The Five Funniest Court Cases of All Time

Mon 18 Mar 2024

Every now and again we like to write something to put a smile on your face. That's why this week, we're giving pricing and legal project management a break. Instead. we'll be running through the top five of the funniest court cases of all time, as of 2024. So grab a biscuit and a nice cup of tea and avoid your emails for half an hour.

5. To Golf, or Not to Golf

That is the question. Or it sort of was. In this instance, the case before the court was to determine whether walking was integral to the game of golf. Casey Martin, a professional golfer, was born with a syndrome that prevented him from walking long distances. Unfortunately, when he applied to take part in a tournament with the use of a buggy instead of walking, the PGA turned down his request. In their words, it would give Martin an advantage and walking was an important part of the game of golf.

Enter Justice Antonin Scalia, to deliver a withering assessment of the PGA's discriminatory practices. Ouch.

"We Justices must confront what is indeed an awesome responsibility. It has been rendered the solemn duty of the Supreme Court of the United States ... to decide What Is Golf. I am sure that the Framers of the Constitution ... fully expected that sooner or later the paths of golf and government, the law and the links, would once again cross, and that the judges of this august Court would some day have to wrestle with that age-old jurisprudential question, for which their years of study in the law have so well prepared them: Is someone riding around a golf course from shot to shot really a golfer? "

Justice Antonin Scalia

4. There Was a Young Man From Nantucket...

In this instance the details of the funny court case come second to the format of the verdict itself. Namely, that the judge wrote his verdict in the form of a limerick. Clearly the judge could do with polishing his skills as the first two lines don't really rhyme. Perhaps stick to the day job?

Some farmers from Gaines had a plan.
It amounted to quite a big scam.
But the payments for cotton
began to smell rotten.
T'was a mugging of poor Uncle Sam.

Justice Goldberg

3. I Beg Your Pardon?

Number three on our list of funniest court cases also makes the cut more for format than the case being argued. In this instance a High Court judge in India handed down a verdict so convoluted it was returned by the Supreme Court. To be honest, we've been puzzling over the meaning of the following passage for about an hour. Anyone care to shed some light?

"The summum bonum of the aforesaid discussion is that all the aforesaid material which existed before the learned Executing Court standing slighted besides their impact standing untenably undermined by him whereupon the ensuing sequel therefrom is of the learned Executing Court while pronouncing its impugned rendition overlooking the relevant and germane evidence besides its not appreciating its worth. Consequently, the order impugned suffers from a gross absurdity and perversity of misappreciation of material on record."

via the BBC

2. A Court Innuendo

One can imagine the life of a judge could become boring. Listening to defendant after defendant and lawyer after lawyer as each side tries to argue their case. Thankfully, some judges like to use their court judgments as a way of livening proceedings. If only for those paying attention.

Take the case of Grille v San Antonio. In it, the state of San Antonio was trying to prevent exotic dancers from wearing anything less than a bikini top. When a club attempted to secure an injunction to prevent the cities from enforcing this rule they verdict was a heaven of double entendre. Sadly the plaintiffs we're unsuccessful. Highlights of the judgement, however, include:

"Should the parties choose to string this case out to trial on the merits, the Court encourages reasonable discovery intercourse as they navigate the peaks and valleys of litigation, perhaps to reach a happy ending.'


"An ordinance dealing with semi-nude dancers has once again fallen on the Court's lap.'

Grille v San Antonio

1. It Didn't Even Make it to Court

Our final entry, as the name suggest, didn't even make it to court. A dispute scheduled for trial was instead settled out of court. In response, Justice Martin Sheehan of Kentucky, wrote a cancellation order of such enthusiasm that it deserves a spot.

Judge Sheehan noted that the news made him 'happier than a tick on a fat dog because [the Court] is otherwise busier than a one-legged cat in a sandbox and, quite frankly, would have rather jumped naked off a twelve-foot stepladder into a five-gallon bucket of porcupines than have presided over a trial of the herein dispute, a trial which, no doubt, would have made the jury more confused than a hungry baby in a topless bar and made the parties and their attorneys madder than mosquitoes in a mannequin factory.'

via Fosters






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