Category:
Lawsuits

The Disputed Measurements of Miss France



Article source.



Article source: Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 07 Feb 1964, Fri Page 14


The New Miss France 1963 Muguette Fabris and her Dauphines Daniele Chevalier (L) and Michele Fourtain Povel (R) January 01, 1963




Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 15, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Body, Lies, Dishonesty and Cheating, Lawsuits, 1960s

United States v. 350 Cartons of Canned Sardines

This case is known in legal circles primarily because of its odd name.

It occurred in 1934 and involved 350 cartons of canned sardines shipped from California to Pennsylvania. The FDA examined some of the cans at its lab in Washington DC and decided that they contained "decomposed animal substance." Therefore, it ordered all 350 cartons to be destroyed.

The sardine company challenged this order in court. It lost the initial case, but won on appeal. Though, by that time, two years later, the sardines may already have been destroyed.

As far as I can tell, the case represented a power struggle between the California inspectors (who had approved the fish for shipment) and the federal ones. The FDA's decision seems to have been somewhat arbitrary. Its inspector decided the fish were decomposed not because of how they smelled or tasted. He said they smelled fine. He concluded they were 'decomposed' simply because they looked slightly pink — which was probably because they had been cooked in tomato sauce.

Read more about the case here.

Case and Comment - Autumn 1934

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 13, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Odd Names, Lawsuits, 1930s

Wolfe v. Feldman

Peter Ackerberg, writing in the Minneapolis Star (Nov 17, 1979), described the unusual legal case of Wolfe v. Feldman, which was heard in 1936:

Charlotte Wolfe had three rotten teeth, so she went to Max Feldman, a dentist specializing in oral surgery, to have them pulled. When the surgery was over, however, Wolfe complained of pain in a strange place: the pinky finger of her right hand. It turned out to be a possible fracture, and she sued Feldman.

Feldman countered that it wasn't his fault, and he told the judge this story:

Wolfe was strapped to the dentist's chair (apparently a common procedure then), and was given nitrous oxide, an anesthesia better known as laughing gas. What happened next was no laughing matter.

The next part of the story is best summarized in the text of the case itself:

Defendant's story is that plaintiff was strapped to the operating chair; that a short time later, after plaintiff was in the excitement stage of nitrous oxide anaesthesia and as he moved closer to the chair to adjust the suction aspirator, plaintiff, despite the limited movement of the strapped wrist, clutched his testicles with a painful grip, which required the use of great force to release.

So the patient, while under the influence of laughing gas, managed to grab hold of the dentist's testicles, and in the process of freeing himself the dentist fractured her little finger.

Nevertheless, the judge ruled in favor of the patient for $650, saying:

It was incumbent on him, during the time the patient was in the so-called 'fighting stage' reached by patients undergoing anesthesia by nitrous oxide, not to place his body in such a position as to permit plaintiff's hands to interfere with him to such an extent as to require the application of force sufficiently severe to cause her physical injury.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 26, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Lawsuits, 1930s, Teeth

The Sauna Bath Nymphomaniac

The case of the cable car nymphomaniac is a classic weird news story. Less well known, but along similar lines, is the case of the sauna bath nymphomaniac.

Maria Parson claimed that the trauma of being accidentally locked in a sauna for half-an-hour due to a faulty door handle caused her to develop a split personality. She came to have three personalities: "sex-hungry Maria" who prowled bars picking up men, "remorseful Betty" who bitterly resented Maria's escapades, and her submerged real self.

She sued the health spa for $1 million, but lost — even though she was represented by the same lawyer who had secured a win for the cable car nymphomaniac.

Orange Coast Pilot - Dec 20, 1973



Bellingham Herald - Jan 10, 1974



Eureka Times Standard - Mar 6, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 20, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Lawsuits, Psychology, 1970s, Sex

Why Velna Turnage sued Christy Brothers Circus

From the case Christy Bros. Circus v. Turnage heard in the Georgia Court of Appeals, dated Sep. 15, 1928:

Where a petition alleged that the plaintiff was an unmarried white lady, and that while in attendance as a guest of the defendant at a circus performance given by the defendant, and while seated in one of the seats provided by the defendant for the defendant’s guests at the circus, a horse, which was going through a dancing performance immediately in front of where the plaintiff was sitting, was by the defendant’s servant, who was riding upon the horse, caused to back towards the plaintiff, and while in this situation the horse evacuated his bowels into her lap, that this occurred in full view of many people, some of whom were the defendant’s employees, and all of whom laughed at the occurrence, that as a result thereof the plaintiff was caused much embarrassment, mortification, and mental pain and suffering, to her damage in a certain amount, that the damage alleged was due entirely to the defendant’s negligence and without any fault on the part of the plaintiff, the petition set out a cause of action and was good as against a general demurrer.

Velna Turnage was awarded $500 for her "humiliation and embarrassment".

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 13, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Lawsuits, Excrement, 1920s

The Arctic Venus



Helmar Leiderman was the first Miss Alaska. Not really one of of our "oddball beauty titles." Except that when she was disqualified on a technicality during the Miss America contest, she sued and was later arrested.

Article source: The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) 01 Nov 1925, Sun Page 140



Posted By: Paul - Fri Oct 08, 2021 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Lawsuits, 1920s

Unauthorized Dwellings 17

Are the entire populations of San Francisco and Sacramento squatters? One person, John Sutter, believed so.





Article source.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 30, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Lawsuits, Unauthorized Dwellings, North America, Nineteenth Century

Stripper Unsexy?

Source: Nanaimo Daily News (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)14 Sep 1957, Sat Page 2



Posted By: Paul - Tue May 25, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Theater and Stage, Lawsuits, Sex Symbols, 1950s

Eviction caused bad breath, dandruff

1979: After being evicted from the townhouse he was renting, R.L. Ussery filed a lawsuit against his former landlord seeking $11,000 in compensation. Ussery claimed that the eviction had caused him and his family to suffer from "colds, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea dysentery, loss of hair, sweating palms, the need to void, the inability to void, nightmares, insomnia, dandruff, bad breath, dirty fingernails, odoriferous body odors, especially of the feet, palm itching, the blues and the blahs, nervousness, dry heaves and crying spells."

I don't know what the result of the lawsuit was, but I think it's highly unlikely that Ussery won.

Tampa Tribune - Aug 24, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 17, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Lawsuits, 1970s

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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