Where there's blame, there's a claim, so they say.
But for the subjects of a lawsuit, which some are describing as the largest in history, paying up could prove difficult.
To put it in perspective: even if they managed to get hold of the money equivalent of the estimated economic value of all of the goods and services ever created in the history of humanity ($2,400,000,000,000,000), they would still find themselves unable to pay.
A New York man is suing defendants including Au Bon Pain, Kmart and the City of New York for the remarkable sum of $2,000 decillion (or $2 undecillion) after he was bitten by what he claims was a rabid dog on a bus.
According to the legal humour blog 'Lowering The Bar', Anton Purisima, 62, has demanded $2,000 decillion (that's 36 zeros) in a hand-written lawsuit filed in April, requesting damages for "civil-rights violations, personal injury, discrimination in national origin, retaliation, harassment, fraud, attempted murder, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to defraud".
In the 22 page document Mr Purisima claims that his middle finger was bitten off by a 'rabies infected' dog on a city bus. He also alleges that a Chinese couple took photographs of him without his permission while he was being treated in a local hospital.
In a seemingly unconnected additional claim bundled into the document, he is also seeking compo for being routinely overcharged for coffee at LaGuardia Airport. He claims that some of the additional woes he suffered from the bite, including the pain, "cannot be repaired by money" and are "therefore priceless".
Priceless indeed as such a ridiculous amount of money would be impossible for any corporation to pay. As the What If? website notes: 'Even if Au Bon Pain conquers the planet and puts everyone to work for them from now until the stars die, they wouldn't make a dent in the bill.'
In their report on the case 'Lowering The Bar' notes this isn't the first time gargantuan and impossible figures have been cited in a lawsuit. It notes a case from 2008 in which a Hurricane Katrina victim sued for three quadrillion dollars, essentially the whole Gross Domestic Product of the United States for the next 228 years.
Mr Purisima, who will represent himself during proceedings (presumably to keep costs down), has form for lawsuits. In the last four years he has brought cases against several major banks, the Republic of China and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation, amongst others.Reuse content