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The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:14 AM EDT

I know. You think you already know the stupidest lawsuit since the world began, and indeed I once described it that way to a journalist myself. Then recently, we saw litigation efforts that knocked it down as king of that mountain. But now I have the winner, for sure.

I know you will all try to top me right away with examples of your own you have saved in the backwaters of your computer because you just couldn't believe your eyes when you read about them, and that is fine. Go ahead and try to top me, but I'll tell you as a friend, you might as well give up this exact minute, because you can't prevail. I have found the really and truly stupidest lawsuit of all time.

Actually, Alan Hargreaves found it and then told me about it, so I guess the trophy goes on his mantlepiece, not mine. According to the Sydney Morning Herald [sub req'd], a transit company is suing a group of ten cleaning women in France, because they are car pooling instead of continuing to use their service. The Guardian has the story too. The number comes from this French account. The transit company lawyers call that "unfair and parasitical competition." They are asking for damages, including fines and -- believe it or not -- confiscation of the women's cars.

Here's a snip from the article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at European Union offices in Luxembourg, are being sued by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women fined and their cars confiscated.

Two years ago a business tribunal threw out the company's case. It is now pursuing the women in a higher court, saying their action has cost it €2 million ($3.2 million).

The women explained that for many years cleaners used the company line for the 40-minute ride across the border, which cost them €110 a month.

"Using our cars is quicker and at least twice as cheap. And on the bus we didn't have the right to eat or even to speak," said Martine Bourguignon.

Their cars confiscated, no less. And "millions" in losses claimed from 10 cleaning women. If I've understood the French, their theory of the bus company claim is that it was given the exclusive right to transport folks on that route. The women have reduced their ridership, they say, by introducing illegal competition, and I gather they are calling it that in a telephone campaign one woman describes as an attempt to ruin their reputation:

"Ils nous accusent essentiellement d'inciter au covoiturage alors que nous n'avons aucun droit de regard sur le mode de transport de notre personnel," explique Frédéric Sirerol, directeur d'Onet-Luxembourg. "Nous sommes atterrés par le comportement de cette société qui poursuit ces dames et les suit pour voir combien de kilomètres elles font. Ils ont aussi appelé certains de nos clients pour dire que nous nous mettions hors la loi en ce qui concerne les conventions de transport entre la France et le Luxembourg. C'est une façon de noircir notre image. Et ils font preuve d'un acharnement par la voie juridique très étrange."

They follow the women around to see how much mileage they are putting in with the car pooling, it says. See? Not even Daniel Wallace can top that, I don't think, although we must give him an E for effort. Actually, they are kind of in the same ball park, if you think about it. He claims that the GPL is destroying the market for proprietary software, ubiquitous evidence of a Microsoft monopoly notwithstanding. He would like to outlaw people being allowed to help each other by sharing GPL'd software code. The bus company wants to outlaw women helping each other get to and from work more cheaply and in a better environment.

Two years of this nonsense, plus however long it took to get to court the first time. Can you imagine? And after losing in the lower court, they are determined to pursue these poor women. Cleaning women. My hat is off to their lawyers, because they are almost certainly working for less than they could from another client.

The first clue should have been a transit company telling its riders, women at that, they were not allowed to talk for 40 minutes. That is inhuman.

Yes, friends, it's a metaphor. In proprietary software, you aren't allowed to share information either, and at least one monopoly's software and its licenses tries to control your behavior, what you are allowed to do. But when a group of programmers got together to fix that problem and presented the world with software that gets you where you want to go on your computer more cheaply and reliably and in a better, freer environment, the lawsuits begin to fly. Andrew had trouble imagining it happening in software:

Can anyone imagine, say, a software monopoly trying to use the courts to ensure their monopoly instead of various questionable tactics, which have landed them in court?

How dare they distibute their software freely. That hurts our sales! Sue them for anti-competitive behaviour! Somehow I can't even see that particular monopoly sinking to this kind of low. That needs a little clarification. What I mean is I can't see them going to court and directly using the argument "This behaviour is taking sales away from us, make them stop."

I told him to read Groklaw more assiduously, naturally, as he is not keeping up. Monopolies don't have to sue anybody. They can get surrogates to do it for them. SCO got buckets of money and some supportive words in public from Microsoft and friends, did they not? SCO also claims the GPL is ruining the market, if you recall. Wallace just happens to be parroting their message, with his own ... um... well, special logic on top, which is just a coincidence, I'm sure. Here's his latest "legal scholarship," an opposition [PDF] to Red Hat and Novell's Motion to Dismiss his Complaint. He still is missing a vital piece, but far be it from me to explain it to him. He'd just file to amend again, so if you figure out what he didn't get right, don't tell him please. We can talk later.

So, there you have it. The stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world. But also the meanest. When did business get so mean? And so stupid? I think it's safe to say that those ten women will never use that bus service to get anywhere on planet earth again, no matter what happens in court. And frankly, if the only way to stay in business is to sue your departing customers, furious at them because they've found something better, it's time to look at what you are offering. Maybe it's your business model that is your problem, or it could be your personality, the way you treat your customers or your competition. People don't like bullies. We're hard-wired that way.

That reminds me. I've heard SCO is offering its partners a free copy of their new software offering, Legend, that they can sell to their customers, if they will please buy one first and attend SCOForum 2005, which is from August 7-9, 2005 (" . . . we're happy to announce that all Forum attendees will receive a free, fully-licensed copy of either the Starter Edition (valued at $599) or the Enterprise Edition (valued at $1399) you can resell to your customers.*") The star takes you to this info in a footnote: "*All who attend Forum 2005 will receive a free fully-licensed copy of OpenServer 6 that is of equal or lesser value to your purchased copy of Starter Edition or Enterprise Edition through a SCO distributor."

Equal or lesser, eh? Hmm. That's a new one. And if they'll book their stay for SCOForum at the MGM Grand Hotel, SCO will waive the $300 conference fee. Sounds like they reeeeally want you to go. Maybe hordes of partners are not registering in record numbers? You think?

At least they've figured out that you have to offer people something they want if you want them to work with you. If they could extrapolate to customers, they might be able to save themselves. Well, maybe not. Those cleaning women would probably prefer to walk than to use that bus service now. And surely no one reading about that litigation will want to ride that bus either. There is something about being a human being that we naturally love justice and freedom, and there is no extinguishing it from our hearts. If a business acts like a bully, mean as a snake, it's going to lose customers. It's as certain as gravity. If you jump off a cliff, you will fall down, not up, every time. SCO jumped off a cliff when it attacked Linux unjustly and sued its own customers for switching to it. A decline after such egregious behavior is as predictable as a law of nature.


The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began | 571 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off topic here please
Authored by: fudisbad on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:23 AM EDT
For current events, legal filings and Caldera® collapses.

Please make links clickable.
Example: <a href="">Click here</a>

See my bio for copyright details re: this post.
Darl McBride, show your evidence!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here please
Authored by: fudisbad on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:24 AM EDT
If required.

See my bio for copyright details re: this post.
Darl McBride, show your evidence!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Those soup kitchens just have got to go!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:42 AM EDT
How can a decent all American corporation like McDonalds fairly complete for
the poorest of customers when there are soup kitchens offering its primary
service to them for free! This has to be stopped! And what about those awful
homeless shelters? Are there not renters loosing business? And what of city
water and private wells? Is there not water to be bottled and resold to the
locals? They cannot afford it, you say? How dare they get these services for
free, lower cost, or by helping each other! Are there no longer any work
houses for the poor and their children? Coal mines to be dug? Child labor to
be bought and sold? Yatchs to be buttlerd and staffed? Wealthy to be body


[ Reply to This | # ]

This one really takes the top spot!
Authored by: Jadeclaw on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:46 AM EDT
But seriously, I'm 100% sure, that this lawsuit will be kicked out of court.
Why? We have laws here in Europe governing the freedom to move and go everywhere
plus competition laws plus numerous civil rights as well.
These laws make it a non-starter from the beginning.
And I'm sure, there are some french laws too, regarding this issue.
I think, this will backfire seriously for that bus-company...



Best regards

[ Reply to This | # ]

I actually thought this one was the stupidest
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:47 AM EDT
Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet Mission

A Russian woman is suing NASA because they shot the Deep Impact probe at the
Tempel 1 comet. According to her, the damage done to the comet "would
deform her horoscope."

I guess it's logical if you think about it. If the position or movement of
celestial objects affects your future, then changing their position the wrong
way will negatively change your future.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is trade union mindset to extreme
Authored by: jog on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:02 AM EDT
IBEW #554

[ Reply to This | # ]

When serpents bargain for the right to squirm
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:17 AM EDT
This silliness reminds me of an e.e.cummings poem:

when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage-
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
-and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn-valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude-and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we'll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind(and not until)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not the first time that company Schiocchet acts up
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:36 AM EDT
89/524/CEE: Décision de la Commission, du 7 septembre 1989, relative à un différend opposant le Luxembourg et la France au sujet de la création d'un service régulier spécialisé de voyageurs entre ces deux États

(in French)

Since the mid-1970s Schiocchet has been somehow influencing the French government to oppose border-crossing exemptions for rival bus companies, including one founded years before and the first to offer the service. Although the European Commission ruled in favor of the rival bus company, it was a partial victory: ridership was limited to workers from a single factory. There's a racket down there, no doubt about it!

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Graves on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:38 AM EDT
Reminds me of the gas station owner in the UK who put his prices up during a
gasoline strike a few years ago. People where forced to queue for hours to get
petrol that was often rationed to a few gallons per customer. One bright spark
had the idea of jacking his price up at the same time to well over $10/gallon
(it's normally about $6 - $7 per UK gallon).

News spread of his scam in the national newspapers and people boycotted his gas
station, even after he put his prices back down after the strike ended.

He went out of business a few weeks later. Bwuuuuuhahahahaha!!!!

You get what you deserve.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:45 AM EDT
I can't say this is as bad, but it's pretty bad.

My sister's husband, his little brother is gay and has a lifeguard for a
boyfriend. He and the beach he worked at got sued by a guy he had saved, for a
couple of broken ribs caused by chest compressions while getting CPR. When the
guy recovered enough, he saw this as a possible cash grab and looked into suing
my bother-in-law's younger brother's boyfriend for pain and suffering. As it
turned out, for acts like that, you can't be held liable for damages especially
if they were unavoidable and performed by someone who knows what they're doing,
such as a trained and licensed lifeguard.

But duing the investigation, the guy who was suing found out the guy who saved
him was gay. His lawyer called the lifeguard's lawyer and they set up a
meeting. During the meeting, and mind you, almost 11 weeks had passed since the
rescue without any other issues other than the broken ribs being brought up, the
guy starts accusing the lifeguard of kissing him with tongue, while getting
mouth to mouth. Before he found out he was gay, not a word or an implication
that anything such as this happened, but after he found out...

The company the lifeguard worked for, who also supplied his lawyer settled out
of court and made sealing the case as part of the settlement with the injured
man to avoid a public battle over a gay lifeguard. He also got sidemoted to a
job where he hardly ever watches over swimmers just in case, even tho they
repeatedly told him they knew he didn't do anything wrong.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Professional Division
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:08 AM EDT
Stupid lawsuits need to be divided into professional and amateur divisions.


[ Reply to This | # ]

They are also suing the employer?
Authored by: Tsu Dho Nimh on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:17 AM EDT
"Depuis plusieurs années, Schiocchet exploite une ligne de bus dédiée au
transport transfrontalier de femmes de ménage, pour la plupart employées par la
société Onet-Luxembourg."

The bus line is not available to tourists - it's purely a worker transport ...
but it's still a STUPID, and greedy, move.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sued for skipping commercials?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:37 AM EDT
This from Yale's Lawmeme, quoting Jamie Kellner of Turner Broadcasting:

"[Ad skips are] theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming." le&sid=198

Then, of course, there's the auto companies suing Greyhound (or vice versa), publishers suing over libraries, etc.

But it doesn't top PJ, though, since there's no reference to an actual lawsuit over skipping commercials.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I notice that Wallace "appeared in person"
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:37 AM EDT
I guess he noted from your previous comment on this that "pro persona"
is a Harry Potterism.

I have no idea what he stuffed up this time, but I'll take a wild (and
uneducated) guess that he failed to specify what damages that he's *currently*
suffering due to the alleged price fixing. I doubt that claiming that he might
at some future date suffer injury *if* he ever wanted to compete is sufficient.

I'm sure that I won't have to wait long for IBM and/or Novell to let me know if
I guessed right.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is anyone making a profit?
Authored by: bobyrne on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:50 AM EDT
That is actually going to be a key question in this case.

If the owners of the cars or the drivers are making a profit in transporting
their colleagues to work then it is, in effect, a transport service similar to a
hackney or taxi service. You cannot operate such a service without a license. It
appears this bus company is claiming an exclusive license for the route.

If anyone in the carpool is making a profit the company can reasonably claim:
- The carpool is a commercial transport service operating without a license.
- The carpool is operating in contravention of the company's exclusive license
for the route.

Now I don't know what sort of penalties French or Belgian law provides for these
transgressions, but I would be surprised if it extended to confiscation of the

Of course if no-one is making a profit (if the costs are simply being shared)
then this argument falls and the suit really should be thrown out at the
earliest opportunity.

(I considered participating in a carpool for a while, and found out that in
order to be absolutely safe from accusations of operating a taxi without a
license I would have to keep a logbook of all journeys, receipts for all fuel
purchases, and invoices / receipts for everything paid by the other members of
the carpool towards the cost of the fuel).


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: grw on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:52 AM EDT
Wow! As a pedestrian, cyclist, transit user who, in my 50 something years, has
never owned a car and who considers car drivers to be anti-environmental
terrorists, even I consider this an extreme way to promote transit use over the
car. Maybe they could sue the government for building roads for the car drivers
to drive on!

[ Reply to This | # ]

I wonder...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 10:11 AM EDT

This would easily fit the category of forcing people to do business with you. If we can research this case, pull up as many of the facts (as filed with the court) as possible, perhaps we can bring this to as many of our elected represetatives as possible as an example of the damage a Monopoly can cause.

Just a thought!


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 10:36 AM EDT
"The first clue should have been a transit company telling its riders,
women at that, they were not allowed to talk for 40 minutes. That is

Knowing my wife and her mother - I'd say impossible. General anaesthetic
couldn't keep my mother-in-law quiet - and believe me we tried ;-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wolf Blitzer...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 10:42 AM EDT
This was another candidate for Dumbest Lawsuit.

Michael J. Zwebner is the CEO of Universal Communications Systems Inc.
(BB:UCSY), a publicly-traded penny stock corporation based in Miami. The stock
has not done well, to put it mildly, and the company's P.R. claims have been
widely viewed as, well, at least a bit exaggerated. The stock is discussed on
the Lycos-owned web site Raging Bull.

Zwebner's corporate strategy seems to be to sue people who say bad things about
him. (This habit goes back to some previous companies he was at.) One such
person on Raging Bull used the screen name "wolfblitzzer0". Zwebner
then filed suit against CNN and its reporter Wolf Blitzer, on grounds that they
did not force the person using that screen name to shut up!

(Yes, it was thrown out. Zwebner is, however, still litigating like crazy.
It's kind of fun to watch.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 10:58 AM EDT
That's stupid, putting 2M euro into this lawsuit. Wouldn't everything be all
right if they would just let it be? Regardless of what happens, the transit
company will surely lose some money -- I highly doubt that the fine and
confiscation will make up the amount of money they put into this. This is so
not putting money where their mouth is...

Suppose the 10 women AND the cleaning company can sue the transit company for
emotional damage, inconvenience, etc. and keep them busy. While they're at it,
they can organize a boycott. Nobody likes bullies, right?

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are lots of stupid lawsuits and they cause real damage
Authored by: RPN on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 11:06 AM EDT
Stupid laws and the faintest of loopholes get abused and they can have very real
consequences that extend way beyond the people directly involved in the case.
This is why cases like those we follow here really matter. Amazingly stupid
cases do sometimes win, all have very real negative consequences for the
defendants. They can hold back, even largely destroy entire sectors of the
economy; I am led to believe from a general curiosity about aircraft that the
American light aircraft industry provides a salutory lesson and I'm sure others
can point to other examples.

I feel very sorry for these women. Two years being chased by such an
unscrupulous company with all the attendant expenses, especially on a cleaners
salary, is no joke, even if they win in the end. And it is either an incredibly
stupid or an incredibly unscrupulous company to have taken it as far as the
tribunal let alone pursuing it to a higher court. I don't know whether to be sad
at such lack of sense and decency or furious at such pigheaded stupidity.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's not business
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 11:40 AM EDT
When did business get so mean? And so stupid?

It's not business that's mean and stupid, PJ. Greed is mean and stupid. There just happen to be greedy people in business. And it's not really a recent phenomenon. I offer, for example, Ebeneezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchet.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Treating Commuters Right
Authored by: Ted Powell on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 11:42 AM EDT
By way of contrast, TransLink, the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, offers a program intended to be more attractive than carpooling.
Participation in the Employer Pass program allows companies to offer cost-reduced annual transit passes to their staff when 25 or more employees are enrolled into the program. The photo ID transit passes are issued to employees through the convenience of payroll deduction. The pass entitles the bearer to travel on any bus or Community Shuttle operated by a TransLink subsidiary or contractor (except HandyDART), SkyTrain and SeaBus. Passes for West Coast Express are also available.
The beauty of it is that everbody gets to travel at their own time, and go their own way, with no need for coordination other than getting people to sign up for the program.

GPL code ... It's the difference between owning your own home and just renting. --PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thomas Dunning (?)
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 11:58 AM EDT
"...for 100% it [the capital] stamps its foot on all human laws and for
300% there is no crime not risked even at the threat of the gallows."

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 12:03 PM EDT
Lawsuits like this have been around since the courts have been in existance, and will continue to be around, as greedy people confuse the capitalist "right to make money" with the out-of-your-mind "right to get money". There's a classic article on this written by a french economist, Bastiat, in the 1800s - - the "Candlestick maker's petition". Sometimes the classics are, well, classic.


[ Reply to This | # ]

I hope the women win a big countersuit
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 12:12 PM EDT
Surely there must be something illegal in what that company is doing to those
women. With this publicity I really hope some bigtime lawyer picks up on their
cause and comes up with an awesome countersuit.

It's be great poetic justice if the end result is that they women win the
vehicles of the transportation company in a countersuit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:04 PM EDT
"My hat is off to their lawyers, because they are almost certainly working
for less than they could from another client."

It's a transit company. Therefore by definition their lawyers are bottom of the
barrel who can't find work anywhere else.

That's obvious since they came up with this lawsuit.

I remember someone once asking where do the lawyers go who were at the BOTTOM of
their class. Then he attended a Public Utilities Commission hearing in
Sacramento - and found them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hoping for a new distribution method.
Authored by: Jaywalk on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:06 PM EDT
That reminds me. I've heard SCO is offering its partners a free copy of their new software offering
Personally, I'm waiting until they distribute it in boxes of Cracker Jacks. This in spite of the fact that MOG has assured us -- with her usual flare for mathematics -- that SCO's Unix is (at $599 a pop) "cheaper than Linux".

===== Murphy's Law is recursive. =====

[ Reply to This | # ]

AMD vs. Intel
Authored by: BobDowling on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:10 PM EDT

Is anyone interested in the AMD vs. Intel antitrust case? If there's a thread elsewhere in Groklaw point me to it, please.

Amd's claims are quite lengthy and, given the number of companies they claim Intel has “got at” I suspect there will be another mountain of discovery.

There is also a claim of nobbling with Intel's compilers. This could lead to some fun expert testimony as the two sides try to lead a jury through optimised compiler output.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: m_si_M on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:23 PM EDT

Hmmm, isn't that exactly the mindset Steve Ballmer reveals at so many of his infamous keynotes?

"If you don't buy our great product, you might get sued, because, you know, the "other" OS violates hundreds of patents. I won't tell you who will sue (might be us), but if you buy our software, no one will dare dragging you into court."

"And mind you, all PCs really *must* have our great OS preloaded, because on PCs without or another OS, pirated copies of our superior product will be installed. In the end, offering better and cheaper alternatives is *PIRACY*."

Not much different from that French compnay ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

I bet there is more to this story than meets the eye.....
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:31 PM EDT
Somebody high up in the bus company knows one or more of the women personally
and is using this to get back at her or them.

x-wife or maybe a woman who married an x-husband as an example.

Nobody does something this stupid or vindictive to someone else with business in
mind. Gotta have more stuff under the radar.

This reeks of the logic my x-wife would have done if she had the means.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Jokes here
Authored by: wvhillbilly on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT
Hey, guys. Check out this phony funny from Humorix: SCO's latest and greatest product- its all new and improved version 4.0 of its flagship litigation product, SCO v. IBM.

Plus lots of other Software Satire.


What goes around comes around, and the longer it goes the bigger it grows.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's just us chickens...
Authored by: qitaana on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 01:53 PM EDT
My mother was the show secretary for a large poultry show for ten years or so.
At these shows, it was not unusual for people to buy and sell birds... in fact,
there was a sale area where people could display birds for sale that weren't
even entered in the show.

One year, a known Pain In The Nether Regions put several birds up for sale.
They were labelled "pet quality", meaning that they weren't really
good enough to show and, being bantams, you weren't going to get much by way of
eggs or meat from them either. Price on the pet birds was $5 each, and one was
sold to a little girl who wasn't quite ready to raise show birds yet. $5 cash
changes hand, little girl goes home with chicken.

Imagine my mother's surprise, a month or two later, when she's served a subpoena
to appear at small claims court. It seems the Pain In Rear had inadvertently
put one of her show birds in the pet-quality sale area, and the little girl had
bought a $25-$30 chicken for $5. PIR is now suing in court for the difference.

So... PIR has paid the filing fee ($25 at the time, I think...), had papers
served on the little girls family and on my mother as show secretary (another
fee), etc., all in hopes of getting an additional $20.

My mother did go to court, and was questioned a bit by the judge about
"show quality" versus "pet quality", the usual pricing of
birds, and how transactions usually take place. Mother reported that the judge
was clearly trying very hard not to laugh.

Needless to say, PIR's case was dismissed... her putting a show bird in the pet
sale area was not the fault of the defendant. I suppose if she had prevailed,
she would have asked to tack filing costs on to the award. However, between
filing fees and service fees and such, she would have been down at least $20
even if she had won but not gotten her costs back.

*rolls eyes*

Mother is now out of the poultry-show-secretarying business, but she still loves
to tell about getting subpoenaed as a witness to the sale of a chicken.

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The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 02:11 PM EDT
"The first clue should have been a transit company telling its riders,
women at that, they were not allowed to talk for 40 minutes."

Explain to me the 'women at that' quote above. Do women deserve more
consideration than men?

Equality seems to be the goal, and if it is then perhaps putting one sex, either
of them, on a pedestal is frustrating that goal.

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Stupid Lawsuit website
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 03:19 PM EDT
There is a site designated to this kind of lawsuit, Take a look at last years winners at ml

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The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Bas Burger on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 04:49 PM EDT
I think these people deserve a good session bend over someone's knee...

Where is this world going to?



[ Reply to This | # ]

Satire with a message
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 05:57 PM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do we need a "Groklaw Darwin Awards" section? :) n/t
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 06:59 PM EDT

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The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 07:37 PM EDT
Don't know if it can compete, but I have mention the
lawsuit mentioned yesterday(?) in the National Post
(Canada). The parents of the only girl on a boy's hockey
team (yes, past lawsuits forced them to allow girls onto
boys hockey teams) are suing for discrimination because
she is forced to change in a separate change room!!!
Apparently, she wants to change with the boys!

They want their daughter to be the only girl in a room
full of teenage male hockey players while all are getting
changed?!? I think Child Services should investigate the
parents for endangering their daughter's safety! Or at
least check out their sanity.

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And in related news ...
Authored by: marbux on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 08:59 PM EDT
The BBC are in hot water with the record labels for offering free downloads of the BBC orchestra performing classical music. And here we thought free software was bad.

Retired lawyer

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Hope Wallace doesn't read Groklaw
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 09:33 PM EDT
He's probably having a good laugh at the "pro persona"
ridicule from the Latin experts here at Groklaw.


pro se (pro see) An individual who represents
himself/herself in court. Also called “in
propria persona” or “pro persona.”

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LMAO -- in a sad sort of way
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 12 2005 @ 11:55 PM EDT
The sad, undeniable truth is: the ladies are going to lose time and money to
"defend" themselves against blatant fraud.

A VERY few in the biz have shown themselves to be honest and respectable.
Unfortunately, like Lot, they are not enough to make saving the "town"
(Gomorrah "legal system", with lawyers, judges, and senators/reps
little more than corporate harlots) worth saving. It is hopelessly corrupt.

Some say the only thing saving us from anarchy is the courts. What do we do
when, as now, the courts are the thugs?

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Stupid trademark trouble
Authored by: gregbillock on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 02:15 AM EDT

Here's my odd legal problem. I have an open source project I've worked on for
about 5-6 years. I recently got an angry email from a lawyer who apparently just
registered the name I've been using with the USPTO and now wants me to change
it. What should I do? I told him trademarks are earned, and as the junior user
they can't take my right to use the name, registered or not. I haven't heard
back. Do I need to take some sort of preemptive action and file an opposition
with the USPTO? Let it drop?

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... and they are loosing money
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 04:45 AM EDT
I read the article in the 'Liberation' and there one of the woman mentions that
they were just the first and many followed. "Today only 12 persons take the
bus. Before we were with 80."

So the company is losing their profit because they deliver bad service (one stop
was removed, another placed in a location "where it is convenient for
nobody" and often the 9:30 bus arrives at 10:30. Complains have been met
with bullying.

Now the company has calculated the loss (not hard: price of the serverice times
68 (nr of customers lost)) and present the 'instigators' the bill...

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PJ may be set up for another stupid lawsuit
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 05:10 AM EDT
PJ: "He still is missing a vital piece, but far be it from me to explain it
to him. He'd just file to amend again, so if you figure out what he didn't get
right, don't tell him please."

What are the odds on Wallace suing PJ for: not telling him what is wrong with
his case; inciting others not to tell him; and (by implication) telling her own
lawyers so that they can take unconstitutional advantage of the poor lone
Wallace's lack of legal resources.

There's got to be an Nth Amendment somewhere that makes all that illegal...

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    The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 06:24 AM EDT
    Sorry I can't say much, but I am a doctor, and I have just
    learned that I am named in a suit on behalf of a patient I
    never met, examined, diagnosed, or treated, who got sick
    and died in a hospital in another part of the state.

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    What next - Bar association sues Wallace for acting pro se?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 06:58 AM EDT
    Obviously he is taking money out of some lawyers pocket by representing himself.

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    The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
    Authored by: Steve Martin on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 01:20 PM EDT
    Reminds me of the time my boss was sued... he was a passenger in someone else's
    van. Van gets hit in the side by someone who ran a stop sign at an intersection.
    The driver of the offending vehicle sued (in addition to the driver of the van)
    my boss for damaging their vehicle (and he wasn't even driving, much less
    responsible for the accident). Fortunately, it took about two minutes for the
    judge to throw the suit out of court.

    "When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports

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    The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 03:06 PM EDT
    My next computer will be AMD, but not because of any law suite. I am replacing
    my old dual 800MHz Pentium III processor workstation with a dual processor, dual
    core system using AMD Opteron 265 or 270 processors. These processors are much
    better then anything Intel offers.

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    How to you book a gift like SCO's Legend?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 13 2005 @ 03:12 PM EDT
    I wonder if and how these copys of Legend will be reported in the quarterly
    reports of the resellers. On one hand they where given free of charge, on the
    other hand the reseller can make money with them. How do you pay taxes for the
    money you earn from this unusual kind of transaction? Your margin would equal
    the price, therefor raising your taxes, right?

    And what can we expect from SCO in respect to the "Number of copies
    sold" column? Will they count every copy they gave away as "sold"
    since the reseller *could* sell it? Or will they claim losses with the SEC
    because they gave those copies away? My guess: they will do BOTH! ;-)


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    Not Unlike the Telecoms
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 15 2005 @ 12:19 PM EDT
    This is really not all that unlike the theory under which telecoms (like SBC)
    want municipalities and local groups enjoined against providing wireless
    networking services independently. They say that it's "unfair

    The real story is that the competition in the case of the telecoms, as in the
    case of the carpooling women, is not from another corporation, but from none
    other than the customers! (In the case of telecoms, customers are the ones who
    are voting for the controllers of the municipal budgets and paying the taxes
    that support municipal solutions.)

    It's obvious how ludicrous the French lawsuit is; however, there's really no
    difference between that theory and the one proposed by the telecoms. If everyone
    can see the one for what it is, why not the other?

    If the telecoms are granted what they are asking, then as a culture we in
    America are no less silly than this French transit company.

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    The Stupidest Lawsuit Since the World Began
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, July 17 2005 @ 09:20 AM EDT
    I've not read the full reply thread, so excuse me if this has been mentioned
    already, but the fact that this lawsuit comes from a french transit company
    makes me think that perhaps they are aware of a similar (but different in one
    important aspect) case that occured in Quebec, Canada. This might explain why
    they thought that there was even a possibility of winning in the first place.

    In Quebec, several private transit companies sued, and won, a lawsuit against a
    "ride-share" facilitation agency. The premise was that if you where
    travelling from Montreal to Toronto and wanted some company to help defray the
    costs, you could list your name, free of charge with the agency. If you where a
    passenger wanting to travel, you would check with the service and see if any
    drivers where going on the date you wanted. You would pay the agency a 10$
    "finder's fee" and then pay the driver a fixed price for the trip,
    usually about $20.00 to cover gas.

    The transit companies successfully won their suit on the basis that since money
    exchanged hands, and the agency retained some of that money, they where
    effectively runing a transit company without a license, and the agency was shut

    From the original article, it is unclear whether or not any of the cleaning
    women pay the driver's of the vehicles for gas and wear and tear. If each women
    has a car and takes turns driving, there would not be. However, if any woman
    does not own a car, it is reasonable to think she is paying the driver for gas.
    This would tenuously allow the transit company to claim unfair competition.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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