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We Investigated, Donald Trump is Named in at Least 169 Federal Lawsuits


shutterstock_322465685Donald Trump has been named in at least 169 federal lawsuits, according to a investigation. They read like a history of  Trump’s business failures, successes, and bombastic personality. With Trump threatening a lawsuit against Ted Cruz, his surge in the polls, and his big win in New Hampshire, we thought now was as good a time as any to review of some of the Donald’s legal skirmishes. The federal lawsuits that we reviewed date back to 1983 and involve everything from business disputes, antitrust claims and, more recently, accusations that Trump’s campaign statements are discriminatory against minorities. Some of the cases have been resolved, some were dismissed as frivolous, and others were privately settled. He’s been sued by celebrities, personal assistants, prisoners, people in mental hospitals, unions, and wealthy businessmen. Of course, Donald Trump has also done his fair share of suing as well.  The lawsuits on both sides provide a unique glimpse into some of the biggest battles involving the presidential candidate.  Just a note, the cases listed below only include those filed in U.S. federal court. Who knows how many others were filed in state courts around the country.

Here are some highlights in chronological order:

  • The U.S. Department of Justice sued Trump for an antitrust violation in 1988 and won. Trump was forced to pay $750,000. The real-estate magnate agreed to pay the penalty stemming from his attempted takeovers of two companies. The feds said that his stock purchases in the companies violated the FTC’s notification requirements.
  • 1990 was a big legal year for Donald Trump. He was named as a defendant in 21 lawsuits filed by different businesses and individuals. Several sued him for securities fraud and breach of contract. Most of the complaints stem from the Trump’s corporation filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from creditors following the building of the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. By 1991, the resort was nearly $3 billion in debt, according to the New York Times.
  • It’s not just Trump being sued. He has sued Palm Beach, where he has a home, at least three different times. In 1992, he filed a $100 million lawsuit over the membership club Mar-a-Lago, the council eventually “acquiesced” and allowed him to make some of his property into a private club. He then sued the Palm Beach Airport for noise violations, and tried to prevent them from expanding near his private club. Palm Beach County estimates that legal fights with Trump related to the airport have cost taxpayers at least $600,000. The most entertaining is probably the $25 million lawsuit he filed against the town, who cited him for displaying an American flag on his property. “The town council of Palm Beach should be ashamed of itself,” Trump said, according to Politico. “They’re fining me for putting up the American flag. This is probably a first in United States history.”
  • In 1995, the personal assistant to Donald Trump’s ex-wife Marla filed a federal lawsuit against them that went on for years. It reads like an article in the National Inquirer, with accusations of nude pictures being sent to tabloids, and panty stealing. In 2003, a judge finally dismissed the case, calling the plaintiff’s case full of “ramblings.”



  • A New Hampshire man, upset he didn’t appear on Trump’s reality show The Apprentice, sued for allegedly discriminating against an older contestant. The 51-year-old withdrew his lawsuit after entering into a settlement agreement, according to Law 360.
  • A college student filed a lawsuit against Trump’s profit seeking college, Trump University, and a federal judge eventually ordered the school pay $798,000 in legal fees, according to Courthouse News. The student claimed the university and Trump engaged in deceptive practices, and that the seminars were nothing more than infomercials. Trump’s name was eventually dropped from the suit.
  • Rafel Oliveras and Lopez De Victoria who live in Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit last year.  The duo claim “Candidate Donald Trump publicly disgraced and discriminated against Hispanics by wholesale comparing them with murderers, rapists and known gang members.” The couple wants him barred him from seeking the office of President of the United States all together. Good luck, with that one.
  • The most recent lawsuit was filed in December by Federick Banks — who says he is an American Indian Witch. He also sued the CIA director.


From inmates to millionaires, Donald Trump has become a familiar name on courtroom dockets and his legal battles will almost certainly continue so LawNewz will review any new lawsuits filed, or missed, and dutifully add them to our list.

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Rachel Stockman is President of Law&Crime which includes Law&Crime Productions, Law&Crime Network and Under her watch, the company has grown from just a handful of people to a robust production company and network producing dozens of true crime shows a year in partnership with major networks. She also currently serves as Executive Producer of Court Cam, a hit show on A&E, and I Survived a Crime, a new crime show premiering on A&E this fall. She also oversees production of a new daily syndicated show Law&Crime Daily, which is produced in conjunction with Litton Entertainment. In addition to these shows, her network and production company produce programs for Facebook Watch, Cineflix and others. She has spent years covering courts and legal issues, and was named Atlanta Press Club's 'Rising Star' in 2014. Rachel graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Yale Law School.