Pro Se Poetry
July 28, 2007 12:22 AM   Subscribe

It's common for pro se prisoners to sue unusual defendants, but never before have I seen a list of defendants [pdf] so awe-inspiring. Francois Rabelais would truly be proud. Unfortunately, this particular prisoner's follow up lawsuit against Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick isn't nearly so entertaining.
posted by saslett (58 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am sorely disappointed to find that I have NOT been named as a defendant in that mega-suit. (What would you call it, Class Action in reverse?)
posted by wendell at 12:33 AM on July 28, 2007


Good luck trying to nail Tony "Teflon" Danza. He'll have better luck suing Three Mile Island and Accuweather.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:34 AM on July 28, 2007


Stop giving him ideas.
posted by IronLizard at 12:35 AM on July 28, 2007


Docufarm page of the pdf link.
posted by Xere at 12:47 AM on July 28, 2007


Well gee whiz, now that someone cleared up the blue space, my witty retort to the complainers has disappeared... Hmmph!
posted by amyms at 12:56 AM on July 28, 2007


I'm confused. "Defendant: Magna Carta"? One can sue DOCUMENTS in US courts? I mean, I understand suing Tony Danza, just on general principles, but the Magna Carta?

But Outback Steakhouse is totally guilty, man. They were conspiring with Denny's, Janet Reno, Sammy Sosa, and Various Buddhist Monks. Not to mention the Nobel Peace Prize and La-Z-Boy.

I love the American criminal justice "system".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:02 AM on July 28, 2007


Wendell did it. I saw it, and will testify in exchange for immunity.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:04 AM on July 28, 2007


One can sue DOCUMENTS in US courts?

Dude, I'm totally suing my 7th grade book report on Johnny Tremaine.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:09 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


How much o' Brien am I suing?

Miles O'Brien!
posted by dirigibleman at 1:12 AM on July 28, 2007


I suspected as much.
posted by amyms at 1:15 AM on July 28, 2007


I will sue Jessica Alba for stealing my heart.

And for making things last for more than four hours.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:16 AM on July 28, 2007


BitterOldPunk, would it make you feel better if I told you the complaint was dismissed in a one page opinion?

The reasons? The prisoner didn't pay the $250 filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

The judge, the Hon. Louis Pollak, noted that the prisoner file such a motion (in which case the filing fee money would be deducted from his prison account as it became available), but warned him against it because he would dismiss the case as patently frivolous and charge him the $250 filing fee anyway.

Here's the relevant language from the judge's order:

"[B]ecause the plaintiff, Jonathan Lee Riches, has failed to either pay the $250 filing fee to commence this civil action, or to file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis,1 the Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case statistically.2

1. A grant of in forma pauperis status authorizes the deduction of filing fee payments from the plaintiff's prison account, as the funds become available, until the full filing fee is paid. In forma pauperis status does not relieve the plaintiff of the legal requirement that he pay the filing fee.

2. Because this complaint consists entirely of fanciful and clearly baseless claims, it would be subject to dismissal as factually frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e) if the plaintiff were to decide to pursue this civil action in this
Court. See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). Despite such dismissal, the plaintiff would not be entitled to a refund of any portion of the aforementioned filing fee."
posted by saslett at 1:19 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendent: Shite [sic] Cleric

Oh, he's not that bad.

Defendent: Skittles Candy

TASTE MY RAINBOW, BITCHES!!!
posted by dirigibleman at 1:22 AM on July 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Defendant
METAFILTER
posted by Avenger at 1:28 AM on July 28, 2007


here are some "real" ones:

Defendant
NORDIC GODS

Defendant
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS

Defendant
MT. RUSHMORE

Defendant
GANGS IN HONG KONG

Defendant
SOULJAH
(Sister)

Defendant
WKRP IN CINCINNATI
posted by Avenger at 1:38 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
FABIO
posted by Avenger at 1:40 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
HEGELIAN PRINCIPLE

Defendant
TAOIST CREATURES

Defendant
BOB SAGET

Defendant
HANNIBAL LECTOR

Defendant
ENGINE #9, FIRE DEPARTMENT

You know, the sad thing is, in our current political climate, a lawsuit brought against "HEGELIAN PRINCIPLE" probably has a better shot than a suit brought against any member of the administration.
posted by Avenger at 1:54 AM on July 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


See, just because dude didn't cough up the cash, he was denied his day in court. What a tragic miscarriage of justice.

(Except for that other stuff, wherein it was revealed to be a frivolous claim. Who woulda thunk it??)

That said, I'd like to sue Tony Danza, cuz I watched his daytime show once over at my mom's house and I had to gouge my eyes out with a sharpened spoon.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:54 AM on July 28, 2007


Hell, Engine #9, Fire Department has a better shot, and that's really sad.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:02 AM on July 28, 2007


I gave it a read, & it looks entirely sane to me. I wish him well.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:13 AM on July 28, 2007


Never use a sharpened spoon to gouge out your eyes. They make them that blunt shape for a reason, kids. Perfect for gouging eyes. Severing the optic nerve is not a problem once the eyeball is out of the orbit, just slip your fingers over the end of the spoon and pinch; texture somewhat like an oyster and similar tensile strength.

I knew a guy who did it with chopsticks. He didn't poke 'em out, he actually plucked them out, perfectly, like a Japanese grandmother picking boiled quail eggs out of the soup. Fantastic action. Such artistry. Sad that he could only do it once. Well, twice.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:32 AM on July 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


I look forward to seeing him collect from Niccolo Machiavelli...
posted by Samizdata at 3:02 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
Aether

Defendant
Bonobo

Defendant
Inverse Square Law

"Nuclear Power Plant" is my favorite. Just the one, no others
posted by jmhodges at 3:23 AM on July 28, 2007


Fucked up the formatting, dammit.
posted by jmhodges at 3:24 AM on July 28, 2007


"Fruit of A Loom"? "Mr. Ditty"? Aren't you supposed to get the names right, at least? Or is it a... conspiracy?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:18 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE'S

He's going to have to be more specific. Don't they own everything?

Defendent
MARCO POLO

The man or the game?

Defendent
NEGRO JUSTICE LEAGUE

Yes, it was disgusting the way they were segregated in the 50s.

Defendent
RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS

Copyright infringement?
posted by PlusDistance at 5:24 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
THE LETTER E

For making me forget how to spell.
posted by PlusDistance at 5:24 AM on July 28, 2007


The case was on the verge of being dismissed until the Planet of Pluto totally contradicted WKRP in Cincinnatti on the witness stand.(this would be the best CourtTV show ever!)
posted by skammer at 5:35 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can anyone find what he was accusing the defendants of?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:18 AM on July 28, 2007


Probably for violating the civil rights of his equally co-existent four-day harmonic time cube.

there are four races, each contained within one 24 hour cube-day
posted by Avenger at 6:51 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can anyone find what he was accusing the defendants of?

BEING A DICK
EXCAPING FROM JAIL
FUCKING UP LOTS OF SHIT
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:59 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Paris Hilton and the Eiffel Tower. Co-conspirators.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:12 AM on July 28, 2007


Someone with more talent than I should do some nice pastel court drawings of these defendants testifying,
posted by Biblio at 7:13 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
NINJA SAMURAI FIGHTERS


is the best one.
posted by flashboy at 7:17 AM on July 28, 2007


NINJA SAMURAI FIGHTERS

That's kind like Cowboy Indian Fighters, no?

That list is hilarious. I'll take my time sifting through it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:24 AM on July 28, 2007


I'm sure that on at least one of the of the two thousand four hundred eighty eight extant episodes of Law And Order Prime, Abby Carmichael, full of outrage over the latest justice dodging, legal-system-abusing tactic employed in a civil case related to the crime du jour, exclaimed, "Damnit, Jack, he's suing everybody this side of the crown prince of Liechtenstein!"
posted by Clay201 at 7:36 AM on July 28, 2007


What, no Chuck Norris?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:36 AM on July 28, 2007


Okay, I was with him up until Tara Reid, Brad Pitt, and Charlie Sheen.... and George Orwell.. and dear god there are how many more pages?
posted by blacklite at 7:39 AM on July 28, 2007


So it'll cost the guy 250 to file?

I got three bucks. Come on... who'll match me?
posted by Clay201 at 7:41 AM on July 28, 2007


DEFENDENT: The Next Listed Defendent
DEFENDENT: The Next Listed Defendent
DEFENDENT: Not The First Listed Defendent
posted by nilihm at 7:44 AM on July 28, 2007


I got three bucks. Come on... who'll match me?

Hey, you know, that's a good idea. I'm in for five.

And can we make future filings an editor-vetted wiki? I want to help.

Helping means I get to work with Abby Carmichael, right?
posted by blacklite at 7:45 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant

THE COFFEE GUY AT THE QUEENS BOULEVARD 7-11

Defendant

THE PHRASE "ROCKNROLL, DOPE AND FUCKING IN THE STREETS"

Defendant

THE GREEN LANTERN

Defendant

BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARTY MARKOWITZ

Defendant

JENNA JAMESON
posted by jason's_planet at 8:54 AM on July 28, 2007


That lawsuit against Michael Vick is for 63,000,000,000 billion dollars.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2007


I want to know what the rest of the filing said. I can't think of anything all of those have in common. What did the Fort McHenry Tunnel ever do to anyone?
posted by QIbHom at 9:07 AM on July 28, 2007


the same person who filed this lawsuit also filed a recent lawsuit against michael vick. it is also a funny lawsuit.

also
What, no Chuck Norris?
you don't sue chuck norris, you beg for his forgiveness
posted by Flood at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2007


I actually found the Vick complaint far more entertaining. Somehow this guy managed managed to his homework and did a fine job duplicating the federal complaint form in handwriting, and learned of some complicated words like "Bivens action."

I particularly like the last line, "Michael Vick has to stop physically hurting my feelings and dashing my hopes." Well said Mr. Riches(c), well said.
posted by saladpants at 9:20 AM on July 28, 2007


Best is: Michael Vick subjected me to microwave testing.
posted by frobozz at 9:33 AM on July 28, 2007


Fan-freaking-tastic. Thanks for a good laugh immediately upon waking up.

And, has anyone found out what his complaint actually was?
posted by jtron at 9:41 AM on July 28, 2007


I wish I had some information on these lawsuits.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2007


Mulp. you probably mean 63 billion dollars. 63 000 000 000 billion dollars is actually $63 000 000 000 000 000 000.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2007


Defendant
KEVIN BACON


This changes everything.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy, I assume that's what he meant (I was copying directly from the claim against Vick), but he did write 63,000,000,000.00 billion dollars.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:44 AM on July 28, 2007


Jtron,

The complaint hasn't been uploaded to the PACER database, which allows interested people to access federal court filings online (for a reasonable fee--$.08 per page capped at $2.40 per document).

The entry doesn't give a reason for why the complaint wasn't uploaded. It was filed on March 9, 2006 and dismissed on July 26, 2006, so this is definitely old news. Riches filed a notice of appeal to the Third Circuit only a few days ago, on July 20, 2007, which is way late for an appeal. He also didn't pay the filing fee for his appeal. It's only a matter of time before the Third Circuit dismisses that too.

The only way to find out what Riches sued over would be to fax the Clerk's Office and ask for a copy of the complaint. According to the website of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Clerk's Office, copies of civil complaints are kept for three years so you could still get a copy of Riches's complaint. The cost is $.50 per page. No telling how long Riches's complaint was. My guess is that cost will include the many pages in which he listed the defendants, making it prohibitively expensive to get the entire complaint (though I wonder if one could ask the clerk only to fax over the text of the complaint itself).

If Mefites are really that curious, I could do this for a fee. :)

You may be interested to know that Riches has also filed another lawsuit in New Hampshire district court on July 21, 2007. That complaint, mercifully, is only three pages.

I've downloaded it, but it's disappointing. He's merely suing the Jewish Mossad, CIA, and Larry King Live for, among other things, a "vast conspiracy to hijack my torso, 3 toes, and my constitutional rights and ship them to a secret headquarters in Concord, New Hampshire." He seeks "$211,429,399,000,000,00[0] trillion dollars backed by gold and silver."

And, no, he didn't pay the filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis for this suit either.
posted by saslett at 11:25 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Defendant
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS

Hey, I don't like "Takin' It To the Streets" or "Black Water" but I think that the charges should be dismissed or at least reduced on the strength of the great "What a Fool Believes."

Defendant
GUY RITCHIE

No complaints here.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:00 PM on July 28, 2007


One can sue DOCUMENTS in US courts?

Sure, you can bring an in rem case against all sorts of objects. See such landmark cases as:
posted by grouse at 12:02 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


As long as we're on the topic of goofy lawsuits, I might as well share this one (NOT SAFE FOR WORK).
posted by jason's_planet at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Waitaminute, famous dogfighter Michael Vick is a quarterback? Weird.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:55 AM on July 30, 2007


R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. v. The Wrecked and Abandoned Vessel, R.M.S. Titanic

That case was only able to go forward after the Brittanic totally flipped on her sister ship.

Defendant

THE GREEN LANTERN


Insufficient ID. Which one? Hal Jordan? Guy Gardner? John Stewart? Kyle Rayner? Salaak? Anyway, they're all pretty busy fighting Sinestro right now. (And I mean, really, what kind of parents would name their kid Sinestro? Did they really think anything good would come of that? "Aw, our baby is cute! Let's name her, oh, Eater of Souls!")
posted by Midnight Creeper at 12:27 PM on July 30, 2007


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