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Quiz about Suit Yourself
Quiz about Suit Yourself

'Suit' Yourself Trivia Quiz


It is a truism of most legal systems that you cannot sue yourself, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. Here are 10 actual or threatened lawsuits where someone sued himself, or something very close to that. Most of the cases are from the U.S.

A multiple-choice quiz by jmorrow. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
jmorrow
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
342,190
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
1417
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 159 (8/10), ZWOZZE (7/10), Hando (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. American courts are no stranger to lawsuits brought by prison inmates alleging civil rights violations. In 1995, Robert Lee Brock, a prisoner in Chesapeake, Virginia, came up with a novel way to complain that his civil rights had been infringed. Who was his suit against? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. In 2006, Curtis Gokey commenced a suit against the city of Lodi, California for damage done to his parked vehicle when a city dump truck backed into it negligently. His claim was not allowed, however, due to a fatal flaw. What was the problem? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Wells Fargo, one of the Big Four U.S. banks, came under scrutiny in July 2009 when it sued itself in Hillsborough County Court during the height of the subprime mortgage crisis. What was the purpose of the suit? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty was a copyright infringement suit over the alleged similarities between Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1970 hit, "Run Through the Jungle", and John Fogerty's 1985 hit, "The Old Man Down the Road". What was one unusual feature of the case? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. In November 2008, a news story broke about a potential lawsuit that could colloquially be described as "Batman v. Batman". The defendant in this case would have been Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., the film director and studio responsible for the 2008 blockbuster, "The Dark Knight". Who (or what) would have been the plaintiff? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. When the popular animated TV show "The Simpsons" made fun of a certain TV news channel in October 2003, media reports claimed that the news channel was thinking of suing. That move would have pit two sibling companies against each other, since "The Simpsons" was broadcast on the same television network. Which TV network was this? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. In 2007, Islington borough council in London, England, issued a parking ticket to one of its own vehicles, appealed to itself in an attempt to avoid paying the fine, and, in the course of a further appeal before the Parking and Traffic Adjudicator, sought costs against itself.


Question 8 of 10
8. When executives of The Coca-Cola Company sought legal advice in 2007 about the possibility of Coke Classic suing Coke Zero, the advice they received was that they would effectively be suing themselves. Luckily for the company, no suit materialized. What was the real story behind this bizarre development? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In 2005, Illinois attorney Emert Wyss advised his client, Carmelita McLaughlin, to sue her mortgage holder to recover some improper fees she had been charged when she refinanced her home. This turned out to be a mistake on his part. In what way did Emert Wyss end up suing himself? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. In 1985, Oreste Lodi sued himself in the Shasta County Superior Court in California. Dissatisfied with the outcome of that suit, he appealed. What, according to the Court of Appeals of California (Third District), was the outcome of the case? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. American courts are no stranger to lawsuits brought by prison inmates alleging civil rights violations. In 1995, Robert Lee Brock, a prisoner in Chesapeake, Virginia, came up with a novel way to complain that his civil rights had been infringed. Who was his suit against?

Answer: Himself

Robert Lee Brock was serving a 23-year sentence in Indian Creek Correctional Center for breaking and entering and grand larceny when he filed a $5 million lawsuit in Federal Court. The defendant was none other than Robert Lee Brock. In his seven-page, handwritten complaint, Brock claimed that he violated his own religious beliefs on July 1st, 1993, when he went out in an intoxicated state and got himself arrested. "I want to pay myself five million dollars," he stated in his suit, "but ask the state to pay it in my behalf since I can't work and am a ward of the state."

Thankfully, Judge Rebecca Beach Smith didn't hesitate in dismissing the frivolous case. "Plaintiff has presented an innovative approach to civil rights litigation," wrote the Judge in the grounds of her decision. "However, his claim and especially the relief sought are totally ludicrous."
2. In 2006, Curtis Gokey commenced a suit against the city of Lodi, California for damage done to his parked vehicle when a city dump truck backed into it negligently. His claim was not allowed, however, due to a fatal flaw. What was the problem?

Answer: He was the person driving the dump truck.

Curtis Gokey was working his job as driver of a city dump truck on that fateful December day, during what all reports described as a particularly bad snowstorm. So bad, in fact, that he backed the dump truck into a parked vehicle, causing $3,600 in damage. The owners of the parked vehicle were Gokey and his wife, so Gokey brought a claim against the city to cover his repair bill. To help his case, Gokey admitted that the accident was his fault.

The city rejected the claim, arguing that Gokey was the author of his own woes, and pointing out that he was effectively suing himself. Not to be discouraged, Gokey's wife then commenced a separate action, this time for $4,800, and explained the inflated claim by saying, "I'm not as nice as my husband is." (The claim was reportedly inflated to include the cost of a replacement vehicle while their truck was being repaired.) Her claim was also rejected, apparently because as a married couple, California law recognized them as one entity, and their private vehicle as community property, so her claim suffered from the same defect as her husband's.
3. Wells Fargo, one of the Big Four U.S. banks, came under scrutiny in July 2009 when it sued itself in Hillsborough County Court during the height of the subprime mortgage crisis. What was the purpose of the suit?

Answer: It was trying to foreclose on a mortgage in Tampa, Florida.

Wells Fargo was the first mortgage holder of a condominium property in Florida when it became entitled to foreclose on the mortgage and sell the property. It filed a civil suit in Hillsborough County Court against all the subordinate mortgage and lien holders, which included Wells Fargo as holder of the second mortgage on the property. When asked why the bank was apparently suing itself, a spokesperson from Wells Fargo explained: "Due to state foreclosure laws, lenders are obligated to name and notify subordinate lien holders... to clear title and ownership interest in a property to prepare it for sale."

That may very well be true, but some people questioned whether it would have been more sensible for Wells Fargo to simply release its secondary lien and allow the foreclosure to take place. In particular, it seemed bizarre for Wells Fargo to hire one law firm to file the claim, and another law firm to defend itself against its own lawsuit. The bank came under fire from critics and commentators for incurring two sets of attorney fees in one foreclosure action, just months after it received billions in bail-out money from the U.S. government.
4. Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty was a copyright infringement suit over the alleged similarities between Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1970 hit, "Run Through the Jungle", and John Fogerty's 1985 hit, "The Old Man Down the Road". What was one unusual feature of the case?

Answer: Both songs were written by John Fogerty.

While this case didn't feature anyone suing themselves per se, it did answer the vexing question of whether a songwriter could plagiarize himself. John Fogerty was the lead singer and songwriter for CCR, and had penned their 1970 hit, "Run Through the Jungle". The group eventually disbanded, the distribution and publishing rights to CCR's back catalog of songs were acquired by Fantasy Records, and Fogerty embarked on a solo career. When Fogerty had a solo hit in 1985 with "The Old Man Down the Road", Fantasy brought suit against him for copyright infringement, alleging that the song was simply "Run Through the Jungle" with different lyrics.

Fogerty argued that it was impossible for a songwriter to infringe his own prior work. The Court disagreed, explaining that Fogerty only had an economic interest in the copyright (in the form of the right to receive royalties), and that the legal ownership of the copyright in "Run Through the Jungle" vested in Fantasy Records. Fogerty could therefore be liable for infringing the copyright in a song he had written without the consent of the song's current copyright holder. On the facts, however, the jury found that although the two songs were written in the same style, they were nevertheless distinct musical works, so Fogerty was ultimately successful in escaping a finding that he had plagiarized his own work.
5. In November 2008, a news story broke about a potential lawsuit that could colloquially be described as "Batman v. Batman". The defendant in this case would have been Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., the film director and studio responsible for the 2008 blockbuster, "The Dark Knight". Who (or what) would have been the plaintiff?

Answer: A city in Turkey

When news broke in 2008 that the Mayor of Batman, a city in Turkey, was considering legal action against the makers of the film "The Dark Knight", everyone was curious to hear the basis for the suit. The crux of the complaint seemed to be that the people involved in making the film had failed to ask for permission from the city to use its name, so naturally the mayor felt that his city was entitled to its share of the film's sizable profits.

It didn't seem to matter that while "Batman" comics had been around since 1939, the Turkish city only changed its name to Batman in 1957, being previously known as Iluh.

The mayor also blamed the film for the high incidences of unsolved murders and female suicides in the city, although it was unclear how one film could be responsible for all that. Reports in the popular press about the potential legal claim certainly raised the profile of the Turkish city. One U.S. based entertainment newspaper ran the story with the following byline: "Batman has a new adversary: Batman."
6. When the popular animated TV show "The Simpsons" made fun of a certain TV news channel in October 2003, media reports claimed that the news channel was thinking of suing. That move would have pit two sibling companies against each other, since "The Simpsons" was broadcast on the same television network. Which TV network was this?

Answer: Fox

Since its inception in 1989, "The Simpsons" has brought its own brand of satirical comedy to the Fox Broadcasting Network. No one was safe from being parodied on the show - not even Fox itself. Co-creator James L. Brooks reportedly negotiated a clause in his contract with Fox that prohibits Fox from interfering with the show, so Fox can't stop "The Simpsons" from making fun of its own network, which it appears to do with disturbing regularity. The show has characterized programming on the Fox network as "crude" and "lowbrow", and has described Fox News as being "Unsuitable for Viewers Under 75". Fox News apparently had enough when an October 2003 episode parodied the channel's news programs with its own version of a news crawl running along the bottom of the screen, with headlines like "Pointless news crawls up 37 per cent", "Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at Foxnews.com", "JFK posthumously joins Republican Party", and "Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple".

Media reports claimed that Fox News had threatened to sue the show over the episode, and only backed down in order to prevent Fox from suing itself. Still other reports quoted a Fox News spokesperson denying that they ever contemplated legal proceedings, and claiming that they thought that the episode was great. Was it nothing but a publicity stunt? You decide.
7. In 2007, Islington borough council in London, England, issued a parking ticket to one of its own vehicles, appealed to itself in an attempt to avoid paying the fine, and, in the course of a further appeal before the Parking and Traffic Adjudicator, sought costs against itself.

Answer: True

In a display of behavior fit for a Robert Louis Stevenson novella, city councils in England routinely take themselves to task for issuing parking tickets to city vehicles. Appeals against parking tickets lie in the first instance to the council for the area where the ticket was issued, while a further appeal lies to the Parking and Traffic Adjudicator.

In this case, the Islington city council issued a parking ticket to one of its own vehicles, and, evidently dissatisfied with its own conduct, wasted no time in appealing to itself.

After hearing and rejecting its own appeal, the council appealed to the Parking and Traffic Adjudicator, who expunged the ticket after the council (presumably in its capacity as respondent) failed to tender any evidence.

The council then sought costs against itself before the Adjudicator, who is only empowered to award costs against a party "if he is of the opinion that that party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable". So by seeking costs in the appeal, the council was necessarily saying that its own conduct in the appeal was frivolous, vexatious and/or wholly unreasonably. Thankfully, the Adjudicator ended the madness by refusing to make any order for costs, pointing out instead that "[t]he legal status of the two parties in this appeal amounted to one and the same".
8. When executives of The Coca-Cola Company sought legal advice in 2007 about the possibility of Coke Classic suing Coke Zero, the advice they received was that they would effectively be suing themselves. Luckily for the company, no suit materialized. What was the real story behind this bizarre development?

Answer: It was a marketing campaign.

In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company launched an unconventional advertising campaign that was designed to emphasize that Coke Zero tasted exactly like Coke Classic, minus the sugar. The series of ads poked fun at Coca-Cola's own litigious history, and featured actors posing as disgruntled Coke Classic executives asking "actual lawyers on hidden camera" (or possibly other actors) if they had a case against their Coke Zero counterparts.

The premise was that these executives were so enraged that the company's newest product tasted so much like Coke Classic that they wanted to sue Coke Zero "back to the stone age" for what they deemed to be "a clear case of taste infringement". The lawyers in the ads were depicted as confused, uncomfortable or downright antagonistic. One attorney pointed out the absurdity of the proposed suit by saying, "It's one company. It's like you suing yourself." The Coke executive was quick with his reply. "Yeah, but they're on a different part of our floor." Another ad featured the Coke executives pointing out that the head of the Coke Zero team was Canadian, and asking an immigration lawyer if they could have him deported. Another visibly irritated lawyer advised that they didn't have a valid claim, and had this to say about the proposed action: "It will be dismissed. You will be humiliated and you'll get fired."
9. In 2005, Illinois attorney Emert Wyss advised his client, Carmelita McLaughlin, to sue her mortgage holder to recover some improper fees she had been charged when she refinanced her home. This turned out to be a mistake on his part. In what way did Emert Wyss end up suing himself?

Answer: He owned the company that originally charged the improper fees.

Emert Wyss actually owned the title company that charged the allegedly improper fees to his own client, but the mortgage had been assigned to a different company. Months later, Wyss advised his client to sue her current mortgage holder to recover the improper charges, without realizing that his company had charged the fees in the first place. In a deposition carried out by McLaughlin's attorney, Wyss was asked to confirm the accuracy of this characterization of the facts: "Emert Wyss, wearing his hat of Centerre Title company, collects the fees from Ms. McLaughlin, and now we have six, seven, eight months later, Emert Wyss wearing his hat as Ms. McLaughlin's attorney suggests she file suit over the very fees his title company collected from her, is that right?"

Wyss conceded that the summary, while an oversimplification, was essentially correct. Both he and his company were subsequently added as indispensable third party defendants to the suit. The story was widely reported in the media with the headline "Alton attorney accidentally sues himself".
10. In 1985, Oreste Lodi sued himself in the Shasta County Superior Court in California. Dissatisfied with the outcome of that suit, he appealed. What, according to the Court of Appeals of California (Third District), was the outcome of the case?

Answer: Both of these answers are true.

In Lodi v. Lodi, the plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant for an order of possession of the reversionary interest in a charitable trust, which he claimed had been created by his birth certificate. His complaint was that he had written to the defendant to terminate the trust by revoking his birth certificate, but that the defendant had wrongfully persisted in controlling the trust. The plaintiff was seeking an order that he was absolutely entitled to possession of the trust property. To further complicate an already incomprehensible case, the plaintiff and the defendant happened to be the same person.

The lower Court refused to grant the relief sought, and advised Lodi to seek the assistance of a lawyer. Unfazed by this setback, Lodi, who remained unrepresented, filed an appeal, and proceeded to file briefs in each of his capacities. Unsurprisingly, the Appeals Court was unable to fathom the purpose of the suit, but noted that Lodi had extended a 'complimentary' copy of his complaint to the IRS, and presumed that the litigant was attempting to secure some sort of tax advantage. The Appeals Court refused the appeal and affirmed the lower Court's decision, in a judgment that revealed the Court's own sense of humor. In summing up the outcome of the case, the Court said: "Although it is true that, as plaintiff and appellant, he loses, it is equally true that, as defendant and respondent, he wins! It is hard to imagine a more even handed application of justice." To add insult to injury, the Court declined to make the usual order of costs in favor of the winning party, and instead required each party to bear his own costs.
Source: Author jmorrow

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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