Donald Trump, one of the most polarizing characters of the past century, is also well documented to be one of history’s most mercurial men. But besides that, he is also perhaps poised to become one of history's most litigious men. Mr. Trump has been involved in 4,095 lawsuits in the past three decades, ranging from skirmishes with casinos to personal damage suits.
The former President has filed many lawsuits in his lifetime, and of course not all of them hold water. Here are some of The Donald’s most well-known frivolous lawsuits so far:
1. Trump vs. other Trumps
In the ’80s, Donald Trump was not the only Trump in the big leagues of business. Brothers Julius and Edmond Trump (unrelated to The Donald) of The Trump Group (also unrelated to The Donald) were attempting to acquire a chain of drugstores when a letter from one of their would-be suppliers ended up in the hands of an incorrect recipient: The Donald John Trump.
Upon learning that another Trump company that didn’t belong to him existed, The Donald went on the offensive, citing that they were a pair of “late-arriving immigrants trying to piggyback on his good name,” and the rest was history. Okay, not really — the case eventually got thrown out.
2. Trump vs. ex-talk show host
This was a slugfest of epic proportions. Trump became caught in a contentious legal battle with talk show host turned hotel mogul Merv Griffin in 1986 when the latter threw a wrench in the former’s plans to buy out a failing hotel chain. Griffin swooped out of nowhere mere days before Trump was set to close a deal to buy the public shares of Resorts International.
The resultant battle was not just of the legal nature, but also a financial one. Working to wrest voting control over Resorts International, both parties threw financial maneuver after financial maneuver at the other. When the dust settled, the two parties abruptly fell into simple agreement (a quick, quiet one according to reports), with Griffin gaining control over the Atlantic City hotel chain and Trump receiving the Taj Mahal casino and Resorts International’s fleet of helicopters.
3. Trump vs. ex-Trump
Not even family is exempt from Mr. Trump’s legal warpath. In 1992, The Donald threatened to sue his ex-wife Ivana, citing that the latter’s novel For Love Alone was a thinly veiled account of their 14-year marriage. Ivana was under a global gag order at the time of publishing, one of the many complex stipulations of her successful divorce from Donald. Mr. Trump claimed that the book was a violation of said order.
The case was eventually thrown out, albeit with the appellate division of the Supreme Court upholding the gag order on a 5-0 vote. The ex-Mrs. Trump was quoted soon afterward that her relationship with Donald was “warm.”
4. Trump vs. Miss USA hopeful
Some so-called frivolous lawsuits may appear frivolous but actually aren't. For example, in 2012, Donald Trump sued Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin for $5 million because she publicly accused the pageant to be rigged. This lawsuit might seem silly, but it does have some merit. Ms. Monnin actually lost the suit by default (no thanks to faulty legal advice by her lawyer causing her to miss her hearing). She ended up suing her lawyer for malpractice, and while details of both cases remain sealed, it is widely believed that Monnin was never required to pay Trump a dollar out of her own pocket.
Trump was quoted afterward stating that the lawsuit was “an expensive lesson” for Monnin. Curiously, Monnin’s Wikipedia page claims that she “competed at the Miss USA 2012 pageant, though she failed to place.” In reality, Monnin withdrew from the pageant and resigned her Miss Pennsylvania 2012 crown in protest.
5. Trump vs. Facebook
One of Donald Trump’s latest — and perhaps one of his biggest — frivolous lawsuits is his case against Facebook. In 2021, Mr. Trump filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, as well as other social media companies, for allegedly violating users’ First Amendment rights by banning him from their respective platforms. Trump’s lawyers argued that these social media companies “amounted to state actors,” and The Donald was quoted as saying that his lawsuit was “a very beautiful development.”
Except they aren’t, and it wasn’t.
The First Amendment protects people against government censorship. And because the social media platforms in the complaint aren’t owned and controlled by the government, their actions aren’t “state actions.”
Frivolous suits are a waste of time, energy, and resources, so make sure your suits stand on solid ground with expert advice from Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. Contact us today for all your family law and personal injury law needs.