We thought we would start the week of with bringing you a selection of the World’s weirdest Compensation Claims. This Top 10 list highlights some of the most bizarre cases ever brought to a law court in our opinion. I’m pretty sure there are more out there which we haven’t come across yet. We would also like to thank Professor Gary Slapper for compiling the original list.
10 : A Russian astrologer, Marina Bai, sued NASA for 165 million pounds in 2005 for “disrupting the balance of the universe”. Her claim that the space agency’s ‘Deep Impact’ space probe – which was due to collide with a comet for a scientific experiment to collect samples from the comet – was an act of terrorism.
9 : In 2004, Frank D’Alessandro, from New York, sued the city for serious injuries that he sustained when a toilet he was sitting on exploded. He claimed $5 million compensation.
8 : In 2004, Timothy Dumouchel, from Wisconsin sued a television company for making his wife fat and turning his children into “lazy channel surfers”. He said: “I believe the reason I smoke and drink every day and my wife is overweight is because we watched the TV everyday for the last four years”.
7 : In September, 2004, a Judge form Sri Lanka, jailed a man for a year for yawning in court. N V P Ajith, a defendant in a criminal case, stretched out and yawned in a way that so infuriated the judge, the punishment for contempt was immediate.
6 : In 1874, Francis Evans Cornish, a magistrate from Winnipeg, Canada, had to try himself on a charge of being drunk in public. He convicted himself and fined himself five dollars with costs. But then he pronounced: “Francis Evans Cornish, taking into consideration past good behaviour, your fine is remitted”.
5 : A father from Zhengzhou, in China, was refused permission to name his son “@” after the keyboard character. Permission was declined on the legal basis that all names must be capable of being translated into Mandarin.
4 : In 2005 a Romanian prisoner, Pavel M., while serving 20 years for murder, sued God. He argued that his baptism was an agreement between him and God under which, in exchange for value such as prayer, God would keep him out of trouble.
3 : In 2005, a Brazilian woman sued her partner for failing to give her orgasms. The 31-year old woman stated that her 38-year old partner routinely ended sexual intercourse after he reached an orgasm. Her case was rejected.
2 : In 2004, a German lawyer, Dr Juergen Graefe, acted for an elderly pensioner who was sent a tax demand for €287 million, even though the woman’s income was only €17,000. Dr Graefe fixed the problem with one standard letter. But as German law entitles him to calculate his fee based on the amount of the reduction he obtained, his fee came to €440,234 (£308,000). It will be met by the state.
1 : Cathy McGowan, 26 of Derby, England, was overjoyed when a DJ told her that she had correctly answered a quiz question and had won the competition prize: a Renault Clio. However, when she arrived at the radio station to pick up her prize she was presented with a 4-inch model of the car. In 2001, she sued and a judge at Derby County Court ruled that the Radio Station and its owners to pay £8,000 for the real vehicle.