This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
What was the most ridiculous lawsuit that made headlines in 2014?
According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, it came from Utah's so-called goblin topplers.
When Glenn Tuck Taylor pushed over a hoodoo in Goblin Valley State Park in October 2013, he had a pending disability lawsuit. In the lawsuit, filed in September 2013, he claimed that he suffered serious and debilitating injuries from a car accident. Weeks later, he was seen on video pushing over the ancient rock formation.
Taylor's lawsuit was rated the No. 1 "most ridiculous lawsuit of 2014," according to poll results from the Institute. Other notable cases that made the top-ten list include a New York man who sued for more money than exists on Earth, a little league coach suing a player over a celebratory helmet toss and rescuers in Colorado who were sued by the man they pulled from flood waters.
"This list puts a light-hearted face on a serious problem: As a country, we simply sue too much," ILR president Lisa Rickard said in a press release. "In fact, the collective toll that abusive lawsuits take on our society and our economy is no laughing matter. Lawsuit should be a last resort, not a first option."
According to court records, Taylor's personal injury lawsuit was dismissed in October 2014 after a stipulation by both parties that the case was "settled or resolved." Details of the resolution were not disclosed in court records.
As for his criminal case, Taylor, along with co-defendant David Benjamin Hall, pleaded guilty in March to class A misdemeanor attempted criminal mischief. Both men were sentenced to a year of probation and no jail time. They were also ordered to pay for warning signs to tell future visitors to Goblin Valley State Park to leave the rocks alone.
According to court records, the men caused more than $1,500, but less than $5,000, in damage when Taylor pushed over the ancient rock formation on Oct. 11, 2013 an incident Hall filmed and posted on the Internet.
"We wish we hadn't done it," Taylor said after pleading guilty to the charge. "We're sorry."
The men's pleas were held in abeyance, meaning if that if they stay out of trouble for the next year and comply with conditions ordered by the court, their criminal case will be dismissed.