10 Extraordinary Class-Action Lawsuits

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Year after year class-action lawsuits and legal complaints against companies clog the courts and line the pockets of specialized lawyers.

In many cases, aggrieved consumers have legitimate complaints that benefit all of us if successful. False advertising, misleading labels and swept-under-the-rug safety concerns and health hazards are among them.

Many, however, are things that make you go "hmmm." There are strange attempts to extract money from a plaintiff's misguided crusade, naive views or greedy grab for cash and notoriety.

The Universal Studios theme park was sued because a Halloween haunted house was too scary and caused "extreme fear" and "emotional distress."

Your iPhone 4 has a pesky tendency to break when you drop it? There's a class-action suit against Apple ( AAPL) for that. Your Oreck vacuum cleaner doesn't really suck up germs the way ads led you to believe? There's a suit you can sign on to. Kids can click on a Facebook "Like" button? Cue the lawyers.

The parents of Columbine shooting victims will always deserve our sympathy. But was their grief misplaced with a failed effort to sue movie and video game companies for a combined $5 billion because The Basketball Diaries and Duke Nukem (in their eyes) shared responsibility for the massacre due to their violent content?

To be fair, not all cases are as cut-and-dried as the court of public opinion would suggest. Legal minds, years later, still debate the legal merit of a multimillion-dollar suit against McDonald's ( MCD) for serving coffee that may, or may not, have been too hot. Every year, more and more lawsuits, though, beg the question, "What were they thinking?"

The following are 10 lawsuits that left us scratching our heads:

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