We've been holding on to this lawsuit since August, waiting to see if another suit would top it for sheer weirdness. That hasn't happened.
So this Dec. 30, we're awarding a Washington woman's tort claim against a Clackamas County doggie sperm bank
the 2010 Lawsuit of the Year
According to the suit filed Aug. 5 in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Erika Butler of Battle Ground, Wash., struck a deal in 2008 to exchange semen from her aging male Rottweiler
with semen from a specialty breeder in Poland.
The suit says Butler contacted International Canine Semen Bank
, a facility in Sandy, Ore., that claims on its website to provide "the dog breeder with the most successful program available using fresh, fresh chilled and frozen canine semen
and artificial insemination."
Butler hired a vet to collect eight "breeding doses" from her Rottweiler, the suit says—two for the breeder in Poland and six others for future sales to other European countries. The requirements for shipping canine semen are very strict, the lawsuit explains. But Butler's dog had cleared a veterinary screening and a European broker was in place.
According to the lawsuit, the Sandy semen bank's director, Carrol Platz, led Butler to believe in September 2008 that the shipment to Poland was "all ready to go." But when Butler called back two months later, Platz admitted there "had been a little problem"—a storage tank had failed, the semen never made it to Poland, and six of the eight doses had been killed, the lawsuit says.
Platz convinced Butler he could collect more semen from the dog himself, the lawsuit says. Since a 30-day expiration window had already passed, all the tests on the dog had to be completed again and the paperwork filled out correctly, according to the suit. Platz assured Butler it would be "no problem," the lawsuit says.
"Time was even more important since the male dog's deteriorating health condition made it likely that no further doses could ever be collected from him," according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges Platz once again botched the shipment—this time by failing to arrange a veterinary appointment, performing an invalid lab test and failing to comply with paperwork requirements. "[Platz's] actions therefore made the semen collected valueless and the project a waste of time," the lawsuit says.
By January 2009, it was no longer possible to collect usable semen from the dog, the lawsuit says. The six breeding doses lost were each worth $3,000, according to the suit. In addition, "the material submitted was intrinsically valuable itself as representing a bloodline for a special breed of dogs," the lawsuit says.
The suit, filed by lawyer Geordie Duckler of the Animal Law Practice in Tigard, Ore., seeks $18,000 in lost income plus $40,000 in non-economic damages.
"Her complaint is really misguided and incorrect," Platz tells WW
. "It's unfortunate she's brought the lawsuit. That's about all I can say."
(The photo above is of a random Rottweiler and is not intended to represent Butler's dog.)
Read about more Juicy Suits here.