Creativity Magazine

When M&M;’s Attack, And Other Unlikely Lawsuits

By Mrstrongest @mrstrongarm

I do a monthly cartoon illustration for Inside Counsel Magazine. It’s for a humor feature about strange lawsuits.

They send me short descriptions of four cases. I rough out a sketch for each, they pick the one they like best. Here are the winners and also-rans for the past two months:


A 25-pound M&M candy dispenser toppled over and struck a woman in the head at the Toys R Us flagship store in New York City. The woman claimed she suffered head and neck injuries.

She and her husband sued Mars, Inc., maker of M&Ms (settled, undisclosed sum), Toys
R Us (jury ruled store employees were not negligent), and Trade Fixtures, maker of the dispenser.

A jury cleared Trade Fixtures of any negligence after its lawyer showed jury members a photo of the woman on vacation in Puerto Rico shortly after the accident, sitting at a bar “all gussied up.”

I imagined history repeating itself at the trial.

cartoon illustration about lawsuit filed by woman who was struck on head by falling canister of M&M candy in Toys R Us store in New York City

A prison inmate sued Taco Bell for stealing his idea for their Doritos Locos Tacos, which feature taco shells made out of Doritos chips.

He claims the idea was one of several new product ideas he sent to his lawyer in a letter, and that the United States Postal Service helped intercept the letter and divert it to Taco Bell.

I decided to have the Taco Bell chihuahua cross-examine the plaintiff.

cartoon illustration for lawsuit involving prison inmate who sued Taco Bell for allegedly stealing his idea for taco shells made out of Doritos chips, Taco Bell mascot dog biting prisoner's leg, everyone eating tacos

A New York City man wants to file a class action lawsuit against Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and several other Times Square restaurants.

He claims the restaurants are secretly adding an automatic 18% gratuity onto all bills (city law allows an automatic 15% gratuity for parties of eight or more). Customers then leave an additional tip, not realizing the bill already includes a gratuity.

cartoon illustration about lawsuit filed because Times Square restaurants padding bill with extra gratuity so customers paying as much as 18% tip, lawyer as waiter with hand outstretched for tip from witness

A woman sued after a child welfare agency took away her newborn baby, saying the woman had failed a hospital drug test.

She claimed she’d eaten a poppy seed bagel shortly before arriving at the hospital, which caused her to falsely test positive for opiates. She said she’d never been informed that she’d failed a drug test, nor been asked if she’d eaten anything which might have affected the results.

She got her baby back, no evidence of illegal drug use was ever found, the court awarded her $143,500.

cartoon illustration about lawsuit filed after hospital took woman's newborn baby away because she failed drug test because she'd eaten poppy seed bagel which caused a false positive on drug test, jury spitting poppy seeds in beaker of urine

Singer Katy Perry claimed a British hair care company owed her $2 million based on a verbal agreement to extend her endorsement contract. The company denied there was any such agreement.

Supposedly, the two sides have agreed to drop the case. It remains unclear whether there was any monetary settlement. 

cartoon illustration about lawsuit filed by singer Katy Perry who sued British hair care company for supposedly reneging on oral agreement to extend her endorsement contract, lawyer, judge, jury all wearing elaborate wigs

A woman is suing Lancôme cosmetics company for false advertising. She claims their Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation does not, in fact, last for 24 hours, and that it
left her face “cakey” and shiny, “particularly around the nose.”

I envisioned a face that was really shiny.

cartoon illustration lawsuit where woman sued cosmetics company for false advertising because foundation makeup left her face bright and shiny

A gospel singer is suing McDonald’s. She claims she bit into a piece of glass while eating a chicken sandwich, and that it ruined her voice.

She says she can no longer sing soprano, and that when she makes phone calls, she has to “tell people that I’m not a man.”

cartoon illustration soprano gospel singer sued McDonald's piece of glass in chicken sandwich allegedly caused throat damage, claims her voice is now much lower

A Manhattan negligence lawyer has filed suit over… a suit. The man is suing Brooks Brothers.

He bought a suit, left it for alterations, then finally brought it home. But he didn’t open
the garment bag right away. When he did, he discovered the store had given him a used jacket and mismatched pants that were two sizes too big. He claims the store then refused to correct the mistake.

I decided to put my cartoon lawyer in a ratty suit, and have him giving a thumbs-up to
a witness in an equally ratty suit.

cartoon illustration man sued Brooks Brothers for giving him wrong suit and not allowing him to return wrong item, lawyer wearing lousy suit giving thumbs-up to witness who is also wearing bad suit

Finally, here are the rough sketches for the M&M’s and the Taco Bell suits:

rough sketch showing woman in courtroom being hit in head by falling tube of M&M candies while judge, jury, lawyer all eat M&Ms

rough sketch for lawsuit involving prison inmate who sued Taco Bell for allegedly stealing his idea for taco shells made out of Doritos chips, Taco Bell mascot dog biting prisoner's leg, everyone eating tacos

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Did this post make you hungry? (There were quite a few references to food!)

Do you ever worry about being sued? Do you offer a product or service that makes you liable?

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