Legal dramas on TV make court cases look so intense, with surprise witnesses and shocking last minute turnarounds. While the reality is that most court battles are less exciting, every now and then, something weird happens. Here are some real life courtroom plot twists that show how any legal battle can become unpredictable in an instant.
The Poop Flood
Had a case where a man refused to pay rent because his apartment smelled terrible and was making him sick. His landlord tried to evict him. A few days after taking the case and before his first hearing the ceiling in his bathroom collapsed.
Turns out some plumbing wasn't connected and his ceiling/walls had been filling with poop for weeks/months. The landlord settled pretty quickly after that. Story credit: Reddit / hoktopolis
The Cover Up
I remember a guy called me and wanted to take action against the Post Office. He had received a letter from them saying, that they would no longer deliver packages to him as he was never appropiately dressed when he opened the door to accept them.
I remember being nervous about asking him to elaborate. Story credit: Reddit / NuukFartjar
My family member sued me for taking down their website. I created the website. I hosted the website. I had no problem doing it since they were family and it ran on my server. Unfortunately, they got too much traffic. They started being very hostile to my parents. I took down their site.
I sent them a letter about how families should treat one another with a passworded zip of all their files. The password was at the bottom of the letter so they had to read it to receive it.
Got sued for six figures. They were pulling in at most $300 a month. They said that I did irreputable damage to their site and that they couldn't get the site online because it was impossible. In court, they brought the whole database printed out.
When they showed it to me on the stand, I laughed because I told the judge, that's all the information that they said they couldn't receive or open. All the counts were in my favor. Best part was prior to our court session, my lawyer suggested highly that we settle out of court.
I offered $10,000. They didnt' take it. After they lost, their lawyer asked if we could just settle on the amount from settlement. My lawyer told them to get lost. It was glorious. Story credit: Reddit / RandomFromHawaii
But... Why Do You Need More Magic Cards?
As a public defender I defended a grown man accused of stealing Magic: The Gathering cards from Walmart. There was an hour long security video meticulously showing, from dozens of angles, that he was picking up sets of cards, unwrapping them and discarding the wrappers around the store.
He insisted that he was innocent and we actually went to a jury trial instead of securing a plea deal. It took the jury 8 minutes to convict him and the judge laid into my client telling him that he was the worst thief he had ever seen.
I forgot the best part. At one point in the trial I had to spend 45 minutes explaining to the judge what magic cards are. He couldn't understand why anyone need more than one deck. Story credit: Reddit / mountaineer5710
Defended a guy who sent poop through the mail to his ex-gf from state prison. I don't know how it got past prison officials, but it did, and he didn't deny sending it.
However, we went to trial because he wanted me to argue that the poop was expressive speech, and thus protected by the 1st Amendment. We lost. Story credit: Reddit / seanamott
When I was in law school I clerked with a solo practitioner. Our client wanted to go to trial over a charge of impersonating a police officer. What happened that led up this?
One night our client got drunk and ordered a pizza for delivery. Now, I've been there before, it can be frustrating to wait forever for that glorious, delicious pizza, especially in an inebriated state of mind.
Well, this guy's genius idea to speed things up for himself was to call the pizza place back and tell them he was a police officer and if they don't hurry it up there would be trouble.
However, as it turns out, the guy who answered the phone at the pizza joint was a volunteer firefighter and asked for our client's name because he knew all the police officers in that town.
When our client gave him his real name (derp), and inevitably it turned out that he was not, in fact, a police officer, a small investigation led to him being charged.
Before trial our client wanted us to argue he had a First Amendment right to tell people was a cop (he doesn't). Story credit: Reddit / Agent--Orange
Sovereign Citizen / Freeman type person stole the little placard off the judge's bench that had the judge's name on it while the judge was away. When judge came back and called his case the guy insisted that the judge had no authority over him without the placard.
This brilliant legal strategy did not work and he was arrested for contempt. This was in Florida, if you couldn't guess. Story credit: Reddit / stufff
The Parent Trap
I was doing an armed robbery trial, where we had the defendant’s DNA linking him to the crime. Now, putting on DNA evidence is no small task;
You have to put on every link in the chain, and I had to sweet talk 2 retired officers to come out of retirement to testify and a scientist who was carrying the Special Olympics torch on trial day.
And not only is it serious work to get all the evidence presented, but then you have to explain and argue the science. And it was my first time.
I felt like I had climbed Everest when I finally rested my case, and then the defense attorney turned to his client as though he was being told a secret and exclaimed dramatically: “ oh you DO?! You have an IDENTICAL TWIN??!!”
I knew defendant had a brother... and that was it. The defense’s case consisted of bringing in defendants little old mother who presented little old photograph of her 2 boys from when they were toddlers, dressed in matching pajamas and sitting on Santa’s lap. That was the entire defense.
And it was enough for reasonable doubt. I lost that one. Story credit: Reddit / pinkandperjurous
Goodbye Jury Duty
Not a lawyer but was called for jury duty. I, along with about sixty of my peers, were shuffled into a courtroom so the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney could pick a jury.
We got an explanation of the process and stuff from the judge, then he read a list of names and asked if anyone in the group knew anyone on the list.
One young guy raises his hand and when asked, says, “Yeah, John Smith? He was in my math class senior year and came in one day and told everyone he robbed a 7-Eleven.”
Welp, our day of jury duty ended pretty much right there. I guess John Smith was the defendant and was in court that day up against charges relating to the armed robbery of a convenience store. We were all escorted out and sent home. Story credit: Reddit / notquiteajuror
Asking the Expert
My sister was ticketed for having farm animals on her property. Since the ticket is less than hiring a lawyer most people would just have to pay it and get on with their lives. But since her dad is a lawyer she could fight the ticket.
When the court date arrived the prosecuter thought he had a slam dunk case. He was shocked when he was asked what expert witness he had brought for the case.
Of course my sister is a large animal vet and counted as an expert in the field. My father read the local code, and found the exceptions that applied, and had his expert witness testify that the animals in question were defined as an exemption to what the code defined.
The case was dismissed by the judge after that. Story credit: Reddit / coh_phd_who
Friends in High Places
A client came to his office and flat out told him they were putting on a show trial, and the client wanted my friend to represent him because of his military background. This person claimed that the case had to be 100% prepared to go to trial, but that it would be thrown out before that happened.
The case was prepared, court proceedings began, motions were filed, etc. This went on for months, and it really seemed like trial was inevitable.
Finally some attorney for the state, whom no one had heard of, and whose name was not written on any documents, barged into the courtroom. This attorney handed the judge a paper and the case was immediately thrown up without any real explanation.
I assume the defendant probably had some serious connections, but it still seems strange to me, and why they wanted an attorney with a military background was never clear. Story credit: Reddit / fghnhff
I Mustache You a Question
I did a misdemeanor trial for a guy who drove his motorcycle about 80 mph in a residential neighborhood, passed cars on the double yellow, yada yada. So, he was charged with reckless driving and driving while his license was revoked.
Identity was the main issue because he managed to ditch his bike and run into the fields. Defendant has disclosed to me pretrial that he has an alibi. His friend (we'll call her "Nicole") will testify that she was actually the driver.
I get the cop on the stand and ask him if he had any way of identifying the driver. He says, well I saw that he had a mustache (among other things).
The trial results in a mistrial (unimportant to the story). So, we have to start over again.
3 days later we show up to pick a new jury. Defendant shows up clean shaven. He then gets on the stand and claims he can't grow facial hair. His attorney has the gull to argue in closing that "you know as you get older, sometimes you lose the ability to grow hair." Story credit: Reddit / Brilliant-Badger
Okay, so, in the first place it's always nice to get a client from a business card you left at a diner. It means people pick those things up. However, when leaving business cards at diners in certain areas of town, I should expect some issues.
This call came through on a dreary December day as I was sipping coffee and watching the snow fall. The caller ID read that it was the local hospital, and as I picked up I spoke to a rather frantic young man who informed me he was being held against his will and he needed an attorney to help him.
When I asked where he was, he simply said "the 5th floor." While this may sound innocuous, every hospital has a "5th Floor," where Napoleon roams the halls freely and the residents speak to their imaginary friends who may, or may not,
Have been an influencing factor in why they decided that clothing was a way for the government to track them and therefore the only solution was to create Poop Pants to throw off the monitoring ability of the CIA.
Long story short on this portion, within an hour of the call a friend had dropped off my fee, and I was en route to the Fifth Floor to meet with my new client.
I assumed it would be an involuntary committal defense, and after speaking with my client I gauged that, while the man was most definitely in need of mental care, he was not a danger to himself or others and was unlikely to be one.
He had, in my opinion, been forced to agree to being committed by his probation officer, and frankly I wasn't going to let that stand. I got the name of some contacts from his treatment plan who were willing to vouch that he had, until recently,
Been compliant with his medications, and contacted his social worker who was able to confirm that, yes, since he had ceased taking the medication due to an inability to afford the medications, the county would assist him with it.
A slam dunk, I would simply do my lawyer thing around the mental ward and get him released, then appear in the Court to defend against the involuntary committal.
Within 24 hours of being committed, my client was back at home. A hearing was set a couple weeks in the future, and I did daily checks to be certain he was compliant with his medication leading up to the hearing...until the one day I didn't.
A call from the local police was my tip off. An older officer, one I was familiar with, called to advise they had responded to a disturbance at my client's home. He apparently had been screaming in an empty room loud enough that the neighbors were concerned and called the police.
The police officer, a friendly sort, gauged the situation and decided my client wasn't a threat, but asked what the situation was.
"The ghost," my client had responded, "The ghost won't get out and it won't leave me alone."
"Well," said the officer, "I can tell it to leave."
So he did. He told the ghost to leave. And then, apparently for kicks and giggles, told him that it was a "civil matter" if the ghost refused to leave, and therefore an attorney would need to be contacted. At which point my client dropped my name....which resulted in the cop giving me a heads up.
So, I call my client...who is inconsolable at the concept of sharing his home with the ghost. Keep in mind, I've been to this guy's house. This is the first I've heard of a ghost. But there is a competency hearing on the horizon, and this will not play well in front of the judge.
"The cop said it's a civil matter," my client repeated about the 18th time after I told him I was not, in fact, a priest, but was a lawyer and didn't know how to perform an exorcism.
"What do you want me to do," I snapped a bit, "Evict it?" There are moments in time when you should keep your mouth shut. This is one of them, because the immediate response was "CAN YOU? THAT'D BE GREAT!"
So, long story short, I ended up driving out there with a "Mock Up" Notice to Quit addressed to "Any spirits in possession of the property located at [1313 Mockingbird Lane] without any authority under color of law"
Advising them that their possession was "unlawful in nature" and ordering them to "quit and surrender the premises, or any portion thereof, within fifteen (15) days of the date of this notice."
As I was obviously unable to obtain personal service via hand delivery, I had my client direct me to the portion of the premises the Ghost occupied, an empty spare bedroom, and made service by posting the Notice to the door of the room.
I then announced that the ghost "HAD BEEN SERVED A VALID NOTICE TO QUIT AND SURRENDER POSSESSION" and went home. A week later, as we're preparing to enter the Court for my client's competency hearing, I ask about the status.
"Oh, it worked great!" my client announced. "He moved out the same night and took all his stuff with him." The ghost apparently had "stuff." Anyhow, I smiled and patted my client on the shoulder as I offered some sage advice.
"Well, good," I said, "now, let's not mention this in front of the judge. He might have a problem with the service and order us to let the ghost back in if he finds out about it."
My client nodded enthusiastically. I kept him out of the mental hospital that day, and take some comfort knowing somewhere today this mentally unwell but totally not dangerous guy is still telling people about his great lawyer who got rid of his ethereal roommate for free. Story credit: Reddit / SheriffCreepy
I worked legal aid for a while. Every day was "outrageous" and goes something like this - But I have a restraining order on my first ever "client": The very first person I ever spoke to in a legal capacity was a woman who wanted to sue her contractor for $250,000 for an unfinished job and emotional distress.
First, being upset at an incomplete job isn't emotional distress. Second, The contract was only for about $100,000 and upon further questioning I learned that this contractor had actually completed all terms of the contract.
This woman eventually admitted she was suing him because he was "Rude and always late." I informed her that we would not take this case. Additionally I warned her that a failure to pay the contract would most likely result in the contractor suing her.
She found this idea ludicrous and began to yell at me in my office - first person on my first day - about how she had a right as an American that I act as her lawyer. So I handle that, we are not helping her in this case.
Two days later, I get a call from the Contractor's attorney stating that this woman has cited me as her attorney and threatened a hailstorm of suits upon the contractor from me. It took all of 5 minutes for the other Attorney to realize what was going on.
Heck, they even made sure to remind me of the steps I should take to protect myself from any related suits this lady might bring upon me. Actually... I still talk to this attorney, so silver lining on the first day I suppose. About a month or two passes (foggy on timeframe).
Woman comes in again, furious because the contractor sued her and was able to get a lien on the property. She said this was my fault because I didn't help her. I manage to talk her down.
She then immediately gets fired up again because "they are trying to scam her into giving them all her documents." Turns out, trial on the matter was coming up in about a week, and they had requested photographs of allegedly unfinished work, damages, etc...
As well as the original contract and payment receipts. Basically - all stuff very very typical and reasonable to request and that she is obligated to provide.
She (and nearly every client I worked with in this capacity) thought that evidence was supposed to be a "surprise" at trial and that sharing this information would hurt her case. Of course it would hurt her case because she is a liar.
Anyways, again. Not her lawyer. Actually make her sign a paper signifying she understands this. She leaves. Months pass, I'm no longer at Legal Aid. Lady finds me at my school. I get a call from the dean asking me to swing by.
Says he just met with a disgruntled client of mine who says I cost her her home, marriage, and children (apparently things went downhill fast). She claimed she would do everything in her power to make sure I never did anything again.
Anyyyways, dean is a nice guy and helped me with my restraining order paperwork. Story credit: Reddit / RogerDeanVenture
The day after President Obama won the election in 2008 I had a potential client cold-call for a claim of copyright infringement. He wanted to sue then-President-Elect Obama for having seven US flags on the podium during his acceptance speech.
I asked him for a registration number so I could verify details and he hung up on me. Story credit: Reddit / IAAA
Glasses Half Empty
Family law attorney here. I just had a custody case go back to court over eyeglasses. My client didn't like the glasses her ex bought the kid. So stupid. I want to go back to criminal defense. Gang homicide cases had nicer people to deal with than family law. Story credit: Reddit / Ladylegs
My dad sued my mom for a model boat of some river steamer. Wood thing that was never finished. The judge had a chuckle until my dad tried to sue for the pots and pans. Story credit: Reddit / imurkt
"Please! I Just Need a Happy Ending!"
I was recently in court for an adoption hearing. I am adopting my step daughter so we needed the hearing to establish the identity of the father and then terminate his parental rights.
The hearing went great, the "father" didn't show but called the court in advance to let them know he wasn't contesting, and the judge ruled in our favor.
The craziest part was when the judge was basically pleading with us to hold the final adoption hearing because they have very few happy moments in their courtroom and most people just do everything by mail.
I wasn't planning on it, but we may actually have the hearing just for the court staffs benefit. Story credit: Reddit / Quibert
Quoth the Raven
When I was a trainee solicitor my principal had a guy come in who spoke almost exclusively in quotes from US Presidents. This was a specialist law firm in a very English town, and the dude was about as English as it's possible to be - tweed suit with leather elbow patches English.
He wasn't initially anything to do with me, but half an hour into the initial meeting my principal wandered into my office totally exasperated (which I'd never seen before) and she said, paraphrasing here,
"You're a patient man, find out what this loon actually wants. It'll be a good first case evaluation for you to handle by yourself.".
I spent two hours listening to him talk. Literally every second sentence began with "As Woodrow Wilson once said..." Or "As Grover Cleveland once said...". He even managed to quote Taft. I mean, even the craziest of crazy doesn't quote Taft. It's... It's Taft for Christ's sake.
Anyway after two hours I explained how much the meeting was costing him even though I was just a trainee, and he visibly sagged and said, all blurted out like a naughty child "I poured bleach on the roots of my neighbour's tree and it fell into my greenhouse. Can you make him pay for the repairs?"
I gently explained why that wouldn't work, and he cried, so I called the loveliest secretary in the firm who made him a cup of tea and sat with him until he went home. Story credit: Reddit / Crow_eggs
The Mystery Letter
Lawyer in a small town here. I mostly do estate planning, probate, old people stuff, etc.
I have a client that sued his ex-wife for not selling the house after the divorce as she was supposed to. Judge held her in contempt, and asked what he wanted my client to do, and he had her thrown in jail. They are both nearly 80 years old.
The client also has something valuable buried on his property for his grandchildren after he dies. I have a sealed letter in my desk that he pays me a goodly sum each month to hold and give to his grandson when the old man dies. Story credit: Reddit / Terevok
From Beyond the Grave
I had a potential client come and and say that he wanted to sue his uncle for murder. Setting aside the fact that you can't sue someone for "murder" I asked him who did his uncle murder. He replied "Me." I turned the case down. Story credit: Reddit / wrubs
Do You Believe in Santa Claus?
During Law School, I was a member of a legal clinic. We represented low income individuals, under the supervision of a licensed attorney/professor. We handled family law issues, but would try to point clients in the right direction if we could not personally help them.
One man came in and stated that he wanted to sue Best Buy. Which is not uncommon, but why he wanted to sue BestBuy was different. See this man said he purchased a refurbished computer from BestBuy, for his daughter, as a Xmas present.
BestBuy had neglected to remove the previous owner's password screen and thus, this man and his daughter were unable to access the computer until they took it back to Bestbuy, which was understandably closed on Xmas day.
This, he said, caused his 12 year old daughter to begin to the question the very existence of Santa Claus. He and his daughter then argued the rest of the day, until finally he admitted to her that there was (Spoiler Alert) no Santa Claus.
His words were "seeing your daughter lose faith in Santa ruined all Xmas's to come." What was more interesting is the amount of damages he requested. He stated he believed that BestBuy owed him "at least 25 million" because Xmas was ruined, his daughter will never believe in Santa again.
I did not believe he had a any type of recourse against BestBuy for inadvertently demolishing his Daughter's belief in Santa, but even if I did, our clinic could not help him. I informed him that we only handled family law issues, and he should call the local Bar Association's lawyer referral service.
He stated the Bar Association already told him they would not take his case.Then he proceeded to ask if I had children. I told him I did not. Then he proceeded to wish that all my future kids have their belief in Santa Claus ruined. He stated he would not help me, if that happened.
The whole time I was wondering how this guy's daughter believed in Santa Claus til age 12. Story credit: Reddit / A167
Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
Had a fellow call my office and tell me he wanted our firm to handle negotiations with some of the big companies in the vinyl siding industry. I figured he had some new product that he wanted to sell or license,
But no, when he came in he disclosed that he had discovered a defect in the vinyl siding and actually wanted us to demand a large sum of money from these companies or else he was going to disclose this defect to the news.
Turns out he was a day laborer who had just recently been assigned to a construction project and "discovered" that you can cut vinyl house siding with a sharp knife (which is the way it is actually cut on-site to be installed).
The siding is supposed to be installed over a plywood backing, but his boss had told him to skip putting up the backing panels to save money. He felt that homeowners were in danger because, without the wood backing, criminals could use this knowledge to enter people's houses,
And he felt it was his solemn duty to report this to the public. That is, unless the vinyl siding companies were to cough up a bunch of cash...
Basically his employer was scamming customers and he felt that justified his extortion of the manufacturers and wanted us to legitimize his efforts to extort money from this industry.
It was a little uncomfortable to point out that, in fact he and his boss were the criminals, and that he really didn't have a case. Story credit: Reddit / [deleted]
I do firearms law, and this is one that happens about every three months: "So, I have this invention, and I want you to write a legal opinion confirming that it is legal. See, it is designed to protect from lead exposure when you go shooting. Lead is a serious health risk."
"Does this invention involve a tube that fits on the end of your gun and contains a series of baffles to capture the vented gasses?"
"Yes." "Sir, you have 'invented' the suppressor, which is a prohibited device here in Canada..." Story credit: Reddit / varsil
Guy gets fired for being late too much, wants to sue for discrimination because he has a sugar addiction and needs to stop at 7-11 for a big gulp before his shift begins, as a result he usually ends up missing the bus. Story credit: Reddit / nylaw2013
Justice is Blind
I used to work at a firm that did workers comp bad faith, and then also did maritime personal injury plaintiff's work. The best stories come from the maritime guys. I'm not a lawyer, and this was before my time, but it was one of those stories that just got told about crazy clients.
One guy was hurt offshore, legit injury but drilling company won't settle, so it goes to trial. The guy is from some small rural town in East Texas and that is where the trial is set. During one of his depositions, our client shows up in a t-shirt that has a silhouette of a woman dangling from a stripper pole.
At the bottom there is text that says 'I support single mothers'. Perfect, just what we need for a video deposition. Later, if I'm not confusing two clients, we go to trial, and right as it's about to start the client goes,
"I was hoping we didn't get this judge" and our lawyer thinks that is strange and asks him why he hoped that. Apparently, our client killed the judge's nephew or something during a breaking and entering via the stand your ground/ castle doctrine a few years prior.
It was a huge case in this little small town and it was something the client neglected to mention at any point prior. Perfect. Great thing to know as trial is beginning. We won the case. Still not sure how. Story credit: Reddit / gcbeehler5
My parents are both attorneys. Most recently, their neighbor asked my dad to serve as his attorney in a slip and fall suit . . . against my parents.
He had come over unannounced and uninvited at 6AM on a snowy morning and fell down our driveway. My dad was the one who helped him up and called the ambulance on his behalf.
The next day, crazy neighbor dropped off legal documents in my parents' mailbox for my dad to look over to see if he had a case . . . against my dad. And this is why I hate people. Story credit: Reddit / LizLemonsSlanket
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
I bought a property while I was in college. When purchasing I got title insurance from First American Title (at the time, the seller suggested I use them because that's who HE used and they did a great job).
3 weeks after buying the place, I get served by a Sheriff. Lawsuit says I'm in unlawful possession of someone else's property. What? So, I sent a letter to my title company and told them to handle it. No problem. They hired a lawyer who responded.
Background: Some guy that owned the house 10 or 15 years before had lost it in a lawsuit judgement. The house was quickly sold off. Later, the lawsuit was over turned and he wanted his property back (this part took place in Dixie County to give you an idea of what type of court dealings were going on).
So, the previous owner sued the SELLER (guy I bought it from). The seller did the same thing I did, told First American (the title company). And they fought it for years. So, seller decides to sell the property and not disclose this little problem to me.
Title company doesn't say anything either. I didn't know any of this until one day in court the attorney provided to us mentioned how she was so sick of dealing with this guy, Tim, who was trying to sue for the property he lost.
I did some research and realized it was big cover up by the seller and the title company. This went on for YEARS, as this guy wouldn't go away. College ends and I need to move to another city.
I can't sell the house because no one in their right mind would buy a house they know they are going to sued for. And...get this...First American will not hold the title again. They tell me to find someone else.
So, I sued both the seller and the title company. Scraped every penny I had to keep it going. It came down to my last dime, but we got them to settle. Which was basically paying me for what I owed on the house (no where near what I should have gotten) and (best part) the SELLER had to buy the house back.
I think they are still battling it to this day. Same guy. Story credit: Reddit / caribbeanmeat
Printing Your Own Money
Law Librarian in a big law school; years ago, pre-internet everywhere. A man used to call the ref desk all the time with odd questions about currency and laws related to it. He claims he is an author and is writing a book about how aliens are going to come to earth and take over by manipulating our currency system.
He has all kinds of questions about counterfeiting money. Shows up in person one day and looks like something out of central casting; odd fitting green suit, grey hair that is wild and looks like it has not been combed since Nixon was in power, glasses; and an agitated demeanor.
I spent an entire afternoon explaining why there is no information on how to counterfeit money, why I cannot get a hold of someone in the RCMP to work with him on the subject, and no, you cannot sue the government of Canada, the RCMP, the Bank of Canada and any one else who regulates Canadian currency for the secrets to good counterfeit money. Story credit: Reddit / acadien-driftwood
That's Not How Any of This Works
A company wants me to "patent" their competitor's slogan, arguing it has no trademark registration.
When I explained them a slogan is not protectable by patent, that slogans cannot be deposited for trademark registration, and that patents and trademarks are two very distinct forms of monopoly, they asked me apply for a "a generic intellectual property" over the slogan.
I then proceeded to explain there is no generic Intellectual Property, and that although there would be ways to protect that subject matter, not every IP right is acquired through registration. This means, as I explained, the competitor holds protection over the slogan.
Moreover, I explained that their request is majorly unlawful. They did not budge. I ended up explaining them about ethics, and being very firm about refusing to honour their request. Our contract is now rescinded. Story credit: Reddit / Caucasian_Male
Down in the Mouth
A lady once wanted me to sue her dentist because her son's mouth hurt the day after dental surgery. Story credit: Reddit / fullfullhippos
Had someone accuse the courts of taking and keeping as evidence the "blue energy tube" the aliens had given her for safe-keeping. Story credit: Reddit / Horawesomeberg
Shaggy Dog Tale
Dog bite case. The defendant's dog was running loose on a trail and attacked a jogger. The defendant was representing himself and was trying to show that he had no idea that the dog was dangerous.
He took the stand and immediately opened with "he had only ever bitten my son, but I didn't think he'd bite people." Story credit: Reddit / DioHecho
What Happens in Vegas
Not a court case, but as a very new lawyer in Las Vegas I was helping my boss with a wealthy client who was very old and incapacitated. We were meeting with his wife and his son (not the child of the wife) about how the estate was set up and what would happen when the man died.
The son was doing his best to show that he was serious and responsible, and that he was prepared to take care of his stepmother.
The moment the man died, the son skipped town with all the money. Exactly the way Hollywood would have scripted it. Story credit: Reddit / solarhawks
A woman comes in, she was a bus driver and was terminated during her probationary period, she had three accidents in 6 weeks. She wants to sue for discrimination because she has anxiety and a therapy rabbit.
All the while sitting at the conference room table petting the therapy bunny. Story credit: Reddit / nylaw2013
Get You Paid
Car A was traveling at the speed limit when Car B tried to make a left turn in front of them. They misjudged basically everything and caused the accident.
Police on the scene found the driver of Car B at fault and established Car A made more than a reasonable effort to avoid the accident based on tire marks and witnesses. Car B's insurance settled all claims. So why the trial?
The passenger of Car A was suing the driver of Car A. He was her boyfriend, at the time, and her baby's daddy. She broke her front teeth when she face planted into the dash because she wasn't wearing a seat belt. That fact was highly in contention.
She adamantly insisted she was but the boyfriend admitted on the stand she was not and they had lied to the police about it to avoid a ticket. The most bizarre point was after the two women that were in Car B testified in the plaintiff's favor, they walked over to her and hugged her.
My ex heard her say "don't worry baby girl. We gonna git you paid." They however did not get her paid. Story credit: Reddit / Rmanager
My mother was a witness in a lawsuit one of her friends did to his own son. The lawsuit?: he gave his house as a present to his son so that he doesn't have to pay tax for it (as in my mum's friend)
Since it was now the son's house he wanted to sell it to get an apartment for his family and an apartment for his dad as the house was old and falling apart. My mum's friend didn't like that idea so decided to sue his son to "get back his house."
Keep in mind that he legally gave his son ownership of the property and thinks now he can do "take-backsies" because he changed his mind. Story credit: Reddit / YoungDiscord
It's a Miracle!
We were going to a settlement conference with the plaintiff and a federal magistrate. I walked in with my client, the defendant, and we were sitting at a conference table, the magistrate and a court reporter came in, then the plaintiff who was alleging permanent disability due to damage to both knees.
He had been deposed and swore he could only walk with crutches. The magistrate doesn’t even start the conference, he wants to see both counsels in his office. I’m thinking what the hell is this about.
Magistrate informed us the on the way to his office he was crossing the street. A young man he identified as the plaintiff walked briskly past him carrying his crutches. The reserve on the case was $300k, saved a bunch that day. Story credit: Reddit / Imnotmyself125
Once a client decided to confess during deposition that the doctor had encouraged her to hit the brakes and cause a car accident because of all the insurance money the doctor would get and she could get free chiropractic work on her back. Story credit: Reddit / the_happy_atheist
A couple of years back I was assisting a client in a matter relating to his refugee visa. He had fled almost two decades before, following an unlawful, ethnically motivated imprisonment of himself and other family members, which resulted in the death of his father.
By the time the client and I met, he had sustained a brain injury amongst other things, and so was difficult to talk to. Said refugee client turned out to be the godson of the former president of the country that he fled from. Said president was directly responsible for a genocide.
During initial consultations, he did mention his family members - including his godfather - by name but just failed to point out that he was, in fact, the president.
As I continued researching the other family names he’d given me, one after another turned out to be a high-level instigator of that genocide. Some were convicted, some still have outstanding warrants for arrests by an international criminal court tribunal.
It was shocking, to say the least. In the end, I just did my job the best I could and left it up to the court. Story credit: Reddit / nttdnbs
Ex took me to court for custody. He did not get physical custody in the divorce, but the judge gave him a way to earn equally shared custody (which is bizarre, but I digress).
The judge flat-out told him from the bench that violation of the custody order at all would nullify his chances at custody. It took him less than a week to do exactly that by introducing our children to his new fiancee before the divorce was actually final.
He also stopped paying child support and alimony and a ton of other things. He fired his first lawyer the day before the divorce finalization hearing and went into the hearing asking for an extension only for the judge to explain we were at the legal due date,
And that he'd heard the ex had a wedding already planned and would likely want to get divorced first. Anyway, we were back in court a year later with him going for custody (not the last time that happened).
The Friend of the Court recommended (again) no custody and barely more than supervised parenting time. We had tons of evidence. He had the best father's rights attorney in the whole area, and the case just went weird.
I was interrogated on the stand for over half an hour about my knitting and spinning (yarn) and how my hobbies took me away from my children while I did them in the same room as we watched movies and how I spent child support money on yarn but also how I had yarn the ex had paid for when we were married.
I still have no idea what that was about. His second wife claimed she was going to vomit in front of our very pregnant FOC referee and then switched between crying and yelling on the stand.
He called the kids' principal as a witness when she was the one who had banned his second wife from the school for harassing and threatening the kids' teachers and also testified that he had almost zero contact with the school and their teachers.
The real kicker: His last piece of evidence was an email to him from his first lawyer telling him not to violate the court order by introducing the kids to his fiancee the day before he did on our daughter's birthday.
He claimed on the stand that the email said he could do just that and that doing so was not a violation of the order. My lawyer took that apart beautifully, and then the referee started in and eviscerated him.
He lost all physical and legal custody after that. As my lawyer often said, just when she thought she had a handle on how bizarre our case was, he'd go and do something out of deep left field. Story credit: Reddit / Greyeyedqueen7
Not of Sound Mind or Body
Ooh, I've got one. I was handling a case years ago involving a challenge to a deceased's will. My client was one of the two adult daughters of the deceased old lady.
The will made shortly before death, when the deceased was known to my client to be very frail and confused, left 2/3s or 3/4s of the estate to the other daughter, who had become closer to the deceased and taken over much of her care.
A previous will divided the estate equally. There was no reason why my client would have been treated any differently if there wasn't skullduggery afoot.
We challenged the current will on the basis, among other things, of lack of capacity on the deceased's part to make a valid will. If we won the older will would have been granted probate.
The other side defended it naturally. We carried the burden of proving lack of capacity, which is always difficult in those cases. We obtained discovery of the deceased's medical records from the state hospital.
It turned out that the deceased was so severely demented by the time she made the current will that she was recorded as having answered the door to a care worker stark naked (among other more damning clinical assessments).
The case settled on the basis of what we were claiming fairly quickly after that. Story credit: Reddit / [deleted]
Ex-Wife put me through 5 financial disclosures, depositions, subpoenas, stress all because she was convinced that I was hiding money from her. I literally make 10k more than she does, that's it.
Finally, after 1.5 years, I found a bank account of hers she was hiding from me with 30k in it. When my lawyer saw that his mouth dropped. He said, "Ok this next letter to her lawyer will be the last one".
She ended up losing everything she wanted and paid my 25k lawyer bill from the 30k she was hiding. Story credit: Reddit / ekul_ryker
I work as a Paralegal for a small but really old Law Firm in Texas. I work with a few attorneys who handle Estate Planning and wills.
This man was a doctor. Died. He was worth about $2,000,000. He wasn't very wealthy, and we also handled a lot bigger cases. But, he had 5 kids and an ex wife. After he divorced, he came out as gay and moved in with his partner.
After he died, his will stated that his house and money would go to his partner. His kids, tried to argue it. We ended up going through mediation. His Partner actually requested a paternity test on the fathers frozen specimen. It took a lot of legal pull, but in the end...
It turns out all 5 kids were not actually related to the now deceased father. The partner got to keep the estate. Story credit: Reddit / ParkwayDriven
Claim From Someone
I work in a law firm, there was once a woman using a vacuum cleaner in her own home and she tripped over the lead. When we asked who it was in particular she intended to sue, as there was nothing wrong with the vacuum cleaner, and no actual injury, she became confused and confessed she did not know.
She just thought she could claim from 'someone'. Story credit: Reddit / Catlouise
Burgers on Ice
Man called wanting to sue Burger King because he and his mother got sick after eating 50 burgers over the course of a weekend. He said they routinely bought a lot of burgers and would freeze them to eat throughout the week.
Yes, freeze whole cooked burgers, buns and condiments and all. Of course they both got sick and "couldn't leave the house out of fear of going in my pants". The thing is, BK corporate had already refunded them for the cost of the food when they complained.
He wanted more compensation for their terrible experience, and he wanted them to pay for his taxi fare. Yeah. They took a taxi to Burger King and made the taxi wait while 50 burgers were prepared. Story credit: Reddit / Fargabarga
Bad Client! Bad!
Lawyer and dog enthusiast here. During law school I had the opportunity to work under a special license for the public defender in my city. Like in most cities, they were grossly understaffed and overworked, so I had the potential as a 2L to do an actual misdemeanor trial.
The client that I had to accept was a woman who killed two puppies by neglect- she left them in a cage outside, in February, with no food or water for weeks until they perished, then she called animal control to get them.
I couldn't look at this person without feeling utter disgust. It did not help that she had a mustache and a dead tooth. When I asked her why she waited so long to call animal control (thinking that she should've called before they were dead so they could have been saved), she replied "I don't like dogs."
I had to defend this woman as the first person I ever legally represented. She took a decent plea. When it was concluded she thanked me and tried to shake my hand. I just gave her a look and left. Story credit: Reddit / jadesvon
Them's The Breaks
Plaintiff had an x-ray of an allegedly broken arm. It seemed off to me and the dates didn't make sense (I was in-house at an academic medical center). I looked at the case more closely and discovered the Plaintiff was a x-ray tech at another hospital. After that, it was all over. Story credit: Reddit / [deleted]
Criminal prosecutor here. A patrol officer pulled over a driver for some traffic violation, I think failure to signal. After a heated roadside exchange where the driver initially refused to turn over her license, she ultimately relented and "thrust the license with undue force" into the officer's outstretched hand.
The cop charged her with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. When asked to justify his actions he stated that "people need to learn to respect the police."
We dismissed the charge, apologized to the defendant, and told the cop to never bring us something like that again. I can't recall if internal affairs was notified. Story credit: Reddit / nepils
The House Always Wins
Lady got into a minor fender bender with a truck in a casino parking lot (she backed out of a spot into him). My guy said she parked and went inside the casino for a few hours. At her deposition, she testified that she was so hurt she went right home and to a hospital.
I asked if she was a frequent visitor of casino, and if she had a rewards card. She was happy to tell me she did and she had gold status, and showed me the card.
I subpoenaed her rewards cards records, and it showed she was playing slots for hours after the accident. Story credit: Reddit / lawgirl3278