In The United States District Court, Southwestern District, Tempe, Arizona
Case No. B19293, Judge Lance Ito, Presiding
Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff
Acme Company, Defendant

Opening statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, attorney for Mr. Coyote:

My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and
contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the
Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted
merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every
state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for
personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering
caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of
said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47,
section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has
purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, "Defendant"), through
that company's mail-order department, certain products which did
cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper
cautionary labelling. Sales slips made out to Mr. Coyote as proof
of purchase are at present in the possession of the Court, marked
Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have temporarily
restricted his ability to make a living in his profession of
predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for
Workmen's Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th he received of Defendant
via parcel post one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote
was to use the Rocket Sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon
receipt of the Rocket Sled Mr. Coyote removed it from its wooden
shipping crate and, sighting his prey in the distance, activated the
ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars, the Rocket Sled
accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force as to stretch Mr.
Coyote's forelimbs to a length of fifty feet. Subsequently, the
rest of Mr. Coyote's body shot forward with a violent jolt, causing
severe strain to his back and neck and placing him unexpectedly
astride the Rocket Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such
speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket
Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment
the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote
vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due
to a poorly designed steering on the Rocket Sled and a faulty or
nonexistent braking system. Shortly thereafter, the unchecked
progress of the Rocket Sled brought it and Mr. Coyote into
collision with the side of a mesa.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B),
prepared by Dr. Ernest Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple
fractures, contusions, and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as
a result of this collision. Repair of the injuries required a full
bandage around the head (excluding the ears), a neck brace, and full
or partial casts on all four legs.

Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to
support himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an
aid to mobility one pair of Acme Rocket Skates. When he attempted
to use this product, however, he became involved in an accident
remarkably similar to that which occurred with the Rocket Sled.
Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without caveat, a product
which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two) to
inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger
safety. Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of
the Rocket Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a
roadside billboard so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of
his full silhouette.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this
document he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of
Defendant: the Acme "Little Giant" Firecracker, the Acme
Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a full listing, see the Acme
Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached deposition, entered in
evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say that not once has
an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote performed in an
expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of much
time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer
rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and
spiralling downward around it to some few feet above a black X
painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way
that a spherical explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll
easily and swiftly down to the point of detonation indicated by the X.
Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, and
then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb (Catalogue #78-832), climbed
to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote's prey, seeing the birdseed,
approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the fuse. In an instant,
the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to detonate prior
to its release by Mr. Coyote.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote's careful preparations to
naught, the premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in
the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:

  1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.
  2. Sooty discoloration.
  3. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to
     dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.
  4. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking,
     frazzling, and ashy disintegration.
  5. Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair
of these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff's
Exhibit D. Selected fragments have been shipped to the
metallurgical laboratories of the University of California at Santa
Barbara for analysis, but to date, no explanation has been found for
this product's sudden and extreme malfunction. As advertised by
Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two wood-and-metal
sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high tensile
strength and compressed in a tightly coiled position by a cocking
device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this
product would enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial
moments of the chase, when swift reflexes are at a premium.

To increase the shoes' thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote
affixed them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder.
Adjacent to the boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote's prey was
known to frequent. Mr. Coyote put his hind feet in the
wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness, his right forepaw
holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time, Mr.
Coyote's prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him.
Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote, well within range
of the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance
with care and proceeded to pull the lanyard release.

At this point, Defendant's product should have thrust Mr. Coyot
forward and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet
unknown, the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from
Mr. Coyote. As the intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote
hung suspended in air. Then the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr.
Coyote to a violent feet-first collision with the boulder, the full
weight of his head and forequarters falling upon his lower

The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound,
whereupon Mr. Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and
collision followed. The boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid
in shape, had begun to bounce down a hillside, the coiling and
recoiling of the springs adding to its velocity. At each bounce,
Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or the boulder came
into contact with Mr. Coyote, or both came into contact with the
ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for
some time.

The sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to
Mr. Coyote, viz., flattening of the cranium, sideways displacement
of the tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper body, and
compression of vertebrae from base of tail to head. Repetition of
blows along a vertical axis produced a series of regular horizontal
folds in Mr. Coyote's body tissues--a rare and painful condition
which caused Mr. Coyote to expand upward and contract downward
alternately as he walked, and to emit an off-key, accordionlike
wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing nature
of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote's pursuit
of a normal social life.

As the court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of
manufacture and sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote's work. It is
our contention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the
detriment of the consumer of such specialized products as itching
powder, giant kites, Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and
two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much as he has come to mistrust
Defendant's products, Mr. Coyote has no other domestic source of
supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our trading
partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a situation,
where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in a
most reckless and wrongful manner over and over again.

Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger
economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of
seventeen million dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual
damages (missed meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional
occupation) of one million dollars; general damages (mental
suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million dollars; and
attorney's fees of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. By
awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court will censure
Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and
assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the
right of the individual predator to equal protection under the law