Billion-Dollar Lawsuits: The October Edition

  • Lawsuit Season

    October seems to be a great month for class action lawyers. This time last year, Jon Bon Jovi was being sued for $400 billion for allegedly stealing song lyrics. It took nearly a year for the lawsuit to be thrown out. None of the lawsuits on this list carry a price tag that absurd, but there were some juicy cases in October. Here is our roundup of last month’s billion-dollar lawsuits. Photo Credit: DSR
  • Pepsi

    This is one for the record books of big blunders. Two men sued Pepsi (Stock Quote: PEP) back in April of this year. The claim: Pepsi had stolen their trade secrets for selling bottled water, using the duo’s idea to create the popular Aquafina. But as the story goes, though the claim was delivered to Pepsi headquarters, no one looked at it that month, or the next… or even the next. Finally, at the end of September, nearly six months after the initial claim, a default judgment was entered against Pepsi for a grand total of $1.26 billion because the company had failed to respond. Pepsi spent the first half of October arguing their case. The Wall Street Journal reports that Pepsi claimed the secretary in charge of the file “put the letter aside and didn’t tell anyone about it because she was ‘so busy preparing for a board meeting,’” Pepsi will continue to argue its case this month. But if Pepsi ends up having to pay even a fraction of the judgment, it will have been well worth the wait for the two men who filed the original suit. Photo Credit: Diego_3336
  • Apple

    All in all, Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) has had a golden year. But one thing in particular has threatened their good times, and we’re not talking about the Android phone (though that may be a headache for them next year). Last month, Nokia (Stock Quote: NOK) sued Apple for $1 billion, claiming the iPhone infringes on patents they hold. According to The New York Times, the iPhone “uses two industry standards for wireless communications, G.S.M. and U.M.T.S., that Nokia developed as part of a consortium of global telecommunications companies. Nokia said it had repeatedly asked Apple to license its patents related to these standards and that Apple had refused.” According to some experts, lawsuits are really just an invitation to negotiate in the world of electronics.  But right now, it seems like the two cell phone giants are gearing up for a full-on battle, with Apple planning to defend themselves “vigorously” in court. Photo Credit: a whisper of unremitting demand
  • Facebook

    No, Facebook is not getting sued by angry users claiming they were sexually harassed on the site via poking. Although it’s always a possibility in the future. As it turns out, Facebook was actually the victor in a lawsuit against the king of all spammers. Sanford Wallace, was accused of violating a restraining order (yes, there are restraining orders even in cyberspace) that forbid him from flooding the site with “false and misleading” marketing messages. Wallace and his company,, were forced to pay Facebook the handsome settlement of $711 million. Sure, it’s not quite a billion dollars, but given that they won a similar lawsuit less than a year ago for more than $800 million, we don’t feel too bad for them. Photo Credit: pmarkham
  • California

    As if the state didn’t have enough problems already (with it being bankrupt and all), nonprofits are now hounding California with lawsuits. The California Redevelopment Association, a nonprofit representing 400 agencies, recently filed a lawsuit to prevent the state of California from dipping into more than $2 billion worth of redevelopment funds. The CRA claims that the state will vaporize funds needed for redevelopment products in order to fill in budget gaps and keep the government afloat. Photo Credit:
    Night Club
  • Night Club

    The Greenhouse night club in downtown Manhattan was already the subject of a nearly $1 billion class action lawsuit earlier this year, but in October, they were served with another suit, this one for $1.5 billion. Both suits claim that the night club engages in racism by turning black partygoers away from the club. The October case deals with an after party for a movie. From a New York Daily News report: “Raqiyah Mays, 30, a radio host from Brooklyn, and three others say that they were not let in ‘due to their race.’ They were lined up for a Sept. 25 film festival's after-party and say the only black people who got in were those who showed up with whites. Greenhouse responded that they were just suffering from organizational issues that night. Still, the lawsuits have piled up, and with it some damaging publicity. Photo Credit:
    Ponzi Schemer
  • Ponzi Schemer

    Some people will do anything to get out of a lawsuit, even keel over. (Too soon?) Jeffry Picower, a close associate of Bernie Madoff and one of the biggest benefactors of the infamous Ponzi scheme, drowned in his swimming pool last month, suffering from a massive coronary. Only one complication: Picower is still being sued by victims of the Ponzi scheme for a whopping $7 billion. The victims plan to go after Picower’s estate now. Photo Credit: philectric
  • WaMu

    It’s been more than a year since WaMu first filed for bankruptcy, and their troubles still continue. The company is currently embroiled in a lawsuit, the litigation of which could last for years to come. The suit says that Washington Mutual engaged in predatory lending practices, which may have cost shareholders and borrowers as much as $4.8 billion. For a breakdown of the numbers check here. Photo Credit:
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