January 15, 2014

Crazy court cases that are actually true but actually aren't

"These cases are actually true."

"I can't believe they really happened."

Turns out, many of the vastly viral crazy court cases you'll find on the web are completely made up. 

You may have heard about Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania that broke into a house while its owners were away on vacay. He got trapped in a garage and barely survived on Pepsi and dry dog food for eight days. He sued for mental pain and won a half million. 

I wanted to learn more about that, so I searched Lexis. I couldn't find anything. Probably because nothing exists. Google told me I am not the first to figure that out. Snopes and USA Today beat me by about eight years. They also exposed a bunch of other classics that are still trumpeted today (that a site like thecrazycase really wished were true because they are so hilarious).

Like Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, who broke her ankle by tripping over her own wandering toddler at a store and then sued the store and won most of a million. LIES.

Or Carl Truman of Los Angeles, who won close to 100k when his hand got run over while stealing a hubcap. LIES.

Or Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, whose neighbor's leashed dog in a fenced-in yard bit him in the rear because he had been shooting it with a pellet gun. Jerry won the value of a new car. LIES.

Or Mr. Grazinski, who won about $2 million and a new RV because he'd left the wheel of his old one to fix some joe and cruise control isn't as great as it sounds. LIES.

Or Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who broke her tailbone after slipping on soda she'd thrown at her boyfriend. The Philadelphia restaurant hosting the the scene had to pay out over 100k. LIES.

Or Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, who got 12k and dental expenses from a night club when her teeth got knocked out after falling from a bathroom window to the floor. Apparently, she'd climbed through the window to escape paying the $3.50 cover charge for using the restroom. LIES.

Or Blake Flake of Salt Lake City, Utah, who won $1 million from a manufacturer when his cell phone spontaneously combusted and burned his house down along with his Pokemon card collection. The fact he'd put his smartphone in the microwave is why Flake only won as much as he did. THAT ONE'S ACTUALLY TRUE.

Nope.

I take credit for fabricating that last one. Way too easy. Kinda fun though. I should start doing that more often...

Here's what I have personally noticed about fakes. How to spot made-up crazy court cases:
  1. Unlike the real craziest lawsuits, which usually never make it to court, fake cases always seem to score a trial by a jury of insane people who grant excessive awards.
  2. Fake cases are quick to give victims' names and hometowns, but never specifically identify any defendants. Probably because the original author doesn't want to get sued, and in most cases something like a fake company name would be more of a giveaway.
  3. There about 50 words or less. Don't know if that's really important.
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