February 10, 2005

Jurors make a $1.8-billion mistake.

They meant to award $1 million to be split among the members of a 1,812-person class, but they accidentally gave $1 million to each member of the class. [UPDATE: Sorry for the missing digit in the number of persons in the class! It really is a $1.8 billion mistake... MORE: This kind of really undercuts me making fun of the jurors' mistake. (Correction made.)]

And it's a strange case all around: a man offers his million-dollar house as a prize in an essay contest with a $195 entry fee, 10% of which will go to charity. He does give 10% to charity, but the winner of the contest doesn't accept the prize, and the man just stays in the house and later sells it for a million dollars. One of the contest losers notices all this and sues. The winner, being Canadian, can't be compelled to show up in court, so we never hear why he didn't accept the prize. I love the way the defendant's lawyer harps on the irrelevant fact that all the essays were crappy anyway.

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