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WILE E. COYOTE, Plaintiff
In the United States District Court,
Southwestern District,
Tempe, Arizona
Case No. B191294, Judge Joan Kujava, Presiding
Plaintiff, Mr. Wiley E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states,
does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer
and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and
doing business in every state, district and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks
compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental
suffering caused as a direct result the actions and/or gross negligence of
said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section
2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.
Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased of
the Acme Company (hereinafter, "Defendant"), through that company's
mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury
due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. Sales slips
made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the possession
of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have
temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of
predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Worker's
Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th he received of Defendant via parcel
post one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote was to use the Rocket
Sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon receipt of the Rocket Sled Mr.
Coyote removed it from its wooden shipping crate and, sighting his prey in
the distance, activated the ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars,
the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force as to
stretch Mr. Coyote's forelimbs to a length of fifty feet. Subsequently, the
rest of Mr. Coyote's body shot forward with a violent jolt, causing severe
strain to his back and neck and placing him unexpectedly astride the Rocket
Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing
jet trail along his path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of
his prey. At that moment the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the
right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was
unable to do so, due to poorly designed steering and a faulty or nonexistent
braking system. Shortly thereafter, the unchecked progress of the Rocket
Sled brought it and Mr. Coyote into collision with the side of a mesa.
Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by
Dr. Ernest Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple fractures, contusions
and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as a result of this collision.
Repair of the injuries required a full bandage around the head (excluding
the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on all four legs.
Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to support
himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an aid to mobility
one pair of rocket skates. When he attempted to use this product, however,
he became involved in an accident remarkably similar to that which occurred
with the Rocket Sled. Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without
caveat, a product which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two) to
inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger safety.
Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket Skates
soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard so
violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette.
Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document he
has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of the Defendant: the Acme
"Little Giant" Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a
full listing see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached
deposition, entered into evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say
that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote
performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of
much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer rim
of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and spiraling
downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on the desert
floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of
the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down to the point
of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of
birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb
(Catalogue #78-832), climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote's prey,
seeing the bird seed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the
fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to
In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote's careful preparation to naught, the
premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in the following
disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:
1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck and muzzle.
2. Sooty discoloration.
3. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the
aftershock with a creaking noise.
4. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and
ashy disintegration.
5. Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.
We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of these
purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff's Exhibit D. Selected
fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of the
University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date no
explanation has been found for this product's sudden and extreme
malfunction. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself:
two wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high
tensile strength and compressed into a tightly coiled position by a cocking
device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would
enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase, when
swift reflexes are at a premium.
To increase the shoes' thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed
them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the
boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote's prey was known to frequent. Mr. Coyote
put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness,
his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time
Mr. Coyote's prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him.
Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote, well within range of the
springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and
proceeded to pull the lanyard release.
At this point, Defendant's product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward and
away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme
Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote. As the
intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in air. Then the
twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first collision
with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters falling upon
his lower extremities.
The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, whereupon Mr.
Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The
boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce
down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its
velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or
the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote, or both came into contact
with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for
some time.
A sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr. Coyote,
viz., flattening of the cranium, sideways replacement of the tongue,
reduction of length of legs and upper body, and compression of vertebrae
from base of tail to head. Repetition of blows along a vertical axis
produced a series of regular horizontal folds in Mr. Coyote's body tissues
-- a rare and painful condition which caused Mr. Coyote to expand upward and
contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit off-key,
accordionlike wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing
nature of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote's pursuit
of a normal social life.
As the Court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of
manufacture and sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote's work. It is our
contention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the detriment of
the consumer of such specialized products as itching powder, giant kites,
Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much as
he has come to distrust Defendant's products, Mr. Coyote has no other
domestic source of supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our
trading partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a situation,
where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in the most
reckless and wrongful manner over and over again.
Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger economic
implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of seventeen million
dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual damages (missed meals, medical
expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one million dollars;
general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million
dollars; and attorney's fees of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Total damages: thirty-eight million seven hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. By awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court will censure
Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and assigns,
in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right of the
individual predator to equal protection under the law.