13 spooky Hal-LAW-ween court cases

pumpkin ghost in the forest

October is the spookiest time of year! And along with the chills and thrills come…disputes and claims?

From intellectual property to unpaid bills to haunted buildings, it turns out that the supernatural, scary, and simply unbelievable give rise to quite a few lawsuits, too.

#1: Haunted in Florida

Not ones for running a haunted restaurant, Orlando restaurant owners say they cannot honor their lease because the building has a ghost problem. The owner of the complex offered “to give them an exorcism of the property, then filed a lawsuit against them after his offer was declined.

#2: The haunting of the Murder House

Buyers of $3.2M “Murder House” claim that it is haunted by American Horror Story fans, according to a lawsuit. Current owners were not aware of the house’s connection to the show until throngs of trespassers came to see the “macabre tourist attraction.” But everybody knows that house belongs to Constance Langdon.

#3: Intellectual property fight at the costume rack

Lawsuit over banana costumes is sure sign Halloween is coming. The central question: How different do banana suits really have to be to avoid an intellectual property fight?”

Mighty Morphin’ lawsuit: What makes a Power Ranger (costume) a Power Ranger (costume)?

#4: Ghostwriting at the next level

In 1917, seven years after his death, Mark Twain wrote a novel called Jap Herron by communicating through a medium using a Ouija board. This led to some legal troubles (to say nothing of the metaphysical quandaries) because Twain had a deal to publish all his books with Harper & Brothers. Did his ghost have to make good on that deal, too?”

#5: Ghost to Ghost case

Members of Swedish music group Ghost sue the founder, accusing him of cheating them out of profits. An excellent study of contract law! Ghost also recently covered the Ghostbusters theme.

#6: The definitive Ghostbusters lawsuit

Speaking of the Ghostbusters…

Stambovsky v. Ackley was frequently printed in contract and property law textbooks. Also known as the Ghostbusters ruling, it held that “A house, which the owner had previously advertised to the public as haunted by ghosts, legally was haunted for the purpose of an action for rescission brought by a subsequent purchaser of the house.”

#7: Casket closed

The lawsuit over the unpaid coffin…When a $16 coffin that had been sold on credit remained unpaid more than a year later, the company filed suit to recover the money.

“Of course there was nothing to stand for that debt being as it would have been difficult to reclaim a used coffin.”

#8: NASCAR ’til death

A woman sued her church for refusing to display her dead husband’s NASCAR-themed, couch-shaped tombstone, as one does.

#9: When you leave pumpkins out in the rain…

Inflated pumpkin collapse prompts lawsuit from Halloween store’s insurer.

#10: Normal Ohio farmer

 “An Ohio Appellate Court recently handed down an interesting decision in a case involving a haunted Ohio farm. The owner of the Staley Farm (located in New Carlisle) brought a lawsuit against the authors of a book called “Weird Ohio” (and no jokes please about how that title is redundant).”

#11: Witch v. warlock

A Salem witch sues New Orleans warlock for years of harassment and emerges victorious. Good for her!

#12: Fact or fiction?

In a case that has as much to do with creative rights as to the existence of ghosts, Warner Bros was sued by author Gerald Brittle over The Conjuring franchise in 2016. When Warner Bros responded that the movies had nothing to do with Brittle’s book, but was instead based on ‘historical facts,’ the counter demanded that WB prove that ghosts were real.

#13: Un-lucky 13

After a participant was injured, David Copperfield was forced by a judge to reveal his famous “Lucky 13” magic trick in court.

Heard of other eerie, disguised, or supernatural court cases? We’d love to hear them! Drop your favorites in the comments.

Ask Concierge

More To Explore