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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

  |   Dec. 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Legal group notes absurd lawsuits of 2012

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A suit filed against the victim by a Florida driver who admitted to vehicular manslaughter after driving drunk topped a list of most ridiculous U.S. lawsuits.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, which advocates for tort reform, Thursday released its list of the 2012's 10 most ridiculous lawsuits.

Second on the list is a Michigan woman, who sought -- and was summarily denied -- $5 million in compensation for the gas that was in the tank of her car when it was repossessed.

Rounding out the group's top five were:

-- A Little League baseball game attendee who sued a 13-year-old player after being hit by a foul ball;

-- A prison inmate who had five teeth when he was incarcerated, then sued the prison for shoddy dental work;

-- A person involved in a bar fight who sued Anheuser Busch after being hit with a beer bottle during the dispute.

"Abuse of our legal system is no joke, and these examples range from the outrageous to the absurd," said Lisa Rickard, institute president. "This poll reminds us that as a society, we sue too much. In turn, these abusive lawsuits inflict harm on lives, jobs and our economic growth."


Hidden sink hole swallows bus

OCEANSIDE, Calif., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A broken water main is being blamed for a flood and sinkhole that swallowed a municipal bus in California.

As water flooded several streets in Oceanside, Calif., early Wednesday, onlookers told KGTV-San Diego they saw a bus slowly creeping along. The water hid a treacherous sinkhole and one resident who'd stepped out onto his balcony to see what the commotion was about said he watched the bus pitch forward into the depression.

"You could see the water. You didn't know it was a sinkhole," said Kevin Russell, who lives in an apartment complex overlooking the flooded street. "The bus just kind of creeped in and went down."

The bus driver was the only person on the vehicle. He escaped through a side window unharmed.


Homeowner sues over mistaken oil delivery

NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A New York oil company is being sued for making a delivery to the wrong house in Brooklyn and sending oil through an old pipe straight to the basement floor.

Vera Bernier, who owns the house in the Cypress Hills neighborhood and rents it out, told the New York Post a pool of 300 gallons of heating oil ended up in the basement after the mistaken delivery in January.

"It was not a good day for me," she said Wednesday. "I was livid for someone to make such a horrible mistake."

Bernier said Reliable, in upstate New York, stopped being helpful as the cost of the cleanup became clear. She said the city has told her she must pay for the cleanup, which could cost $60,000.

The delivery was supposed to be made to 142 Cleveland Ave., but the driver went to 132 Cleveland by mistake and pumped the oil through a pipe that is no longer in use.

Jim Gochnauer, a Christian high school principal who rents the house, said the mishap added $200 to his electric bill because of fans in the basement blowing away the smell of the oil.


Man strips naked for zoo tigers

KALININGRAD, Russia, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Officials at a Russian zoo said a young man who forced his way into the facility after closing time took his clothes off and threw them to the tigers.

The zoo workers in Kaliningrad said the man told a ticket collector he had to get into the facility after closing time Wednesday because "he's expected" and forced his way onto the premises, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

A zoo worker discovered the man naked by the tiger cage the following day, with his clothes inside the enclosure. The zoo called police and an ambulance, which took the man to a local hospital to be checked out.

The man was allowed to go home after he was found to be in sound mental health and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

No explanation was given for the man's behavior, but one of the doctors who treated him asked, "Who hasn't done stupid things in their youth?"

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