These stories are from the Reddit users listed below.
1/17. I worked on a custody dispute between a mother and grandmother, where both sides were absolutely outraged by the others' claims.
The mother was very upset that she was alleged to have been a stripper. "I was a prostitute, but I was NEVER a stripper!"
The grandmother in return, was furious that she was alleged to have 21 cats in her 2-bedroom apartment. "We only have 17 cats! How DARE she flat-out lie and say that we have 21 cats."
The child ended up living with the father in a different state.
2/17. An older retired man came to me because his condo association claimed he owed $300 in condo fees. He had refused to pay because he believed they provided no value - apparently they put the money towards BBQ events rather than snow clearing or upgrades to the building.
It was a matter of principle for him despite the fact my bill would go beyond $300 very quickly. So I wrote letters to the condo association demanding an accounting of their funds (which he was entitled to under their bylaws). Eventually they hired a lawyer who I had fun dealing with, explaining to him he would just have to sue him to recover the $300 because it was a matter of principle for my client and we went back and forth on it for awhile. I knew the condo association would never go forward with it because they would have to pay their lawyer way more than $300 to recover. It ended up just being a big game of chicken.
He must have spent a couple grand defending it, but he didn't care at all. He just wanted to stick it to his condo association.
3/17. A year out of law school I once had a potential client who wanted me to sue Canada. Apparently he could not get into the country due to his felony record. I tried to reason with him, that it was up to the sovereign nation to set its own rules regarding entry to the country but he insisted that we could make a lot of money suing Canada. I didn't take the case but I told him I might be able to get him a letter that said "sorry" -from Canada.
4/17. As a public defender I defended a grown man accused of stealing magic cards from Walmart. There was an hour long security video meticulously showing, from dozens of angles, that he was picking up sets of cards, unwrapping them and discarding the wrappers around the store. He insisted that he was innocent and we actually went to a jury trial instead of securing a plea deal. It took the jury 8 minutes to convict him and the judge laid into my client telling him that he was the worst thief he had ever seen.
I forgot the best part. At one point in the trial I had to spend 45 minutes explaining to the judge what magic cards are. He couldn't understand why anyone need more than one deck.
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5/17. Family law attorney here. I just had a custody case go back to court over eyeglasses. My client didn't like the glasses her ex bought the kid. So stupid. I want to go back to criminal defense. Gang homicide cases had nicer people to deal with than family law.
6/17. I'm not a lawyer but as a child I was taken into foster care and then returned to my father's custody so he had custody of me from ages 4-16. When I was 22 he tried to sue me for the costs involved in caring for me for that time, saying that he had no obligation to take custody of me and had only done so to "save" me from foster care. It was obviously dismissed and I don't talk to him any more.
7/17. While working at a plaintiffs employment firm, two memorable consults came in.
a) Guy gets fired for being late too much, wants to sue for discrimination because he has a sugar addiction and needs to stop in 7-11 for a big gulp before shift begins, and he usually ends up missing the bus.
b) A woman comes in, she was a bus driver & was terminated during her probationary period, she had three accidents in 6 weeks. She wants to sue for discrimination because she has anxiety & a therapy rabbit. All the while sitting at the conference room table petting the therapy bunny.
8/17. Not attorney, but one of my parents owns a law firm. Immigration law.
One guy comes in because immigration was breathing down his neck and trying to deport him. Why? Because they considered him to be a murderer and a torturer.
He had been at Home Depot one day, before the definitive interview that was to turn him into a Legal Resident, when he met some fellow immigrant (who he never saw before or since). They started chatting and the other guy imparted some advice: Tell the Americans that you were part of death squads in your country, hunting down and killing/torturing Communist guerrillas.
Knowing Americans hate Communists, he did just that at the interview. The officials were horrified because he just admitted to being a torturer and, due to participating in paramilitary organizations, a murderer. They closed his case and began a court case to deport him.
So my parents firm had to prepare an entire case to prove the fact that he had never so much as fired a rifle in his life and that his only real crime was being an idiot (that and making a misrepresentation to immigration officials).
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9/17. A woman called saying that she had a product liability suit involving animal crackers she gave to her daughter. I was thinking it was going to be something to do with food poisoning and keep listening. She explained that when she looked at the crackers, it looked like the monkey was holding its penis (it was a banana). This woman was mortified and ashamed. She said she told all her coworkers and they were very shocked and uncomfortable. I wanted to tell her she was nuts and that they were probably freaked out because you were talking about animal cracker dicks.
10/17. Not a lawyer but my uncle once had a client trying to sue Sears for distributing pornography to minors because he caught his 12 year old son masturbating to the lingerie section.
11/17. I worked in legal aid for a number of years. My most absurd case was one I actually took. The client was being evicted from her mobile home. In my state you usually own the mobile home but rent the lot on which the mobile home sits. Mobile homes are expensive to move. The cost of moving them can exceed the value of the home.
My client fell behind on her lot rent and owed the landlord a decent chunk of money but her landlord delivered the eviction notice improperly so I would have been able to get the case thrown out. (Only to have landlord correct their mistake and come right back into court again, but much more pissed off.) Shd had also recently put new gutters in their mobile home.
I negotiated a deal where my client would turn over title to the mobile home to the landlord, would move out and not owe the landlord any money. This was a good deal as the mobile home was worth roughly what she owed and she didn't get stuck paying for her landlord's attorneys fees. Having negotiated with this lawyer and this landlord numerous times before I knew that them waiving fees was a rare deal.
Then my client said she wanted her her landlord to pay for the gutters she recently had installed. The landlord, as expected, refused. Then she said she wanted to remove the gutters. I spent an hour of my life hammering out a deal for her to be able to remove the gutters. The entire time I doing this I'm thinking "this is not why I went to law school. This is not why I went into public interest law. I've got 70 other clients with serious issues whose cases I should be working on." I call my client to tell her that she could have the gutters, but she had to remove them and be out within 7 days. She said "I don't want the gutters I just wanted them to pay me for them." I still want that hour of my life back.
I left public interest law a couple years later. In my practice now I refuse to handle cases involving mobile homes.
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12/17. There's a lot of them:
I've been asked to evict a ghost. I actually did that one.
I regularly get phone calls promising to make me a millionaire if I'll "sue the police."
There's the completely guilty sex offender sitting in jail who wanted me to handle his appeal under circumstances that would have resulted in him being released...then immediately charged and convicted of a more serious crime.
So many...So many...
13/17. Lawyer in a small town here. I mostly do estate planning, probate, old people stuff, etc.
I have a client that sued his ex-wife for not selling the house after the divorce as she was supposed to. Judge held her in contempt, and asked what he wanted my client to do, and he had her thrown in jail. They are both nearly 80 years old.
The client also has something valuable buried on his property for his grandchildren after he dies. I have a sealed letter in my desk that he pays me a goodly sum each month to hold and give to his grandson when the old man dies.
14/17. A prospective client once called me to ask if I did personal injury cases because she "felt a fall coming on."
15/17. Criminal prosecutor here. A patrol officer pulled over a driver for some traffic violation, I think failure to signal. After a heated roadside exchange where the driver initially refused to turn over her license, she ultimately relented and "thrust the license with undue force" into the officer's outstretched hand.
The cop charged her with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. When asked to justify his actions he stated that "people need to learn to respect the police." We dismissed the charge, apologized to the defendant, and told the cop to never bring us something like that again. I can't recall if internal affairs was notified.
I work with the police every day, and the majority of them are good people. This guy was a shit.
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16/17. During Law School, I was a member of a legal clinic. We represented low income individuals, under the supervision of a licensed attorney/professor. We handled family law issues, but would try to point clients in the right direction if we could not personally help them. One man came in and stated that he wanted to sue Best Buy. Which is not uncommon, but why he wanted to sue BestBuy was different.
See this man said he purchased a refurbished computer from BestBuy, for his daughter, as a Xmas present. BestBuy had neglected to remove the previous owner's password screen and thus, this man and his daughter were unable to access the computer until they took it back to Bestbuy, which was understandably closed on Xmas day.
This, he said, caused his 12 year old daughter to begin to the question the very existence of Santa Claus. He and his daughter then argued the rest of the day, until finally he admitted to her that there was (Spoiler Alert) no Santa Claus. His words were "seeing your daughter lose faith in Santa ruined all Xmas's to come." He also claimed that now his daughter was "a real bitch" since she had stopped believing in Santa Claus.
What was more interesting is the amount of damages he requested. He stated he believed that BestBuy owed him "at least 25 million" because Xmas was ruined, his daughter will never believe in Santa again, and now he has to deal with her being "a real bitch" now.
I did not believe he had a any type of recourse against BestBuy for inadvertently demolishing his Daughter's belief in Santa, but even if I did, our clinic could not help him. I informed him that we only handled family law issues, and he should call the local Bar Association's lawyer referral service. He stated the Bar Association already told him they would not take his case.Then he proceeded to ask if I had children. I told him I did not. Then he proceeded to wish that all my future kids have their belief in Santa Claus ruined. He stated he would not help me, if that happened. He then told me to "fuck off" and left.
The whole time I was wondering how this guy's daughter believed in Santa Claus till age 12.
17. Not lawyer but paralegal. I took a cold call one evening from a gentleman who was clearly high (probably meth) and homeless. He wanted to sue his local police dispatch, 911, paramedics and a hospital (we are a civil litigation firm) because he narked on someone who was now (allegedly) trying to get him.
It was now the police station's fault that he would have to stab the guy and he repeatedly asked me if he should carry a knife so he could do said stabbing. He apparently had also asked the 911 dispatch this same question and all they would tell him is that no, he should not in fact go stab someone. Also asked if he should go stab the other guy before he had a chance to get him. He then wanted to come hide at our office while keeping his knife and deciding where to go stab the other guy.
Definitely most surreal phone call of my life thus far. And before it's asked, no we didn't report the situation to anyone. We are in a large city and he said his location was "up north", did not give us his name and we don't have caller ID (very old boss, hates technology because he can't use/understand it) so we really didn't have anything to give the police as far as useful information. Fun times.
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