In today’s day and age, it’s actually not that strange to hear about really weird lawsuits taking place. You would think that with very high cost and the amount of money it takes to actually hire a lawyer and sue someone, plus all of the time it takes to actually go into court probably more than once, most people wouldn’t be so quick to legal action when they feel they’ve been wronged. But no: there are apparently a lot of people out there with both the time and the money needed to get a lawsuit going, even if the reason behind it seems absolutely crazy.
That said, it’s not uncommon to hear about weird lawsuits against all sorts of fast food restaurants. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that fast food places make their fair share of mistakes, and while some lawsuits are totally warranted, others seem a little bit over the top. Like what, you might be wondering? Let’s start with the below. These are some of the most bonkers reasons why people have sued fast food places, and you won’t believe some of these are real:
1. A man sued a variety of fast food chains for making him obese.
Let’s be real: when you eat fast food, you’re not trying to eat healthy. In fact, it seems pretty fair to say that the majority of people eating fast food know that they’re eating something that’s really bad for them. But 56-year-old Caesar Barber decided that, at 5’10” and 270 pounds, his obesity was the fault of chains like Wendy’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and McDonald’s, of which he ate at about four times a week.
This is wild.
Barber filed a class action lawsuit against all of those chains in New York in 2002, saying they didn’t properly disclose how unhealthy the food was, and they contributed to his obesity and health problems, which included diabetes and two heart attacks. In 2003, the case was dismissed without prejudice.
2. McDonald’s was sued for serving hot coffee that was too hot.
Back in 1992, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, sued McDonald’s for serving coffee that was way too hot. Liebeck was sitting in her car when she spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on her lap, and it was so hot that she was left in the hospital for seven days with third-degree burns on her inner thighs, groin, and buttocks.
Liebeck contacted McDonald’s to see if they would reimburse her medical bills, and they took her to court.
In this case, though, Liebeck won. In the end, Liebeck got $160,000 for compensatory damages as well as an additional $2.7 million for punitive damages, which was later reduced to $480,000.
3. Starbucks was sued for putting too much ice in their iced drinks.
In 2016, a class action lawsuit was brought up against Starbucks, claiming that their iced drinks are nearly half ice and accusing the company of fraud, as well as “breach of express warranty, breach of implied warrant of merchantability, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.” The lead plaintiff, Stacy Pincus, said that people who buy iced drinks don’t actually get the 12, 16, 24, or 30 fluid ounces their drink should be because there is so much ice.
Of course, this got dismissed.
The suit was dismissed soon after, with the judge saying that people have to realize that if they order an iced drink, then, well, there’s going to be ice in their drink. Seems pretty fair!
4. A woman sued Jimmy John’s for forgetting the sprouts on her sandwich.
It’s really annoying when you order food and something is left out of your order. What you would normally do is either suck it up and ignore it, or go back to the restaurant, complain, and ask for whatever was forgotten. But when Jimmy John’s forgot to put sprouts on her sandwich, Heather Starks of California, decided to sue them instead.
Hmmm, this is odd.
She claimed “that she purchased sandwiches advertised in online and in-store menus, among other places, as including sprouts, which did not in fact include sprouts.”
Jimmy John’s denied the claims of fraud, but they did settle the case with her.
5. A man sued Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for not using real fruit in their donuts.
It’s pretty safe to say that if you’re ordering donuts from a huge chain like Krispy Kreme, you’re likely not getting the freshest of ingredients. In 2016, Jason Saidian of Los Angeles decided to make this into a lawsuit. He sued Krispy Kreme $5 million in damages, claiming that they falsely advertised the ingredients of their fruit-filled and maple-glazed donuts.
He said their donuts don’t contain real fruit or maples.
Saidian claimed that he expected them to use these real ingredients because they used real fruit bin items like the Glazed Lemon Filled and Glazed Strawberry Filled donuts. He said he wouldn’t have bought the donuts if he knew they didn’t have real fruit. The case was voluntarily dismissed in 2017.
6. A woman sued Burger King for a 20 cent difference in price.
Is 20 cents really something to make a legal case out of? Apparently, one woman thought so. A New Yorker sought $100 in damages against Burger King when she realized that the location three blocks from her home sold a large Coke for 89 cents, while the one six blocks from her home priced the same drink at 69 cents.
She might have a point.
She said she was suing because she had to walk two extra blocks in order to save the 20 cents. Burger King didn’t even bother to show up to the court appearance and still won the case.
7. A man sued McDonald’s for giving him only one napkin.
Yes, you read that correctly. Webster Lucas, a 59-year-old man in Pacoima, California, brought up a $1.5 million civil lawsuit against McDonald’s when they gave him only one napkin after a visit. He said his hands were dirty and he suffered “undue mental anguish” from the experience.
He told Huffington Post, “I am an immaculately clean person.”
Lucas also stated that when he complained to the McDonald’s employee, she was aggressively rude to him and, as a black man, felt that it was racially charged. He wanted the lawsuit to get them to treat their customers fairly. It’s unclear who ended up winning.
8. McDonald’s has also been sued for putting cheese on a Quarter Pounder.
Is getting too much cheese on your burger really a legitimate reason to start a lawsuit? Apparently for some people! Two Florida residents, Cynthia Kissner and Leonard Werner, ordered plain Quarter Pounder burgers, but received them with cheese. They decided to sue McDonald’s.
Nothing cheesy about this.
Wener felt that it wasn’t right that the Quarter Pounder was the same price with or without cheese, but he bought it with cheese anyway, then complained that he had to remove it himself. There are so many questions here! McDonald’s ended up winning the case.
9. A customer sued Papa John’s for sending him text messages.
No one likes being bombarded with spam text messages, but Jonathan Anozie really didn’t like it, and decided to sue because of it. Anozie was getting automated marketing system texts from the chain with offers for discounted pies, and he ended up suing Papa John’s for $500 per unwanted text.
This is frustrating.
Anozie claims he responded “STOP” multiple times, but the messages kept coming. He said it caused him “to suffer a significant amount of anxiety, frustration, and annoyance” and that the texts violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
10. A woman sued KFC millions of dollars for under-filling a bucket of chicken.
No one likes to be cheated out of free food. New Yorker Anna Wurtzburger, 64-years-old, decided to do something about it. In 2016, she sued KFC $20 million for under-filling her bucket of fried chicken. Wurtzburger said that although the bucket is supposed to feed the whole family, it was only half full, and not “overflowing” with chicken.
No, just no.
Although Wurtzburger complained and got two gift certificates out of the deal, she wasn’t satisfied and decided to, well, sue the company for a lot of money. The suit ended up being dismissed.
11. White Castle was sued for having booths that were allegedly too small.
In 2009, stockbroker Martin Kessman went to White Castle to sit down and have a meal, only to find out that he couldn’t fit in the booth (he was 290 pounds). He told The New York Post, “They’re stationary booths. I’m not humungous, [but] I’m a big guy. I could not wedge myself in.” He said he could not find a table and chairs that he could sit at, and when he complained, reported that White Castle responded with “very condescending letters.”
This is really sad.
He claimed that the booths violate the civil rights of overweight people, saying that the Americans with Disabilities Act is “applicable, not only to me, but to pregnant women and to handicapped people.” He sued for bigger chairs and unspecified damages.
12. Starbucks was sued for under-filling lattes.
In 2016, Starbucks was hit with another class-action lawsuit. This one was filed in Northern California and claimed that Starbucks knowingly and regularly serves lattes that are 25 percent smaller than the menu states. The suit said that by doing so, Starbucks “has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payment for more product than it delivers.”
The suit also said there was too much foam.
In the end, the judge dismissed the suit, saying that reasonable customers should expect foam to take up some of the room in their drinks. Fair enough!
13. A woman sued Dunkin’ Donuts for using beef patties instead of real steak in their sandwiches.
If you’re ordering steak from Dunkin’ Donuts, it’s probably not unreasonable to expect that you won’t be receiving a fine cut of beef. But in 2017, Dunkin’ got sued for exactly that. Chufen Chen, from Queens, New York, filed a lawsuit against the chain for their Angus Steak & Eggs sandwich, saying that the Angus steak is actually just an Angus Beef Patty. She felt Dunkin’ was falsely advertising a better quality of meat.
This woman has too much time on her hands.
The class action lawsuit claimed that anyone who ordered the sandwich as a victim of false advertising. Dunkin‘ claimed that their ingredient list is available to customers who look for it, and as of now, a verdict has not been reached.
14. A man sued Popeyes for not giving him a knife to cut his chicken.
Paul Newton Jr. of Mississippi decided to sue Popeyes for not giving him a knife to cut his chicken… which he said caused him to choke on said chicken. Newton said that he only received a spork with his order, so instead of, you know, waiting to cut it himself or asking for a knife, he ate a large piece of fried chicken with his hands, and proceeded to choke on the food.
Ok, a forgotten utensil isn’t a traumatic event.
He also sought financial compensation for his pain, suffering, and medical expenses needed to perform emergency surgery to remove the piece of chicken from his throat. In the end, Newton dropped the suit.
15. Wendy’s was infamously sued for a “finger” being found in an order of chili.
Who can forget when, in 2005, a woman named Anna Ayala filed a claim against a Wendy’s that she had found a human fingertip in her chili? It was horrifying! People were thoroughly disgusted and Wendy’s received tons of negative press.
In fact, they got so much negative press that they reportedly lost more than $21 million in lost sales.
In the end, Ayala ended up admitting to fraud: her husband, Jaime Plascencia, got the severed finger from a co-worker who had lost it in an industrial accident, and Ayala placed it in her chili. They both pleaded guilt, and Ayala was sentenced to nine years in prison. She served four for good behavior.
16. Carl’s Jr. sued Jack in the Box over an ad campaign that they felt went over the line.
Sometimes fast food chains end up suing each other! That was the case when Carl’s Jr. sued rival Jack in the Box for an ad campaign that implied that Carl’s Jr. makes their burgers out of… anus meat. Carl’s Jr. advertises that their bugers are made of Angus beef, and Jack in the Box did a campaign where they basically said “Angus “sounds like “anus.”
Carl’s Jr. sued, claiming people would be too stupid to realize that Angus beef doesn’t actually come from a cow’s anus.
In 2007, a judge denied Carl’s Jr. the injunction to stop the ads from running. So… hopefully people figured it out on their own!
17. A dad sued McDonald’s for promoting Happy Meals to kids.
Happy Meals are for kids, right? So it makes sense that advertisements would, well, target kids. But in 2018, Antonio Bramante from Quebec decided to sue McDonald’s for targeting kids in their Happy Meal ads.
He said that because the in-store toys are at eye-level, his three kids always beg for a Happy Meal.
He filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for advertising to kids, because in Quebec, it’s illegal to advertise to kids under 13-years-old. The verdict is not out yet.