->''"This is obviously an example of vigilantism at its worst."''
->''"I'd call it vigilantism at its '''best'''!"''
-->--'''WesternAnimation/TheTick''' has trouble in court

[[HeroInsurance Heroes can get away with everything...]] unless they're in a comedic setting. A lawyer can sooner or later bring the BigDamnHeroes to court for blowing up the [[SupervillainLair villain's fortress]] (destruction of property), killing his [[{{Mooks}} henchmen]] (numerous cases of murder) and stealing the [[MacGuffin Ancient Long-Lost Powerful]] [[BuffySpeak Mysterious Thingie]] of the [[{{Precursors}} Ancients]] (thievery. What? Just because it was stolen in the first place, that doesn't make stealing it again any less illegal.) The heroes will try to explain the heroic nature of those crimes, but such arguments will quickly and inevitably get ignored by the lawyer. No HeroInsurance for them.

Occasionally, villains can get in trouble too, e.g. for [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking attacking the president (assassination attempt), playing football with people's most prized possessions (destruction of property), and imitating Darth Vader's voice (copyright infringement)]], and HilarityEnsues.

Played straight in a number of places, especially in UsefulNotes/{{the Dark Age|of Comic Books}} or against a VillainWithGoodPublicity. Several {{Elseworld}} series are based on this; badly written, it comes with the FamilyUnfriendlyAesop that "{{superhero}}es are so valuable that the damages they do are [[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper acceptable losses]], no matter what."

Will occasionally involve the WeirdTradeUnion. Aversions may involve some form of HeroInsurance, though rarely if ever will both tropes appear concurrently. (Though a story about a superhero trying to purchase public liability insurance would be kind of cool.)

FrivolousLawsuit is a subset of this.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not]] a comedic MarySue, though [[ParodySue such things]] [[FanFic/MyImmortal do exist]].

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'': Togusa tries and fails to save a woman from being murdered in an alleyway, shooting (and crippling) her killer in the process. He is then brought up on charges of excessive force for shooting her killer in cold blood. He gives a [[TalkingIsAFreeAction lengthy speech]] [[note]]Under the influence of a [[GrandTheftMe brainhack]][[/note]] which motivates the bad guy and his lawyer to drop the charges. [[spoiler: Both the lawyer and the killer end up badly injured in a [[MakeItLookLikeAnAccident suspicious car accident after leaving the courthouse.]]]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/SheHulk'' likes to play with this one too, with Jennifer Walters (AKA the She-Hulk) being a lawyer for a firm that specializes in superhero cases.
* Played with earlier in the ''ComicBook/DamageControl'' series.
* The entire Marvel Universe has taken on this attitude recently, what with their apparent anger at all the superheroes for not letting supervillains kill them and steal their stuff (What's up with that? So mean!), and their anger at stopping Norman Osborn from ruling the world and trying to kill everyone...
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Films -- Animated]]
* On a less humorous note, at the start of ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', Mr. Incredible is sued by a man who was trying to commit suicide and who got whiplash when Mr. Incredible saved him. This catalyzes a chain reaction which results in ''all'' superheroes being seen as a liability and forced into retirement.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* On a ''more'' humorous note, ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}} 2'': They saved the city from the apocalypse and [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished are shut down for it]].
* In ''Film/TheReturnOfCaptainInvincible'', the eponymous hero retired and crawled inside a bottle as a result of such a lawsuit. Among the crimes listed were his UnderwearOfPower.
* In ''Film/{{Superman}}'', Supes trackes Lex Luthor's threat of a poison gas pellet to his lair under the streets of Metropolis. After he breaks down the door to see Lex sitting there calmly, Luthor tells him, "Come in. It's open. My attorney will be in touch with you about damage to the door."
* The title character of ''Film/{{Hancock}}'' is a notoriously negligent superhero who has absolutely no regards for collateral damage. This eventually catches up with him, as a warrant is finally put out for his arrest. He is a vagrant alcoholic with no assets, precluding any useful civil suits, and his powers make him invincible, but in the interest of PR he is eventually (voluntarily) taken to court and sentenced to prison for criminal acts.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* In the Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Discworld/TheWeeFreeMen'', the eponymous tiny, blue people ("Pictsies! Feegle wha' hae!", and not tiny little [[BodyPaint woad-covered]] [[ViolentGlaswegian Glaswegians]] ''at all'') are afraid of nothing except for lawyers. They never give anyone their true names, in fear of getting arrested for their pranks and crimes. Near the end of the book, the villain uses lawyers to render them helpless. At this point, [[spoiler:the toad they carry around with them suddenly remembers his past and files a counterargument -- he was a lawyer himself. The Nac Mac Feegle are awed at the concept of defense attorneys: "We got a cheap lawyer, and we're no' afraid to use 'im!"]]
** In fairness, any lawsuit against the Feegle would be ''totally justified.'' Don't bother nailing things down; all that means is that they'll rob you of some nails too.
* Lampshaded in the Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', where Susan retells ''Jack and the Beanstalk'' by listing all the crimes Jack committed, and then adds ''which proves you can get away with anything if you are a hero''.
* ''[[KittyNorville Kitty Takes a Holiday]]'' has a dramatic example after Cormac, the resident BadassLongcoat, blows half of an evil [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent skinwalker's]] face off to [[ShootTheDog put it out of its misery]], after it was already mortally wounded. This saves the pretty heroine, her lover, a police officer, and a couple civilians. Traditional end to a werewolf story, right? [[SpoiledByTheFormat We're only two-thirds through the book]]; the {{Badass}} has just been arrested for murder because the final bullet constituted excessive force. (Not so much HollywoodLaw as a combination of DirtyCop, AmoralAttorney, and FantasticRacism, plus TheMasquerade only recently having been broken.)
** Played for laughs in the previous book, where a tape of Kitty [[spoiler: being forced to transform in a prison cell after being kidnapped]] gets her fined by the FCC because [[spoiler: [[NippleAndDimed her breasts were briefly visible]] mid-transformation.]] Talk about your [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking screwed-up priorities...]]
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Harry is repeatedly being sued by talk show host Larry Fowler for allegedly damaging his studio during an interview. Fortunately, the suit never really gets anywhere, as not only does Harry have a good lawyer (thanks to the fact that he found the lawyer's daughter's lost pet), but the argument that "the wizard fried my studio's electronics via magic by being near them" likely earned a few stern glares from the judge. Sometimes, the ExtraStrengthMasquerade is ''useful.''
** ''Un''fortunately, Fowler just keeps trying, book after book. Even when Harry doesn't lose the case, all the court fees pile up.
* In Creator/CordwainerSmith's NORSTRILIA, Lord Redlady ties up the antagonist in a ridiculous number of lawsuits on behalf of Rod's Earth debtors, who fear that the creep might harm him -- or would if they knew about him. An official smirks "We're so freedom-minded that if we charge a man with murder, he has time to commit a few more. But civil suits? Hot sheep! He'll never get out of those as long as he lives."
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''GetFuzzy'', Bucky sues Fungo for knocking out two of his teeth. However, he was trying to catch Fungo in a snare trap at the time, so Judge Judy ruled in the favor of the defendant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* At one point in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Peter Petrelli is sued by a man who claims that Peter injured him while saving him from a bus crash. However, the man drops the lawsuit as soon as he's accomplished his real objective: meeting Peter.
* In the same vein, the boys from ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' have quite the rap sheet. Murder, grave desecration, theft, evading the law, breaking out of custody, assault, breaking and entering, etc. etc... All in the course of fighting the supernatural; demons don't mind dirty tricks, after all, making most of them cases of NotWhatItLooksLike. The credit card fraud, grave desecration and impersonating federal agents... OK, those they're actually guilty of. Although the grave desecration is often self defense or defense of another. Hard to argue that in court, though.
** This does get addressed in one episode when the Winchesters get arrested, then defend the police station when it's assaulted by demons. The police thank them by making use of a helicopter crash during the episode to legally kill the boys, taking away some of the heat.
* Probably the best episode of the live action adaptation of ''Series/TheTick'' involved the eponymous character having a nuclear weapon excluded as evidence against Destroyo because he took it without a warrant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'', Guybrush is wanted for numerous crimes, all of which are his heroic deeds or puzzle solutions; the list of crimes on his "Wanted" poster grows as the game progresses.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'', characters often get subpoenaed to the Dark Court for such mundane things as having too high a level or overkill on a bad guy (Tink is charged and convicted with the crime of [[TheScrappy existing]]. No, really). With the subversion that, since this is the ''demon'' world, felonies are good, and the court that convicts you of them doesn't hand you a sentence but a ''reward''.
* The ''VideoGame/RealityOnTheNorm'' game ''Defender of RON'': After Phil Nihilist gains superpowers, he gets sued by DC Comics for copyright infringement, because his powers are the same as {{Superman}}'s. The plot of the game involves trying to change his superpowers to something that's not copyrighted.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''DarkmoonsSillyWebComic'' has lawsuits and courts of law in its comedic jumble concerning Dracula's public relations.
* Finn from ''Webcomic/DeverishAlso'' accidentally activated a CoolGate which sucked him and everything else nearby into another world. Meaning he vanished, along with a company van and a whole bunch of warehouse inventory, and the warehouse itself was leveled. The Earth police and company staff aren't exactly pleased with him.
* ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'' is a rare dramatic example of the heroes being sued for their actions, as the entire SEMME team (though in the end, just Joyce) are dogged by the media.
** Their [[http://home1.gte.net/~cpq2ts42/iw_crime.html collective criminal record]] is also pretty impressive.
* The entire premise of ''Webcomic/JailhouseBlues'' is that Dr. Wily hired a lawyer and had criminal charges filed against Megaman for the destruction of his fortress oh so many times, which ends up landing Megaman in jail.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' pulled this off; our heroes are hunted down for accidentally destroying a seal holding back SealedEvilInACan, and eventually end up getting [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0271.html put on trial]].
** Additionally, two villains (a mind flayer, and Drizz't Do'Urden knock-off Zz'dtri) are pulled away from the comic by lawyers for violating copyrights.
** And Belkar used it to great effect against the JerkAss Paladin Miko in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0228.html this strip]]
** Subverted by Windstriker's restraining order, however...
* In [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=970908 this]] strip from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', Torg tries to pull one of these on Bun-Bun to get the [[ComedicSociopathy Comedic Sociopath]] to answer for his abusive behavior. Bun-Bun turns it around on Torg thanks to some lawyers and the race card.
* ''VanVonHunter'' is arrested and put on trial early on for murdering a local vampire. The maiden Von Hunter tried to rescue is also arrested, as an accomplice. It is, of course, a KangarooCourt.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Part of the basic concept of ''HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw''.
* Reversed with ''TransformersAnimated''. After the Headmaster commits GrandTheftMe with Sentinel Prime the police are all ready to arrest him -- until Powell arrives and points out that Autobots [[InhumanableAlienRights have no legal rights]], the "crime" was committed in international waters (Lake Erie), and any damage done was to his own company's boat. Therefore, the police couldn't charge him with anything. This did not endear him to Captain Fanzone in later episodes...
** [[FridgeLogic Note: Lake Erie has no international waters.]] It's all either U.S. or Canadian. (Ditto for Lake St. Clair.) Of course, the show is set in the early 22nd century, so things may have changed.
** Powell's words were used against him in a later episode: After Optimus and Grimlock came to Sumdac Tower to get an old piece of equipment, he tried to have them arrested. Fanzone smugly responded by saying that, since they were aliens, they were not beholden to humanity's laws. This is another case of poor research as codified theft laws are not concerned with the gender/nationality/race of the perpetrator of the crime, only that said person committed the unlawful ''actions'' that make up the crime, namely the willing and unauthorized taking of another's property. As long as those conditions are met, then the law has been broken. The fact it was committed by a giant robot from another planet is immaterial as far as the legal system is concerned. The only possibility is that Transformers somehow don't meet the definition of "person" under the law, which, being sentient, they probably do.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' episode "Krabs vs. Plankton", Plankton sues Mr. Krabs after Plankton slips on a wet floor without any signs to warn him. The reparation Plankton seeks? Everything Krabs owns, including the secret Krabby Patty formula. In Plankton's defense, instead of Krabs helping him up or offering to call 911, all he does is basically sit there and verbally abuse Plankton for getting injured. In Krabs' defense, Plankton has a history of attempted Krabby Patty theft. Plankton wasn't all that seriously injured anyway, he was just faking it to try to win the lawsuit.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'', Carl The Evil Cockroach Wizard stages injuries received from Yin and Yang while the two were in the midst of training, which leads to a kangaroo court case; naturally, [[JokerJury the jury, witnesses and plantiff are all their past villains]].
* Happens a few times in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', with the main antagonist ending up in jail briefly.
* Implied in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''. After small-time crook Spider Conway is apparently killed on his way to testify against mobster Rupert Thorne, Batman breaks down the door to Thorne's greenhouse to have words with him. Thorne remarks, "You'd best have the money to pay for that." (As you might expect, Batman is ''not'' amused.)
[[/folder]]
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