The legal world is murky and muddy, but that has not stopped Donald Trump, the 45th president of the U.S, from swimming in it. According to Just Security, Trump has closed, ongoing and pending cases are awaiting proper approval for them to start. In his own words, he admitted that he is the most sued politician in the world.
Writing for the ABAJournal, James D. Zirin detailed the more than 3,500 lawsuits in which Trump appeared in his 2019 book named ‘Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,5000 Lawsuits.’ Those who have known Trump during the campaign may not be aware that Trump’s legal battles go way back to 1973. This article will discuss the ten biggest lawsuits of all time.
10. Donald J. Trump Versus Ivana Trump, Suing Ex-Wife for Publicly Discussing Their Relationship ($25 million)
Let the great smiles worn by Trump deceive you that he can spare you even if you share a bed with him. Not at all. Those who have made deals with him and have contravened its content have not been spared either. After formalizing a divorce with his ex-wife, according to the Daily Beast, Trump sued his ex-wife because she ‘talked too much.’ In the $25 million lawsuit, Trump argued that Ivana had made deliberate statements to disclose the financial status of their relationship, which was protected by the divorce agreement.
Ivana had made more damning claims against Trump by alleging that he once raped her. The relationship between them has since improved, with Ivana declaring her support for Trump’s presidential bid and blaming ’emotional violation’ for her statements against her former husband. Several leading investigative journalists have tried to get hold of the documents of the lawsuits in vain.
9. New York Attorney General Versus Trump University, Trump’s Fraud Acts Through the Respondent ($40 million)
The Vox reported on March 1, 2016, that a New York appeals court had ruled that a $40 million lawsuit would continue. According to the news, Trump, who was then on his campaign trail, was facing the possibility of testifying in 3 cases about his university being involved in fraudulent activities. The state’s attorney general brought the case, Eric Schneiderman, who argued that the university shutdown in 2010 was a ‘multi-level marketing scam.’ The AG was in the legal position and was the one who handpicked the institutions’ faculty when in a real sense, he was not aware of them. During one of the programs offered by the university, the university had misled people that they would be taught the secrets behind the success of Donald Trump in real estate and a cost of $1500.
The claims that Trump had handpicked the program’s instructors and he was the one who designed its curriculum were both misleading and wrong. On arrival at the seminar, the instructors lured them into the signing of elite mentorship programs that would cost them more than $35000 annually. Trump paid an out-of-court settlement of $25 million to settle the case.
8. Donald Trump Versus Henry Cheng, Attempt to Reverse a $90 Million Deal
As far as legal battles are concerned, Trump has no permanent friends. When Trump was financially stuck in 1990, he went to Henry Cheng, a Hong Kong real estate developer, and billionaire, and sold him the 75 -acre piece of land at the Hudson River. Cheng took advantage of Trump’s financial woes and undervalued the land to $90 million. The newspaper also alleged that the land was valued at $250 million. Cheng would sell the property at $1.8 million, far below the higher available deals, which would have seen Trump get some benefits according to the original sales contracts. Feeling aggrieved, Trump moved to court and sued his fellow billionaire, and the matter was settled by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division. It ruled that Trump had no right to access the trading records he had demanded from Mr. Cheng.
7. Mar-a-Lago Club & Donald Trump versus Palm Beach County, Counter Discrimination Lawsuit ($100 million)
Palm Beach County started its legal woes with Donald Trump in 1992. That year, Trump decided that he wanted to convert the newly purchased Mar-a-Lago facility into private houses, a move Palm Beach County blocked. The position of the county was that the property was a significant feature that played a huge role in defining its historical context. In response, Trump launched a $50 million lawsuit against the county, accusing it of a conflict of interest and having a biased property board. In 1995, he filed a lawsuit against the county for harassing visitors. According to Trump, the county was doing so by directing air traffic above his hotel, which caused many customer disturbances.
By 1997, Trump believed that the county was targeting his business and filed a $100 million lawsuit against the county for discrimination. Trump won all the lawsuits, which later enabled him to control the Mar-a-Lago business entity with minimum interference from the county. Trump would employ the same tactics when he built a golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
6. United States Versus Donald J. Trump, Fred C. Trump & Trump Management, Denying Housing Opportunity Based on Race ($100 million)
In the 1970s, the Trump Organization was mainly involved in renovating and constructing hotels, apartments, and scrappers in New York City. The U.S States Justice Department, Civil Rights Division, joined in the prosecution of the former president alongside his father for atrocities committed in those apartments. The proceedings took place between 1973 to 1975 in a federal court. The case was anchored on the idea that the respondents had violated provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The act made it illegal for any entity to deny someone housing based on their skin color, which the residents were accused of doing.
According to the plaintiff, the Trump organization denied blacks housing opportunities by telling them that vacancies were unavailable without proper justifications. Trump’s lawyers denied the claim and filed a countersuit of $100 million. The matter was settled two years later by the respondents being ordered to submit lists of available apartments to the plaintiffs. They used it to ensure that successful black applicants got apartments more fairly.
5. Jill Harth Versus Donald Trump, Sexual Harassment Lawsuit ($125 million)
Law and order did a recommendable job digging out this case’s details. Jill Harth filed the matter on April 25, 1997, and accused Trump of offensive and hostile better behavior between 1992 and 1997. She alleged that Trump ‘groped’ her, and sometimes he would “forcibly” order her into his sister’s bedroom to attempt sex with her. The 12-page complaint was characterized by a detailed explanation of the misconduct of the former president. The initial amount sought a payout of $125 million, but no party has been forthcoming to come out and give out the amount paid.
4. Trump Versus Merv Griffin, Lawsuit Against a Fellow Media Personality ($400 million)
Trump has been at the forefront of ensuring that he wins any business deal. However, this was not the case when he went head-to-head with former Tv show host Merv Griffin. Griffin had made attempts to break into Atlantic City, N.J. He wanted to buy stakes in Resorts International against the wishes of Donald Trump. At that time, Trump was controlling 88% of the voting securities of Resorts International. Trump has control of Class B stock which he had bought earlier (1987) at $135 per share. In addition, he was serving as the Resorts Chairperson. Griffin decided it was time for the business show. He made a $35 offer for all class A and B stocks held by Resorts International. His bid was far beyond the one that Trump had offered at $22 per share.
Sensing potential defeat, Trump sued Griffin, whose lawyers argued that the lawsuit had no merit but was made to harass their client. Finally, the parties settled the matter out of court, with Griffin winning the deal to own Reports International and Trump running away with $400 million from the deal. Experts have argued that it is the same tactics that Trump used to acquire the Trump Taj Mahl.
3. Donald Trump & Others Versus National Football League, Failed Attempt to Manipulate the Respondent ($1.7 billion)
Besides being a serious ruthless businessman, Trump is a great sports fan. His name is the WWE Hall of Fame. He was once the proud owner of the New Jersey Generals, an aa football team that plays in the United States Football League (USFL). In 1986, the USFL was about to collapse, and Donald Trump persuaded other club owners to sue the National Football League (NFL) for $1.7 billion. They had brought the lawsuit on antitrust grounds claiming the NFL was denying the USFL to air matches on Tv stations owned by the club owners.
Though Trump was not predominantly mentioned as a plaintiff, he appeared as a witness for the USFL, and several media outlets quoted him as the man behind the lawsuit. In his plans, Trump was scheming a plan on how to force the NFL to merge with the USFL. The USFL won the case, and in one of the most embarrassing situations, the NFL was ordered to pay the plaintiffs only three dollars. The payout was too low, so the USFL could not continue operating and died. That was the last time Trump would own a football club in the U.S.
2. Trump Versus Deutsche Bank, A lawsuit Against the Bank Based on Force Majeure ($3 billion)
Throughout this discussion, Donald Trump emerges as a man capable of using lawsuits to arm-twist other parties to fall into his plans. Trump had taken a $334 million loan from the Deutsche Bank to expand his business. Like any other real estate developer hit by the 2008 great economic recession, Trump could not pay the loan. At the time, there was what loan experts termed the ‘subprime of mortgage bubble’- at this time, property lost its value. When the bank pressed Trump to pay, he slammed it with a $3 billion lawsuit. He claimed that the bank was not supposed to force him to pay during the great recession. Rather he was supporting the idea that the bank was supposed to wait until there were favorable economic conditions.
He clung to a Force Majeure clause in his agreement with the bank to advance his claims. In response, the bank counter-sued Trump with a $40 million lawsuit. The two suits forced the two parties to renegotiate the loans, and they settled the matter out of court.
1. Donald Trump Versus Timothy O’Brien, A Case Against a New York Times Journalist ($5 billion)
President Trump has never been a fan of the New York Times. He has accused it of conspiring with other media outlets to misrepresent facts about him on several occasions. Trump filed a lawsuit against Timothy O’Brien for publishing a book titled ‘Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald.” Citing three unnamed sources, the journalist claimed that Trump had a net worth of between $150 million to $250 million. The journalist argued that this network was more than what Trump used to report, meaning that he had committed some financial offenses. An aggrieved Trump filed a lawsuit against the journalist in 2016 at the Superior Court of Jersey, Camden County claiming that the journalist and his publisher had defamed him in the 2005 book.
The case is important not only for the huge amounts of money he had demanded but the attempt by a president to silence a journalist was alarming. Besides demanding a $5 billion compensation, Trump was seeking to know the identity of the unnamed sources that the writer had quoted.
From the above cases, it can be true to say that Trump is the most sued politician in the world, and there is a possibility that this is a record that he will hold onto for so long. Despite some ridiculous figures he quotes in the court filings, he is a court tactician who understands that cases must be won at all costs.