed Fresh, Inc. conned consumers into thinking there was more “Sugar Lip Treatment” in the empty tube. Her case was thrown out… along with that empty tube.

  1. Starbucks Feels Heat from Two Abusive Lawsuits

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, was hit by two class action lawsuits over how much java is in its cups. One says there’s a quarter inch too much steamed milk instead of coffee. Another says there’s too much ice in . . . you guessed it — the iced coffee.

Source: Institute for Legal Reform, U.S. Chamber of Commerce,

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