History’s Most Outrageous Court Cases

It seems that people will sue over ANYTHING these days. Instead of dueling over our differences like the old days, we tend to trust the courts with our disputes. In fact, the flood of litigation has people calling for serious tort reforms.

Be warned: some of these cases might make you extremely mad at the world. The reality is that a simple headline is not the full picture. Sure some people make off with a $15 million settlement, but they do not get all that money. If plaintiffs do get money, guess who takes 20% or more? Your lawyer. Some defendants never even pay their court settlements. Court payoffs are not always the goldmine that everyone thinks they are.


Still, some of these cases are the definition of ridiculous. People will sue for anything if they think that they can make money out of it. Check out these extremely outrageous court cases to see the ridiculousness for yourself. 

1. McDonald’s Coffee Cup

The mother of all bizarre cases is the now infamous McDonald’s Coffee Cup incident. When 79-year-old Stella Leibeck went to McDonald’s for a cup of coffee one day in 1992, she had no idea that her name would become synonymous with tort reform. She ordered a coffee and removed the lid. Her coffee spilled on her lap and caused her significant burns (pictured below).

McDonald’s spent considerable time and money launching what some have called a smear campaign against her. Her case became a sensation. In recent years, legal scholars have attempted to set the records straight. Leibeck received the payment because McDonald’s kept their coffee at higher temperatures than industry standards. This is what caused the horrible burns to her legs.



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