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The Cigar Lawsuit


A Charlotte, N.C., man, having purchased a box of very rare, very expensive cigars insured them against fire, among other things. Within a month of having smoked his entire stockpile of cigars and without having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the man stated the cigars were "lost in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The man sued ... and won! In delivering the ruling, the judge agreed that the claim was frivolous. He stated, nevertheless, that the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he had lost in the "fires."

After the man cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

(From the 1999 Criminal Darwin Awards)

Euan


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