Time to lawyer up!
As we see from shows like Better Call Saul, being a lawyer can introduce you to a wide array of characters going through the legal system. A lot can go down as justice is being served, and some of these cases are too crazy to believe.
69LUL asked: Lawyers of Reddit, what was the weirdest case you worked on?
"Our client saved a woman who had drowned at the edge of a lake. She didn't have a pulse. Our client pulled her ashore and gave her CPR, as he was the only adult in the area and the only person certified to give CPR. This was about 12 - 15 miles from the nearest hospital, so if he didn't act she would die. During the course of the chest compressions, he bruised two of her ribs and cracked another (this is actually fairly common when performing CPR).
He was able to resuscitate the woman, saving her life. She survived with no long-lasting damage whatsoever, which was extraordinarily lucky.
2 months later she filed suit for damages (alleging battery). Which, I mean, ok, he did cause your cracked ribs. But also, without him your two young kids would be down a parent and would have watched their mom die. So, you know, dick move.
Thankfully his care was considered reasonable in the jurisdiction so he was protected by local good samaritan law. The suit was dismissed."
That's enough to make you quit.Giphy
"When I was a baby lawyer, one of our clients received a subpoena for business records from a pro per plaintiff ("PPP") (a plaintiff who's representing himself or herself in litigation). The litigation was in connection with a business dispute that was headed toward mediation. We were involved because the PPP formerly worked for our clients and decided to leave and take some business with him. After he left, he got into a business dispute with one of the customers he took with him and decided to subpoena business records from his old employer (my client) to help with his case and countersuit.
The PPP would send a demand letter a week and came to my office a few times to meet. He was pretty aggressive and threatening in all of our interactions but most pro se or pro per litigants are so I wasn't overly concerned. Given that our interests were aligned, I worked closely with the attorney representing the customer who was directly involved in the litigation. He was an older, well-respected attorney in town.
Fast forward a couple of months and I get a call from a friend at the older attorney's firm. Unsurprisingly, the PPP lost at the mediation on both his claims and the counterclaims made by the customer. Apparently, after the mediation was over, he went out to his car, grabbed a gun and shot both the older attorney and the CEO of the customer who was attending the mediation. He then went on the run from the police. I think the total amount at stake was around $20,000—really senseless.
As soon as I learned about the shooting, I alerted our building security to be on the lookout for the PPP. He was found the next morning with a self-inflicted gunshot in a parking lot. Later that afternoon, I got a call from the police department who said my address and the address of the CEO of my client was in the PPP's car. Not sure why I needed to know that information, but whatever. Shortly after that, I decided to switch to transactional work."
She didn't even use a lawyer.
I work at a law firm. There's a case where a crazy lady's neighbor was allowed to have chickens in their yard. So she bought pigs, and the HOA or city stepped in and made her get rid of them. It was a suburban area.
In retaliation, this lady buys 5,000 chickens from Tyson and unleashed them into her half acre backyard. The chickens all die, obviously. She sued the trucking company that brought the chickens for "defective chickens" and negligent infliction of emotional distress because her daughter had to view the "gore" of 5,000 dead chickens in her back yard. she was pro se of course.
A 20 year saga.
"I had a case where the plaintiff told me he caught Adolph Hitler and that he won the Medal of Honor. His attorney missed court a lot, once because her pet duck had a nostril infection.
The transaction was for approximately 6 million and when I asked him whether he had applied for financial help, he stated that he'd asked "an Irishman" for a loan. He could not identify the specific Irishman.
This case lasted in the NYS Supreme Court from 1995-2015. I miss it, it was so much fun."
Sounds like she tried to take advantage of the system.Giphy
"One time I defended an apartment complex who was sued by a blind tenant for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff's gripe was she wanted a parking spot right in front of her door.
Obviously, plaintiff was not capable of driving and didn't have a car. She wanted the parking spot in case friends came over.
She didn't want them to have to walk as far to get to her apartment.
The part that made it really weird was she already had an assigned parking spot like 3 feet away from the one she was demanding. She wanted the absolute closest parking spot to her door or it was discrimination even though she didn't own and couldn't operate a car."
"Defective vape rig exploded in a guys pocket and burned his penis off of his body.
The settlement was very large. Discovery and reviewing medical records was extremely graphic and disheartening. I cannot imagine the anguish this man went through. Living without a penis from age thirty onwards would be an absolute nightmare."
That was a wild ride from start to finish.
"A long time also I used to do some relationship property work (who gets what stuff after a couple splits up). In one case I represented the woman. Her ex partner was self-represented, and he was totally crazy.
He used to write long letters to my firm, addressed to the managing partner (who was a commercial lawyer, not a litigator, so he had nothing to do with the case). The letters always explained at some length that he was physically perfect, over six feet tall, and a genius wth an IQ of 150, and that he would "unleash the dogs of war" and crush us all if we opposed him.
Speaking of dogs, one of the main aspects of his case is that he said that after he and my client split up he bought a dog, then the dog died in a car crash because he was so sad after the break up that he crashed his car, so now my client owed him money for the three years with worth of dog food he'd supposedly bought.
He used to ring me up and scream at me over the phone. He'd get naked and throw rocks at his neighbour's property. My client was terrified of him and even I used to peer out of the elevator before leaving work at night In case he was waiting for me.
The file was closed after he got drunk and choked to death on his own vomit at a party.
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!Giphy
"The Day I learned that not everything on Jerry Springer is fake.
I was a prosecutor for a couple of years. I was prosecuting a woman (Stripper) who hit another woman (sex worker) in the head with a meat cleaver - several times. The defendant worked as a stripper. She lived with a man who was a pimp (he looked like the stereotype you see in the movies). The woman that got hit with the meat cleaver was one of his prostitutes. The pimp was having relations with both, at the same time - thus there was some bad blood.
Well, they get invited to be on Jerry Springer and they all agree to go. Huge fight happens (we are talking multiple fights where clumps of hair are coming out). Stripper tells sex worker on the Jerry Springer show, that if sher ever comes around the house again that Stripper will kill her.
Well you guessed it, sex worker comes by the house when they get back. Stripper hits her with a butcher's knife in the head, several times. Hooker lives. Stripper gets convicted of aggravated battery. (Note: I did not do the charging in the office so another attorney charged the defendant with Aggravated Battery rather than Attempted Murder).
Court reporters are probably the calmest people you will meet in a court room. They rarely show emotions. The court reporter taking the plea was very attractive. During the entire please hearing, the Pimp was staring at her the court reporter the entire time. It was so bad, I was getting creeped out. The court reporter bolted from the court room the moment the hearing was over because she was completely grossed out by the dude.
After the attack (but before the plea hearing) - they got invited back to appear on the Springer show. They went two more times. It was an absolute shit show - only appeared on the Too Hot for TV videos. Somewhere around here I have the old VHS copy of the three appearances."
They ate their words.
"One of the car dealerships my dad worked for had a commercial in the 80s where they used a guy dressed up in a gorilla outfit and the dealership had a whole jungle theme. In one of the commercials they said like come down and get a new "whatever car it was" for 10,000 bananas.
Some guy showed up with a truck full of 10,000 bananas the next week and wanted the car. It ended up in court and the banana guy won from it being deemed false advertisement."
Now THAT'S a case.
"I had a case where a drug dealer client referred another drug dealer my way for representation on his drug dealing charges. This is all quite some time ago and largely contained in police reports and courtroom testimony, so there's nothing privileged here.
He comes to my office, we sit down and exchange pleasantries and he starts to spin out his yarn. He starts by saying, "I don't know if you know this..."
"But you're kind of a big deal?" I say, with a bit of a wink and a nod.
"Exactly," he says, dead serious. I die a little on the inside.
He goes on to tell me that he and his wife were preparing to go on a vacation down to Vegas, but before heading to the airport they decided that they needed to wash their dog and eat some magic mushrooms. Apparently the dog escaped from the shower and broke their glass shower door, which left a huge bleeding gash on my client's arm.
Seeing that they were to be late to the airport, they threw everything they needed into a suitcase, did a line of blow, and headed off.
At the airport, TSA notices my client acting suspiciously in the security line, in that he is bleeding from an open wound and gnashing his jaw like he's working through a pack of big league chew in one go. They take him aside and search his luggage. Inside they find 10-20k of loose cash and a pile of blood covered clothes, as well as an apothecary bag full of uppers, downers, siders, and everything else you would need for a trip to Vegas.
In the little security detention area, my client decides that he's hot and he takes his pants off. For some reason this also necessitates him to stand on the bench where he should be sitting. This is how the real police found him on the handoff from TSA.
So we're back in my office now. This guy is buttoned up, you know? White collar, long black high-quality trench. Sober disposition, besides the incredibly obvious cocaine-induced narcissism.
"I want to take this to the mat!" he exclaimed, fueled by righteous indignation. "I need you to beat this for me!"
You see, the problem with narcissism - true, unmedicatated, cocaine-fueled narcissism - is that it is impossible for the narcissist to be wrong. It is incredibly difficult to represent someone like this.
Eventually I got him a sweetheart of a plea deal that I had to twist his arm into taking. Quantities were for personal use, etc., do some treatment, everything goes away.
There is one stand-out moment from a conversation he decided to have with the judge during one court appearance. "Are you employed, sir?" asked the Judge. To which my client replied, "Yes, I'm an...off-paper partner in a restaurant." Whatever that means. Sure doesn't sound like you're doing anything illegal there. The judge just rolled his eyes and let it go. One more rich junkie.
About a year later the guy got picked up again. Not quite as dramatic this time. Motor vehicle stop for poor driving, found tons of drugs and loose bullets in the car, just sort of rolling around on the floor. Client ended up firing me when I recommended that he get some actual treatment, end of story. Not sure how it all turned out for him."
Some people never quit.
"Every lawyer worth his/her salt has a pro se plaintiff story. All of them are probably the lawyer's weirdest.
Mine is no different. Pro se plaintiff sued an engineer who performed a home inspection following severe winds in Texas and wrote a report for the insurer that no wind damage occurred.
She sued the engineer. Now, no lawyer would take the case because it was frivolous and lawyers get sanctioned for filing frivolous lawsuits. So she filed it herself.
In that petition, she outlined a ceiling fan coming loose and killing her cat; that she had a summer wardrobe that got soot on it from ... I have no idea; the name of her dog - she also said that sometimes her dog would act up and she would roll up a news paper and teach her dog a lesson, but rest assured, she loved her dog; that she was a good Christian woman and sang in her church; her favorite color was pink; and 63 other pages of "facts" that, as you have guessed, have absolutely nothing to do with wind or engineering...
Her case was dismissed because she did not attach an affidavit Texas requires when you sue an engineer.
She did not let that go... nope. She filed an appeal.
She lost that appeal.
She filed a petition to the supreme court - alleging that the court of appeals had no fucking idea what they were doing, that they were super corrupt and in league with the trial court judge to deprive her of her rights.
The supreme court denied to get her review.
She then filed about 6 more insane things with the supreme court and the court of appeals before they threatened to hold her in contempt if she filed anything else of a frivolous nature.
So some $50,000.00 in legal fees and a year of time later - there was a final end to it all... legal fees would have only been $3,500.00 or so if we ended with the dismissal.
This is why any lawyer worth his/her salt would MUCH prefer to deal with another lawyer on the other side - the insane amount of unnecessary legal fees expended in dealing with pro se plaintiffs is egregious. Yes, they are easy cases to win. But they take a lot of effort that frankly, I'd rather spend on reddit or something."
We feel guilty for laughing.Giphy
"This middle-aged, alcoholic woman died in bed one day. Her husband had sort of given up on her, just letting her do her thing: sleep in and go to the store to buy a carton of white wine every day. She would then lay in bed and drink a gallon of wine every single day.
He came home and found her unconscious on the bed. When she wouldn't wake up (he described her as cold and sorta stiff), he raised her to a sitting position and tried to give her some water, but it all spilled down her gown.
He proceeded to call their son, who came straight away. They didn't know what to do with her, so they carried her out, sat her in the car - taking care to fasten her seat belt.
They then drove to the ER and the husband went to the reception and said »my wife sits in the car, dead«.
Cue personnel running on the double, hauling the long dead, wet wife from the car and trying to revive her.
Case was about »indecency with a corpse« but was of course closed due to lack of mens REA.
I've worked on many strange cases, but this one is kinda sticks out to me because it is both funny and sad, and because even if it would normally be a crime feeding a corpse and driving it around, it was done in confusion and out of love for this poor woman."
"NYC teacher has to go to jury duty. While going through security, his backpack is found to have a cigarette box stuffed with 20 glassine envelopes of heroin.
Because he has tenure, he is entitled to a hearing where he is obviously fired. He files a lawsuit to get the termination reversed... and SUCCEEDS! Thank God for appeals.
Our appeal wins and the decision is reversed so the heroin addict thankfully is not teaching your kids."
"Lawyer in the hospitality industry. My firm had a case where Plaintiffs sued our client because they (Plaintiffs) claimed they brought their baby into our client's pool, another baby shat in the pool, and their baby got salmonella as a result (there was no evidence that the other baby even had salmonella).
Their baby ended up being fine with no lasting health effects and we won on summary judgment."
"I started my career in juvenile court, handled a lot of abuse cases. Some were out of control, but one in particular, mom and step dad used and sold heroin, there was physical and sexual abuse, and all of it was verified by findings from child services and a guardian ad litem. Not to mention the mountain of evidence and witnesses.
Mom goes to the bishop of her (Mormon) church and next thing I f**kin know child services is pushing unsupervised parent time even though i have a court order forbidding it. The kid's teacher was sneaking her in to see him at school because she was a member of mom's f**kin ward. Social workers are leaving him alone with her during supervised parent time because she's surely a good mom. She's suddenly got this very high priced lawyer who, at one point in court, calls me out on not being mormon. The kid's development rapidly backslides.
After that it just devolved into this surreal and insane fight, like I was the villain, personally. Her husband threatened the lives of my witnesses and they started dropping out and I couldn't get anyone to support them. Her husband blocked me in the court parking lot one day, and looked me in the eye while brandishing a shot gun. When I finally left he tried following me (but I lived far far away).
At one point in a hearing on the protective order, and the attorney for child services gets riled up and screams as loud as she can "THIS FAMILY IS BEING REUNITED WHETHER UTAHRAPTOR LIKES IT OR NOT."
I didn't like it. And they won't be. But sweet tap dancing Moses, it should not have been that hard or horrible."
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: