We had the plaintiff's opening statement posted for some time when we
received the following e-mail. -staff
To: "'[email protected]'"
Subject: Wile E. Coyote v. Acme Company
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 17:26:15 -0400
Attached is the defendant's Opening Statement in the above-referenced
matter. Please post to the Rubber Room, as default judgment against
defendant would be an injustice.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
In the United States District Court
Southwestern District, Tempe, Arizona
The Honorable Homer Simpson, Presiding
Wile E. Coyote, )
v. ) Case No. B19293
Acme Company, )
Opening Statement of Nicholas J. McSlick of Fairweather, Winters, and
Summers, Attorney for Acme Company:
The plaintiff, Coyote, has filed a lawsuit against, my client, the
Acme Company sounding in tort for products liability alleging that
Acme Co., was negligent, reckless, and placed products into the stream
of commerce through its mail order catalogues. Coyote also alleges
strict products liability, breach of warranty, breach of warranty of
merchantability, and that the products were not fit for their intended
use. Coyote seeks the outrageous sum of twenty one million seven
hundred fifty thousand dollars for general compensatory damages and
attorneys fees, and an additional seventeen million dollars in
punitive or exemplary damages alleging Acme acted in reckless
disregard for plaintiff's safety.
We shall prove and we shall show to your satisfaction that the
plaintiff cannot meet his burden of proof and that ACME Company made
its products as safe as possible in keeping with the state of the art
of technology when said products were placed into the stream of
Moreover, the evidence will show that the plaintiff assumed known
risks associated with the use of the products he ordered; he also
failed to heed printed warnings; he intentionally misused said
products; and he made substantial charges to the design and character
of the products as to void all warranties and absolving Acme of all
Plaintiff, during many of his alleged injury incidents as mentioned in
his petition was also contributorily negligent and his negligence far
exceeded any negligence on the part of Acme Company.
Furthermore, we will show by a preponderance of the evidence that
plaintiff Coyote is a malingerer and a fraud and at no time has he
ever sustained any permanent injury whatsoever.
Although, Coyote represents himself as a self-employed-professional,
to wit: a predator, we will prove through films done by Warner Bros.
that Wile E. Coyote is a rich, playboy, cartoon star/actor. We will
view videotaped footage wherein the Coyote after suffering seemingly
horrendous, grotesque, debilitating and life threatening injuries, is
seen no more than 30 seconds later totally uninjured and unscathed.
We had Mr. Coyote examined by an independent medical doctor, one Dr.
S. Brandon Quackmeister, who will testify that none of the plaintiff's
claimed injuries are permanent. Coyote has not had any residual pain
symptoms since that alleged incidents.
In truth and in fact, ladies and gentlemen, the claims of the
plaintiff Mr. Wile E. Coyote are nothing more than wishful thinking
and, in brief, figments of his imagination.
Let's look at the cold, hard evidence, ladies and gentlemen. Coyote
claims 85 separate occasions Acme products have caused him injury.
His proof of defects is nothing more than sales slips from Acme. He
offers no expert testimony in this regard. He cannot produce a
physical engineer to cite one defect in Acme's products.
He cites in particular the December 13 incident. He does not mention
the fact that this happened over 25 years ago--well past the
applicable statute of limitations. He failed to assemble the sled
properly. The exploded view assembly instructions show the torque
values for all bolts in connection with the assembly of the sled. The
instructions and boldface red warnings on the instructions clearly
state: FAILURE TO TIGHTEN ALL BOLTS TO THE EXACT TORQUE VALUES MAY
RESULT IN STEERING SYSTEM DIFFICULTY OR WHOLESALE FAILURE OF THE
ENTIRE SYSTEM WHICH MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY OR DEATH. DO
NOT ATTEMPT TO USE A BOX WRENCH ON THE STEERING SYSTEM BOLTS. Then in
the fine print under the tools needed section it states, ACME TORQUE
WRENCH MODEL #22100 or SEARS CRAFTSMAN MODEL DIAL OR CLICK TYPE.
Post-crash examination of the sled remains reveal, that none of the
bolts had the proper torque value and further that Coyote lost
original parts and used his own replacement parts of the improper
hardness which resulted in metal fatigue at various stress points,
causing steering system failure. His negligence exceeded any
negligence on the part of Acme which Acme specifically denies.
Despite the rocket sled incident and the claimed injuries, Coyote was
seen 30 seconds later on the rocket skates which were purchased on the
very same date as the rocket sled. (See receipts in court file.)
As for the incident with the skates, Coyote assumed a known risk
attempting to pilot the skates while wearing plaster casts. Any
reasonable person would know that it would be impossible to maintain
one's balance so encumbered--Coyote assumed the risk.
In response to Coyote's claims of wrongdoing on the part of ACME with
respect to "mishaps with explosives" on occasions too numerous to
list, again, Coyote failed to heed warnings and falsified documents in
purchasing said explosives.
The mail order form which accompanies the Explosive Catalog clearly
states: IN ORDER TO PURCHASE EXPLOSIVES FROM ACME YOU MUST HAVE A
FEDERAL CLASS B EXPLOSIVE LICENSE AND ATTACH A FULL COPY TOGETHER WITH
THE DRIVER'S LICENSE OF YOUR STATE OF RESIDENCE.
The warnings also shipped with the mail order forms with respect to
explosives state without equivocation: ACME CLASS B EXPLOSIVE ARE
INHERENTLY DANGEROUS. THEY SHOULD ONLY BE USE BY TRAINED PERSONNEL.
THEY SHOULD NEVER BE DETONATED OF IGNITED NEAR PEOPLE OR ANIMALS
(EMPHASIS ADDED). THE MANUFACTURER DISCLAIMS ALL CIVIL LIABILITY IN
CONNECTION WITH IMPROPER, UNINTENDED OR ILLEGAL USE OF EXPLOSIVE
Also, in boldface, red type it states: FAILURE TO STORE "LITTLE
GIANT" FIRECRACKER, SELF-GUIDED AERIAL BOMB AND OTHER EXPLOSIVES IN AN
ADEQUATE MAGAZINE OR OTHER COOL, DRY AIR SPACE WILL RESULT IN THEIR
DETERIORATION AND BREAKDOWN OF CHEMICAL PROPERTIES MAKING THEM
EXTREMELY VOLATILE. FAILURE TO HEED THIS WARNING MAY RESULT IN
SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.
First of all, Coyote procured all the devices with a falsified Class B
explosives license. In short, he made illegal purchases.
Secondly, it was the plaintiff's habit or routine practice to
haphazardly store the explosives in the open air--In Arizona, where
the Court could take judicial notice of the fact that daytime
temperatures exceed 100 F. These explosives became volatile as
warned and hence often exploding prematurely . Furthermore, pursuit
of his chosen prey with explosives was clearly excessive. Perhaps, he
could have purchased the ACME HAVE-A-HEART-LIVE-TRAP MODEL T-001-216
which sells for a mere $29.95. Instead, he recklessly disobeyed clear
warnings to his own detriment.
As far the Spring-Powered Shoes incident, Defendant admits that, in
having experts review film footage of Coyote's usage, the experts
cannot explain why the shoes did not propel him in the proper
direction except that Plaintiff did not have adequate experience with
the shoes before attempting to use them near rock formations.
Furthermore, Coyote once again made alterations to the product,
affixing them to a boulder, in contravention of the clear warning on
the brochure included with his purchase, to wit: WARNING! SEVERE
RECOIL. THIS PRODUCT IS INTENDED FOR PERSONAL PROPULSION ONLY. ATTACH
ACME SPRING-POWERED SHOES ONLY TO FEET, AS DESCRIBED IN THE OWNER'S
MANUAL, PAGE 3, PARAGRAPH (a)(2). FAILURE TO FOLLOW OPERATING
INSTRUCTIONS MAY RESULT IN SEVERE PERSONAL INJURY.
Any injuries Mr. Coyote sustained are as a result of his negligent
failure to follow the warnings and instructions provided. In any
event Coyote sustained no permanent injury therefrom.
And in the final analysis, ladies and gentleman, as you are all
probably aware and will see in the films, the Coyote has failed to
heed the most important warning in fine print at the bottom of every
brochure packed with Acme Products: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT EFFECTIVE ON
What is the Coyote's chosen prey during all these alleged incidents?
Yes. THE ROAD RUNNER. I rest my case ladies and gentlemen.
You must find for my client and bring back the only possible verdict
in this case. A verdict for the ACME COMPANY.
Finally, I would respectfully ask the Court to dismiss Mr. Coyote's
claim for punitive damages. Coyote claims that Acme Company has a
"virtual monopoly of manufacture and sale of goods required by [his]
work." This is no more than another case of wishful thinking on Mr.
Coyote's part. Similar products are manufactured and sold through the
mail by companies such as Apex Corporation, Zenith Manufacturing, and
Perfect Predator Products, Inc. One can only assume that Mr. Coyote's
loyalty to Acme Company is the result of his satisfaction with the
quality of the products and service provided by Acme over the years.
It is that same quality that has made Acme the largest retailer of
predator related products in the US.
The occupation of predator is high risk profession, and a large
percentage of such businesses fail each year. Mr. Coyote does not
wish to be compensated for any alleged negligence of Acme Company.
Instead, he seeks to be rewarded for his own negligence and
THANK YOU, YOUR HONOR, AND THANK YOU, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
1995 Nicholas J. Schepis, Esq. and Stephen R. Gibson. Send comments
via e-mail to [email protected]
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