This one is for the birds… (we can’t make this stuff up!). According to an article in the Beaufort (SC) Gazette, two Hilton Head siblings were recently awarded $4.25M in a pet turkey lawsuit:
What began as a dispute between neighbors about pet turkeys ended Friday when a Beaufort County jury awarded two Hilton Head Island siblings $4.25 million in damages.
In 2004, defendant Ralph Dupps accused Robert and Jennifer Klippel of taking his turkeys from his Sea Pines home and setting them free. The charges were dismissed, and the Klippels sued Dupps. They claim he accused them falsely and that their wrongful arrest caused public humiliation and emotional distress that drove Robert Klippel to alcohol and Jennifer Klippel to the use of sleep aids and depression medication.
Much of the plaintiffs’ claims revolved around arguments that the turkeys shouldn’t have been on Dupps property in the first place.
The issue dates back to the fall of 2004 when, according to the Klippels, the birds began roaming their yard, defecating, creating traffic issues and scaring Robert Klippel’s son.
After reporting the turkeys to Sea Pines Security, an officer allegedly told the Klippels that Dupps had set them free. The officer offered to help catch the birds and later suggested shooting them, according to the Klippels’ complaint.
The Klippels admitted they took the turkeys to a wildlife preserve, saying it was out of concern for the birds’ safety.
When Dupps arrived home to find his birds missing, he contacted authorities….
Three law enforcement officials told Dupps no crime had occurred, Kippel attorney Richard Rosen said. Yet, Dupps proceeded to get arrest warrants for the Klippels from a Hilton Head Island judge and sought out his brother-in-law, a special prosecutor in the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s office at the time, to prosecute the case, Rosen said.
Rosen suggested to jurors that Dupps should pay $10 million in damages for “seeking revenge on the Klippels” and subsequently causing them great distress.
Our opinion: $4.25 million ought to clean up a LOT of turkey poop!