ACME is being sued!!!
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
WILE E. COYOTE, :
v. : CIVIL ACTION NO. B19294
ACME COMPANY, :
OPENING STATEMENT OF ARTHUR B. FUDDLE, ESQUIRE,
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT
By Mr. Fuddle:
Ladies and Gentleman of the jury: the opening statement you
have just heard from Mr. Schoff on behalf of the plaintiff, Wile
E. Coyote, paints an incomplete picture of what occurred on the
occasions when Mr. Coyote claims he was injured by ACME products.
The evidence will clearly show that my client, ACME Products
Corp., a Division of Dangerously Innovative Products and Patents
Incorporated (or "DIPPI") is not at fault in this matter, and that any
injuries sustained by the plaintiff were clearly caused by his own
negligence, assumption of the risk and/or misuse of the products.
Now, we have all seen the footage on television of the
plaintiff withstanding various injuries which appear to be caused by
ACME's products. You have seen over and over the tape of a hapless
coyote being bludgeoned by a boulder as he is helplessly trapped by
his ACME Spring Loaded Shoes. We have all seen the photographs taken
at Warner Memorial Hospital of Mr. Coyote in a very small incubator,
on life support, as his doctors attempt to straighten out the
accordion-like folds from his body. We have all seen the gruesome
images of the operation in which Dr. Tazmanian D. Devil whirls like a
dervish, obscuring his features and creating a starry, "dust cloud"
effect, while numerous limbs holding various surgical instruments
swiftly repair the nerve damage to Mr. Coyote's extremities.
It is normal for any human being to feel pity, horror, and
even anger at such images. I want you to put those images aside for
the moment, because they paint an incomplete picture. What the media
has not disclosed to you, and what you will see in this courtroom, are
various attempts at murder committed by the plaintiff - attempts
which, fortunately, failed - while using my client's products. As the
plaintiff readily admits, he is a predator, and his sole function in
life is to track down and kill an innocent, highway traversing
You see, ladies and gentleman, while the plaintiff is a
natural predator, he is not a very good one. His own skills were
inadequate to complete the task at hand, so he chose to seek the aid
of various devices to effectuate his diabolical schemes. He looked in
a catalogue, saw my client's products, and ordered them in the hope
that they would assist him in killing his prey.
But ladies and gentleman, ACME's products are not meant to
cause intentional harm to anyone. The plaintiff has taken what were
designed as amusements, toys for the young and feebleminded, and has
twisted their use to his own purposes.
But I digress. Let us examine the plaintiff's claims and how
the evidence clearly refutes the proposition that ACME is responsible
for any harm sustained by the plaintiff.
Mr. Coyote states that on December 13 he received an ACME
Rocked Sled, that he attempted to use said rocket sled to pursue his
prey, and that, upon igniting the sled, it accelerated with "sudden
and precipitate force as to stretch Mr. Coyote's forelimbs to a length
of fifty feet."
There are several reasons why ACME cannot be held responsible
for any injuries caused by this incident. First, the warning label
attached conspicuously to the inside of the left front tire of the
sled clearly stated, and I quote: "WARNING: IGNITION OF THIS DEVICE AT
FULL THROTTLE MAY CAUSE SUDDEN AND PRECIPITATE FORCE AS TO STRETCH
USER'S FORELIMBS TO A LENGTH OF UP TO SIXTY FEET, OR MAY CAUSE DEATH."
That the plaintiff suffered so little as a result of his carelessness
can be attributed only to Providence.
Second, Arizona law is clear on this point: a plaintiff who is
found to be violating any law whose purpose is safety at the time of
his injury is contributorily negligent *per se*. There is ample
evidence that Mr. Coyote was violating both the laws of gravity and
inertia at the time of this incident, and thus he is responsible for
his own woes.
I could list many more examples of Mr. Coyote's negligent
conduct in connection with his use of ACME's products, but you will
hear all about them as the trial goes on. You will also hear the
(1) You will hear the plaintiff himself testify that, prior to the
injuries complained of in this accident, he has suffered
numerous injuries. As an example, on one occasion prior to the
use of any ACME product, the plaintiff cornered his prey on the
edge of a rather thin precipice. Taking an ordinary saw, the
plaintiff began cutting away so that the edge of the cliff,
with his prey on it, would drop some 1500 feet to a jagged,
rocky destruction. Instead, by some inexplicable twist of fate
the edge of the cliff remained standing while the whole
mountain, on which the plaintiff was standing, plummeted to the
bottom of the ravine, causing numerous injuries which affect
the plaintiff to this day.
On another occasion, Mr. Coyote was chasing his prey and
followed it off of the edge of a cliff onto thin air, not
realizing until too late that his prey, a bird, could remain in
the air almost indefinitely while he, a canine, could not. As
a result, he fell yet again, suffering even further severe and
debilitating injuries which predate the injuries complained of
in this action.
(2) You will also hear the testimony of Mr. Road Runner, the
plaintiff's prey and the true victim in this
tragedy. Mr. Runner has been forced to live a nomadic lifestyle
as a result of Mr. Coyote's unwanted attention, preventing him
from forming any type of long term relationships. Numerous
restraining orders had no effect. Mr. Runner has also suffered
numerous psychological problems as a result of Mr. Coyote's
actions, including but not limited to an inability to trust
anyone who provides him with bird seed, a necessary ingredient
in his daily nutritional schedule.
(3) You will also hear from a witness to many of the incidents
alleged in plaintiff's complaint, a colorful local prospector
with red hair and moustache who has been known to proclaim: "No
rootin' tootin' coyote can outsmart Yosemite Sam on any day of
the week!" Don't be fooled by his gruff manner and twin
pearl-handled six-shooters, he's a pussycat.
(4) Customer service records of defendant ACME, which we were
forced to produce in this matter, clearly show that none of the
complaints registered by ACME's customers nation-wide have ever
resulted in criminal convictions of the officers of the
(5) Finally, videotape evidence will demonstrate that plaintiff
faked many of his injuries, setting out to create performances
especially for a jury such as yourself. On numerous occasions
he would "mug" for the camera, as if he was well aware
beforehand that he was being taped. For instance, during the
"Rocked Sled" incident, as his forelimbs were stretched out
ahead of him and his body remained behind, he looked straight
into the camera with a forlorn, tired expression, as if to say:
"look at how terrible my situation is, can you guess what's
going to happen to me now." This jury is too smart to fall for
such petty theatrics.
In summary, ladies and gentlemen, it will be clear to you from
the evidence that ACME's products, if used properly, will cause only
minimal injuries to a user and his loved ones. The plaintiff in this
case has brought his troubles upon himself by adopting his carnivorous
lifestyle. As others have so adequately uttered: "Live by the Super
Slick Jet Propulsion Automated Explosive Metal-Shearing Heat-Seeking
Laser-Guided Razor-Edged Boomerang, die by the Super Slick, etc."
I ask you, on behalf of my client, to dismiss the plaintiff's
claims against it.
I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested.