Article 25

Ask an Unemployed Lawyer

In Uncategorized on 10/26/2012 at 11:37 am


‘Nunc Pro Tunc’ and Suing Plato

By U.L.

Did the Americans with Disabilities Act cause an avalanche of insane lawsuits like people predicted it would? No? Really? Did it help people get and keep jobs? Did it improve access to services, etc.? Did it decrease government assistance and raise tax revenues? Was it the biggest civil-rights legislation in recent history, and was it signed by a Republican president?


Told Ya So

Dear Ya So:

Thank you for illustrating why judges tend to hate pro se litigants. They often communicate with the court much as my dog often communicates with me: just little balls of explosive emotion, followed by a look of exasperation as to why I can’t understand something so simple, so basic, as what he is trying to tell me.

Does that sound elitist? Well, it should. A courtroom is no place for ideals such as democracy or for the proletariat to lift their stench of doom with some naive view of concepts such as “justice.” It requires idiosyncratic efficiencies to function well, stamp its identity and defend itself from the hoi polloi.

According to the New York Post last month: “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. Twenty-three percent of all cases filed in the federal court for the Southern District of New York are brought by pro se litigants, and the vast majority of them seem to have lost their mind.”

I mean, judges are people, too. Sometimes they get tickled when a frivolous case gets off their dockets, as did Kenton Circuit Judge Martin Sheehan, who wrote in a Kentucky case last year:

“And such news of an amicable settlement having made this court happier than a tick on a fat dog because it is otherwise busier than a one-legged cat in a sand box and, quite frankly, would have rather jumped naked off of a 12-foot step ladder into a five-gallon bucket of porcupines than to have presided over a two-week trial of the herein dispute, a trial which, no doubt, would have made the jury more confused than a hungry baby in a topless bar and made their parties and their attorneys madder than mosquitoes in a mannequin factory.”

Move to Kiss

One of my favorites is shared by Jason Mazzone at the Concurring Opinions website. The case is Washington v. Alaimo (1996), and involved a frequent pro se litigant, a prisoner who paid the filing fees through his veteran’s disability checks and so could avoid the “frivolity” review that applies to most prisoner suits because they have to ask to have their fees waived.

This case involved a “Motion to Kiss My Ass” in which the prisoner moved for “all Americans at large and one corrupt Judge Smith to kiss my goddamn ass sorry motherfucker you.”

From an opinion by District Judge William T. Moore of Georgia:

“Plaintiff began filing frivolous motions on a weekly basis and, in that relatively simple civil-rights lawsuit, he ended up filing more than 75 pleadings … (including) ‘Motion to Behoove an Inquisition’ and ‘Motion for Judex Delegatus’ and ‘Motion for Restoration of Sanity’ and ‘Motion for Deinstitutionalization.’

“(In another civil case), plaintiff set out to sue a host of individuals, including the superior-court judge who presided over his trial and the attorney who defended him. …  Plaintiff filed 54 pleadings in that case. …

“The motions ranged from the mundane, such as ‘Motion for a Change of Venue,’ to the arcane, such as ‘Motion for Cesset pro Cessus’ … to the curious, such as ‘Motions for Nunc Pro Tunc’ and ‘Motion for Psychoanalysis,’ to the outlandish, such as ‘Motion to Impeach Judge Alaimo’ and ‘Motion to Renounce Citizenship’ and ‘Motion to Exhume Body of Alex Hodgson.’ ”

Heeere’s Johnny

The legend of frivolous lawsuits is Jonathan Lee Riches, a former prisoner of the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., after a conviction for wire fraud. Since 2006, Riches has filed more than 2,600 lawsuits in federal district courts across the country.

Some of his more famous defendants include New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, President George W. Bush, Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs, Michael Vick, Britney Spears and Somali pirates.

Riches attempted to get in on the Bernie Madoff trial, claiming he met Madoff on the website and taught him how to do identity theft.

In one lawsuit, Riches listed 783 defendants over 57 pages, including Plato, Nostradamus, Che Guevara, James Hoffa, “Various Buddhist Monks,” all survivors of the Holocaust, the Lincoln Memorial, the Eiffel Tower, the Garden of Eden, the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages and, of course, the Appalachian Trail.

So, thank you, Told Ya So, for exposing just a small part of why the practice of law is a lot less John Grisham and a lot more My Cousin Vinny.

Never take the advice of an Unemployed Lawyer. Always consult with an attorney for any legal advice in your situation. If, however, you want to ask, write to


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