Weirdest Lawsuit Ever?

I’ve seen some bizarre lawsuits in my time but this one may take the cake. The losing candidate in a Democratic primary for the NYC City Council is suing the winning candidate, claiming a conspiracy that put a mural on her building that cursed her and robbed her of energy.

A rival of Melissa Mark-Viverito filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the front-runner for City Council speaker — claiming she put a Caribbean hex on her while the two were running for the same council seat, in the form of a black-magic mural on her building.

Gwen Goodwin, 52, who spectacularly lost the Democratic primary to Mark-Viverito in September, says her nemesis targeted her East 100th Street building as the canvas for a five-story image of a bodiless rooster atop wooden poles…

“According to neighbors of Puerto Rican and other backgrounds, in the Caribbean culture, this constituted a curse and a death threat, as a swastika or a noose would symbolize typically to many Jews or African-Americans,” Good­win alleges in a Manhattan Supreme Court suit she filed Friday.

Many New York Puerto Ricans practice a hybrid religion called Santeria, which is based on Catholicism but includes voodoo-like ceremonies and animal sacrifices. East Harlem even boasts a specialty shop dedicated to the religion called Justo Botanica, at East 104th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Mark-Viverito was the head of an urban-art campaign launched last summer called Los Muros Hablan (“the walls speak”). The effort celebrates Latino culture by painting murals on walls across the five boroughs…

Goodwin said she endured “emotional distress” from the alleged spell that distracted her from running a winning campaign.

“This intimated me and caused me fear. I’m a Christian. I don’t believe outside my religion, but strange things were happening,” Goodwin claimed.

She said that she suddenly got a blood clot in her foot and that a close friend began “acting crazy” right after the mural went up.

Can you say “case dismissed”? I knew that you could.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    That’s not just nuts, it also, on the face of it, appears to be quite racist.

  • Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Thumper beat me too it. There’s all kinds of racism and obnoxious privilege baked into that crap.

  • Abby Normal

    Why would I want a City Council speaker who can’t even manage a simple warding? If her campaign can be derailed by such a minor hex how can she expect to lead in the Council when the big curses start flying?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I’m a Christian. I don’t believe outside my religion, but …


    BTW, the mural looks rather attractive.

  • bahrfeldt

    Ms. Goodwin was one of five challengers to the two term incumbent in the September 10 Democratic primary. She finished sixth. The winner received barely a third of the less than 10,000 votes cast.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    For those who are interested, this article in the New York Post (apologies, but it was only one I could find) has an image of the mural in question, and photos of the two candidates.

    Personally, I can’t see a judge allowing the lawsuit to get far enough for a “case dismissed.”

  • NitricAcid

    I think this thread Goodwins itself.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    Duh, Ed linked to the same article. That’s what I get….

  • busterggi

    Its not a rooster its a parrot – and a dead one at that.

  • Sastra

    I’m wondering if there might be a case here if objections to a hex sign on a building is framed as similar to objections to a “haunted” house being sold without disclosure of the fact that it’s considered haunted. The actual existence of ghosts — or curses — is completely irrelevant. What matters is that it matters to other people.

  • jnorris

    I hope there is a trial. I would go pay-for-view to see Ms Goodwin’s lawyer presenting her case.

  • blf

    …see Ms Goodwin’s lawyer presenting her case.

    Uncontrollable snickering interrupted by bouts of laughter is that entertaining… Besides, you probably wouldn’t be able to hear her snickering, giggles, and laughs over the similar and louder racket made by the audience as they roll around on the floor slapping everything in sight.

  • Donnie

    “Santeria”, I know this religion. It was featured on “Criminal Minds” a couple of years ago. See, TV can be informative – at least in being exposed to new ideas/topics. Of course, how those topics are addressed by said TV is another year. Next halloween, I want to put my hair like Giovanni and see how many kow the reference. I have no life :/

  • stripeycat

    Do we have any Puerto Rican commentors who can say if this is actually a death symbol? I’m almost tempted to wonder if someone who knows the Plaintiff thinks all brown people are a bunch of barbarian witches has been trolling her.

  • dingojack

    Looks less like a chicken, more like a turkey. She must find Thanksgiving particularly worrying. *



    * why does she hate Merrika and Puritans so? 😉

  • danrobinson


    Is not. It’s sleeping.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    @Gregory in Seattle #6

    Thanks for the link; that murels actually pretty fucking cool :) nothing like the image I got from Goodwin’s whining.

  • democommie

    Wasn’t there a case in South Florida a few years back where one of the candidates arranged for a voodoo curse to be laid on her opponent?