I’m going to put a content warning right up front on this article, because when the folks at Reddit asked for disturbing and messed up, these lawyers definitely delivered.
And while you probably imagined that lawyers all over have some horror stories tucked away, these clients/cases still might shock you.
1. Things ended badly.
Case told to me by another lawyer on one of my cases: two guys decided to give a marijuana laced brownie to their co-worker without telling him it marijuana in it… right before he started his shift… as a crane operator. It went predictably badly, resulted in an accident and even their union agreed the guys should be fired.
2. Good luck with that.
Client insisted on suing an employee who failed to show up to work which caused a contract to be cancelled.
The employee didn’t show up to work because he d**d.
3. Not dramatized.
Not my case, but I was at the Frank Crowley courthouse in Dallas for work and had free time to watch some of the trial against Chris Duntsch (aka Dr D**th).
I watched two of his victims come into court in wheelchairs, and a nurse testify about how me severed this patient’s spinal cord and basically walked out like he didn’t care.
The victims in wheelchairs were supposed to undergo an hour long procedure, go home for recovery, but instead woke up in the hospital paralyzed. Really fu**ed up case and a tragedy that he was allowed to keep bouncing around to different hospitals without repercussions.
Anyways, I haven’t seen the mini series yet, but my friend has and she was like “I’m sure they dramatized it, you know Hollywood.” I honestly don’t think you can dramatize that, at least based on the testimony I saw.
4. That seems pretty extreme.
In a pro bono program, I was assigned to handle the request of an inmate to be released after serving 2/3rd of his sentence. When I read his file, I discovered that he was convicted for kidnapping a woman, tying her to the right front wheel of his jeep and t**turing her to d**th with some sort of home made flamethrower.
When I went to see the guy, he denied everything, and told me he was appealing the verdict (which legally was not possible anymore).
It was really weird sitting in a room with this guy, knowing what he was convicted of, and knowing that he’d been denying the conviction for almost 20 years.
Needless to say, his request to be released early was denied.
5. You’ve gotta have a warning label.
Not really f*cked up, but amusing: my dad won a case against Baskin Robins 30 years ago, because his client chipped her tooth on a pistachio shell while eating pistachio ice cream.
No warning label. I don’t remember the settlement amount, but it was hefty.
6. They should make sure he stays alone.
A sociopath in a psych ward making s**cide pacts with vulnerable people and never following through.
Charged with murder, determined he was too out of his mind to be accountable.
Gonna be in an asylum for the next two decades unless something major changes within the case
7. Definitely the worst thing.
A woman was alone with her baby after her husband got deployed. This was not long after the baby was born. Then the baby passed away, and the body had some strange bruising. The mother insisted the baby crawled out of her sight and fell down the stairs.
The case ultimately got reassigned from our office, and the mother was pi**ed. She told the primary lawyer on the case that she had indeed k**led the baby.
She basically bragged about it, and she had zero remorse at all. Seeing the infant’s autopsy photos was absolutely horrific.
8. It makes you sick.
Guy made a p**no starring himself and his own eight year old daughter.
Confessed everything in a mirandized interview.
Screamed at me because the best deal I could get him was out by his 70s. I hope he d**s before his release date.
9. This surely qualifies as strange.
A reasonably successful businessman had d**d, leaving a will in which he left all his business assets to his wife, on the condition that she destroy everything. Inventory, parts, records, office equipment, all of it. If she refused, everything was to be given to the Hemlock Society, an organization in the States somewhere that advocates for the assisted s**cide.
Shortly after making the will, he committed s**cide, having arranged for his d**th to be video recorded and the recording to be emailed to his wife and kids automatically. The lawyer didn’t say what the method of s**cide was, but did say that it was traumatic for all who received the video, unsurprisingly.
The lawyer sought, and received, a consent order to amend the will to delete the destruction condition. He had the agreement of the Hemlock Society, which wanted nothing to do with a donation understand those conditions.
10. Smart man.
My uncle lawyer helped a relative with a traffic ticket. Relative was conspiracy nut and wanted to take it to court to “reveal the lies.”
Uncle just paid the fine and told her she won.
11. You’re supposed to secure that stuff to the wall, Sir.
The plaintiff pulled the drawers out of a dresser and climbed up them to look for hemorrhoids in the mirror.
Dresser fell on them and they sued the manufacturer.
Worse I’ve heard was a divorce case where both parties fought to NOT have the kids stay with them.
It’s so depressing to think about the children in that case.
13. This is insane.
We represented a family who tried to ruin a teenage boy’s life.
They fabricated police reports, falsely claimed he stole expensive electronics from them, and took their claims to the very uninterested school the boy attended.
When cops tried to investigate, the family evaded the investigator and lied to him.
Why do all this? The family’s son was crushing on a girl they were hosting in their home. She chose to date the boy in question over the son. All three kids were classmates.
The boy got a hefty settlement from the family. This case was outside our typical areas of practice, but they came from a friend of the attorney.
14. Bit of a downer.
My first trial case was about a 26 year old who was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but after spending two weeks in jail they rushed her to the hospital where she d**d.
Turns out she had a heart valve infection and told them about it day one, but they wrote her off as a druggie and that she was just faking her symptoms.
She had two kids. And we lost the case because the defense made the entire case about her drug use and argued that she did it to herself.
15. No way, no how.
Dependency case where a single father dipped his toddler in boiling water because he was crying about some silly toddler thing.
Kid was severely burned over his whole body. They were trying to re-unify them.
16. They won the case.
My buddy is an attorney and was working on a case against some company that was dumping pollution in a large, local body of water that had a direct opening to the ocean.
He gets a letter from an incredibly concerned local dude. He wrote this LONG A** LETTER begging my buddy’s team to do all they can to win the case against the polluting company for the sake of the…mermaids that were living in that local body of water.
He had seen them often guys. He had been trying to befriend them for quite a while now and was concerned for their well-being and for the possibility that they would move out to the ocean to find a cleaner home if the company kept dumping pollution into their area. I wish I could find that pic of part of the letter.
In case you are as concerned as he was, fear not! My buddy’s team won the case and that company is no longer dumping their waste in that body of water
17. I guess you can sue for anything.
Represented a painter getting sued on a construction defect job.
The painter was hired to paint building 2 and 3.
He showed up for work, performed the work, and on his way home got into a terrible car accident leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
He was sued several years later for water intrusion defects related to buildings 7-9 (Which he didn’t work on).
Felt terrible for the guy.
18. The kid did it.
I once had a 65 year old guy try to sue me when I was 12 years old because I set up his modem while he was in town, then he moved and continued to use the internet. He racked up an 800$ long distance bill and tried to sue me (a 12 year old) over it..
He continued to harass me for months leaving messages on my answering machine and ended up singing “green acres is the place to be” and yelling “I’m going to get you!”.. we saved all of it in case he actually went through w the lawsuit.
Never made it to court.. sry, this kinda breaks the entire construct but I thought I’d share..
19. That poor kid.
Watched a trial – Defendant was living with his girlfriend and her 14 year old son. He thought she was cheating on him. He stabbed her 51 times. The stabbing spilled out into the hallway of the apartment building and was caught on surveillance.
I have never seen so much blood in my life, but that wasn’t the worst part. Her son was in the hallway watching this happen. He wanted to help his mother. He was trying to pull her away from the boyfriend, but didn’t want to get himself stabbed. You can see the doubt and hesitation about getting involved in his body language.
From time to time, I think about how scared and helpless that kid must have felt. Watching someone k**l your mother, but you’re unable to do anything to stop it. Terrible.
20. Shocking is one word for it.
Not a lawyer but watched the Amazon Prime movie yesterday about the Las Vegas shooting that k**led 58 in 2017 …
MGM sued the victims (and their children) to try and get out of any liability stating amongst other things that the victims could have run away faster etc…there’s lots more going on like the judge who signed off the eventual settlement is the daughter of a MGM VP, truly shocking
21. Thanks to the meth?
The summer after my first year of law school I interned at the Public Defenders office. I went to meet a new client who was accused of r**e. Within 20 seconds of meeting the man he told he was not guilty and had proof.
His proof was “I tried to r**e her but was too high on meth to get an erection.”
Needless to say we didn’t go with that defense and my internship ended before we went to trial.
22. This one is kind of funny.
I was on jury duty once and the defendant robbed a guy who was trying to hire a hooker, and when the guy only had $60 cash on him, tried to Venmo himself from the guy’s phone.
23. Taking advantage of grieving people.
A large pre-arranged funeral business was defrauding its customers. Selling pre-paid funerals and essentially altering sales documents so those funds were not placed in certain accounts as prescribed by law and/or making it difficult for decedent’s family to discover that a funeral was already pre-paid.
Mostly boring financial fraud stuff, but it was a very long running (and extraordinarily profitable) scam and very difficult to discover because the victim (dead person) was always dead before the crime could be discovered.
24. A family nightmare.
I’m a prosecutor and in this position I have seen my fair share of heinous, terrible s**t that people do to others. That being said, the first murder case I was a part of (during my judicial clerkship) still hits me the hardest. The victim’s brother had previously shot a close friend of the defendant. Didn’t k**l the guy, but it apparently called for retaliation in the form of k**ling the victim. Scene: family barbecue in the backyard. Defendant waits behind the neighbor’s garage until victim pulls up into the parking spot out back, walks up from behind and shoots victim point blank in the back of the head with a .357. Execution style. Why this is seared into my memory forever: Victim hadn’t heard Defendant come up behind him because he was greeting his two young kids. Both were within 3-5 feet of him. Daughter had run up because victim had picked up some candy for her from the gas station, and the little boy was sitting on a big wheel.
All of this was captured on 1080 HD surveillance video and was center frame.
One of my tasks as the judge’s law clerk was to keep all the evidence that was admitted in my office until the trial was over. This included all of the victim’s blood soaked clothes and the bullet fragments the medical examiner pulled out of his head during the autopsy.
Knowing I wanted to be a prosecutor, that was my fork in the road for deciding whether or not I had what it took to deal with that kind of brutality. I’m glad I chose to continue down the path because I love my job, but this case will always have a front row spot in my mind.
Defendant was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
25. Just how their family rolls.
My friend was a defense attorney and worked on a cannibalism case. The guy was found guilty of the charge.
Upon looking into the case, my friend saw that the defendant had two brothers. Turns out, one brother was ALSO arrested on charges of cannibalism in a different state.
The other brother was an accountant, he paid for the attorney fees and wanted absolutely no communication regarding the situation.
I wonder how that third brother is doing.
26. Makes me ill.
Older husband and young wife were found guilty of murder. Young wife cheated on husband and had a baby girl. Husband decided to keep the baby and took out a $25k or $50k insurance policy on the baby. They end up taking a several day road trip where they starved the baby to d**th. Husband took it to trial.
All I can think about is the doctor testifying that the baby would have cried because she was hungry for so long before it became too exhausted to cry any longer. I’ve been doing criminal law for years and this is the only one that I still think about. Maybe because the wife and I have been trying to have a baby.
27. One final mistake.
I have to be vague with the details but… my client and several of his friend snatched a young woman in broad daylight. She was s**ually a**aulted by all of them over a two day period. Imagine the worst kind of a**ault possible where the victim survived.
They then drove around arguing — in front of her — about how they should k**l her and dump the body. They even stopped in some nearby woods and started digging her grave.
Oddly, they decided they could trust her and decided not to k**l her. They left her naked in the woods and drove off.
28. As one does.
I’m not a lawyer, but my Dad used to be a reporter for court cases. I hope this is allowed.
He covered a case where 3 guys were sitting around a camp fire in the suburbs. 2 got into an argument and it got heated. 1 ended up k**ling the other, cut off his head and propped the head on top of a tree trunk and continued taunting the head. It was a papaya tree (don’t know why I remember that part of the story most clearly).
The 3rd guy watched the whole thing and did nothing.
29. He couldn’t handle it.
Not me but a good friend is an attorney. He used to practice criminal law but one case made him move to estate law. It was a drunk driving hit and run. The driver didn’t k**l the person he hit but threw him into the roadway where another car ran over him k**ling him.
In the evidence photos was one with clear tire marks over the victim’s chest. He said it was too much to deal with defending that and he changed legal specialties because of it.
30. Some comedic relief.
I’m here fora bit of a comedic break from all of the heavy stuff. Also, I did submit this to Not Always Right when it began, but I never provided the ending…
I am NOT a lawyer, but I work at a law office. A regular part of my job is to screen potential new clients — PNC — to help our attorneys decide if they have a case or not, is the case worth taking, is the client reliable if we take the case to litigation, etc, etc.
I still remember this clearly, despite it being over a year ago. One Monday morning in January 2020- with me “fresh” in the office with a hangover and feeling like d**th warmed over- this flashed on my screen from our online contact form:
“PNC requests a callback regarding car accident, and her insurance company is now refusing to cover the cost of a breast enlargement that her doctor stated was to help her balance after car accident caused spinal issues.”
Well, because I am an absolute sucker for punishment (i.e.: despite ALL COMMON SENSE and SEVERAL WOMEN telling my boss to not touch this flaming s**t pile), I end up following up with this PNC. So, she comes into the office and the story unfolds.
It starts with the obvious. She’s this tall, no-longer-willowy recovering trophy wife who can’t quite lose the ten pounds of baby weight from being her plastic surgeon husband’s source of the prequisite Jr and Princess. Her husband is this Danny Devito stunt double and talks like molasses while smelling like rum and Coke… (I didn’t like him because he couldn’t stop eyeing me up and made several comments about coming to him when I lost weight so he could do my skin surgery.)
She’s in an auto accident in her hubby’s Porsche Cayenne. (Beautiful car, honestly.) Well, at the end of the case, after the property damage is paid out and she got most of the medical care paid for, they (Trophy and Dr) make a complaint. It seems fairly simple at first. The auto insurance didn’t pay a medical bill. So, we send the legal version of a “WTF, dude? You said you were gonna pay this out!” letter (because my employer thinks Oooh, a few easy billable hours? This soon after Christmas? Santa, baby, I’ve been an awful good boy!)…. The auto insurance company sends back a “LOL, you’re smokin’ that good s**t, bra. We ain’t payin’ for this. Talk to your client about what this bill is for and who’s getting paid.”
So, we look at the bill…. It’s from her husband. For her breast enhancement. Which her husband said was ‘medically necessary’ because the enlarged breasts balanced her spine so she had less back pain.
Needless to say, we dropped Trophy Wife and Dr Devito post-haste.
I told him not to take this case…. I really did.
31. So totally gross.
An apartment complex was trying to kick out all of their disabled tenants by making up violations of their leases so they could upgrade the apartments and rent them to others.
32. The circle of life?
Not a lawyer, but… a guy I met drove drunk to the police station to bail his friend out.
The odd part is, his car had been at my shop earlier that day, and I almost didn’t give him his keys because I had a suspicion he was drinking. He had been, but not much, and he continued extensively after he left I guess.
I told the story to another customer, and they started laughing and thanked me. He was the ex of their daughter, they had a kid together, and if I had stopped him leaving, he wouldn’t have got himself in custody-case-helping trouble.
To top it off, the charges were dismissed because he cops hadn’t bothered to collect any evidence that he indeed drove himself there.
I don’t understand humans, y’all, I swear.
If you’re a lawyer and have a case history that could rival these, drop your best/worst in the comments!