Lunacy

It appears that Jonathan Lee Riches — ATL’s favorite pro se litigant, who filed that famous $63,000,000,000.00 Billion lawsuit against Michael Vick — has some competition in the contest for craziest complaint.
Pro se litigant Gregory Newman has filed a lawsuit against “Covert Action Air Operations.” This entity does not exist. But that hasn’t stopped Mr. Newman from alleging that it erased his videotape of a “magnetic tornado” that descended upon his backyard.
Here’s an excerpt from the memorandum opinion dismissing the complaint, which describes some of Gregory Newman’s more colorful allegations:
Gregory Newman Gregory E Newman complaint Covert Action Air Operations.jpg
You can read the two-page opinion — which includes some boilerplate and citations, perhaps helpful to the law clerks among you, for the proposition that complaints “that describe fantastic or delusional scenarios are subject to immediate dismissal” — by clicking here.
Memorandum Opinion: Newman v. Covert Action Air Operations [U.S. District Court (D.D.C.)]

gunner law school gunner.jpgToday’s open thread focuses on someone who is near and dear to all of your hearts: the law school gunner. He’s sitting on your left; he’s sitting on your right; or maybe he is you. If you don’t know who the gunner in your class is, then look in the mirror.
We asked the tipster who suggested this topic to us to provide us with some fodder to kick off the thread. Here’s what we got:

It all begin at Admitted Students Weekend last spring, when this particular individual had to be shushed and told to “STOP TALK-ING” by a professor running a mock class. This was after he interrupted another admitted student and said, “Well, he gave a BAD example, but what he was clearly trying to say was…” There was other bizarre admitted students weekend behavior, but that should give you an idea.

Then, we arrived at school in August and there he was…ready to embark on a semester full of interrupting other students and professors, sharing awkward personal stories, and even telling professors that material they assigned from casebooks was “irrelevant.”

For finals, he decided that typing on his laptop keyboard would not allow him to type quickly enough to get all of his thoughts down in EBB, so he got special permission from the Registrar to use an external keyboard and a stand for his laptop. The whole contraption takes up lots of desk space and looks like he is sitting at the controls of a spaceship. From what I hear, he also used it for the last week of classes to “practice” for the exams.

He also once asked a particularly well-known professor to autograph his casebook…

And, finally, the event that precipitated my message to you. During a lunchtime speaker event, this individual pulled out a set of nail clippers and started clipping and then filing his fingernails! The entire room heard and was staring at him–naturally this got around the law school pretty quickly. Did I mention this individual is older and should know better (not that a 22 year old straight from undergrad shouldn’t…but he’s significantly older)?

So there’s a few examples for you.

Have gunner horror stories of your own to share? Please do so, in the comments (without naming any names, per our standard operating procedure around here). Thanks.
Gunner [Wikipedia]

James Colliton Jim Colliton Cravath Swaine Moore Above the Law blog.jpg(We missed this case because it happened over the holidays, when we were away from ATL. But we’ve received several requests to cover this super-juicy story, so we’ll go for it, despite being so late to the party.)
We described Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy, a lawsuit by a Jewish associate against his former law firm, as “the Jewish version of Aaron Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell.” Now we’re looking at “the pervert-who-has-sex-with-13-and-15-year-old-sisters version of Charney v. S&C.”
From the New York Daily News:

A disgraced lawyer who paid a mother to allow him to have sex with her underage daughters is looking for a payday of his own – from the elite law firm where he once worked.

James Colliton is suing Cravath, Swaine & Moore for $1.45 million, accusing the white-shoe firm of stiffing him on an annual bonus, salary and vacation pay.

Reached by phone at his home in Poughkeepsie, the convicted sex offender refused to talk about his suit, which was handwritten on notebook paper.

“It’s all in there,” Colliton said.

That’s what he told her. Also, we’d expect better than a complaint “handwritten on notebook paper” from James Colliton. If Aaron Charney can type up his pro se complaint against his former firm, surely an ex-Cravath lawyer can do the same.
More discussion, beyond the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day Last Month: Talk About a ‘Special’ Bonus
(The bonus you claim after pleading guilty to paying a mom so you can have sex with her two underage daughters)”


This episode gives new meaning to the term “flip phone.” A cell phone that went off during court proceedings caused one judge to, well, flip out. From the NYT’s City Room blog:

Robert Restaino Judge Robert M Restaino Rob Restaino AboveTheLaw blog.jpgThe next time you pass through the city court system in Niagara Falls, N.Y., remember to turn your cellphone off.

Today, the Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended the removal of a judge in Niagara Falls City Court who had, what the commission’s chairman, Raoul L. Felder, called, “two hours of inexplicable madness” when a cellphone rang in his courtroom.

Specifically, on the morning of March 11, 2005, the judge, Robert M. Restaino, was presiding over a slate of domestic violence cases when he heard a phone ring in his courtroom. He told the roughly 70 people in the courtroom, according to the commission’s report, that “every single person is going to jail in this courtroom” unless the phone was turned over.

Look, we hate cellphones ringing at inappropriate times as much as the next guy. But was Judge Restaino’s reaction a tad over the top? We suggest — with respect, Your Honor — that you’re a few beeps short of a ringtone.
Read what happened next, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge of the Day: Robert Restaino”

Barenaked Ladies Bare Naked Ladies Above the Law blog.jpgSexual harassment comes in all shapes and sizes. From the Connecticut Employment Law Blog:

I enjoy my work as an employment lawyer for the simple fact that each case is different and “you can’t make this stuff up.”

An article in today’s The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, proves that theory correct. [It's] about a female town of Stamford employee who was disciplined for allegedly harassing a male supervisor, [and] contains the sorts of details that you really can’t make up.

According to the article, the alleged harassment by the female employee included sending an e-mail with lyrics from a Barenaked Ladies song.

Considering the weirdness of this incident, of course it happened in a law office. The victim of the purported harassment was Stamford’s Director of Legal Affairs.
The lyric that got the employee in trouble — “I knew you before the fall of Rome,” from the song “It’s All Been Done” — is surprising. But this case, involving a female employee allegedly harassing her male supervisor, is not your run-of-the-mill harassment incident.
It would be much more probable for a male supervisor to harass a female subordinate — with a song lyric like, for example, “Hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me” (Dave Matthews Band, “Crash”).
Report: Female Employee Uses “Barenaked Ladies” to Harass Male Supervisor [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
City disciplines female employee for harassing male supervisor [Stamford Advocate]

prostitute intern tramp Judge Ann Lokuta Above the Law blog.jpgHow have we not heard of her before? She’s fabulous! And for reasons that will soon become obvious, a Pennsylvania state court jurist, Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta, is today’s Judge of the Day.
From the Citizens Voice:

A former intern of Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta testified tonight the jurist called her a tramp for wearing a sleeveless shirt to work.

Rebecca Sammon took the stand in Lokuta’s misconduct trial and described another incident where Lokuta yelled at her for being nice on the phone.

Awesome. And there’s more:

Prothonotory Jill Moran testified lawyers got yelled at for clicking pens or writing too loudly in Lokuta’s courtroom. Prothonotary clerk Maura Cusick said Lokuta was either a good judge or a wicked judge.

A dichotomy couldn’t be more false: a wicked judge IS a good judge. The Honorable Ann Lokuta is a delicious judicial diva.
[Ed. note: Yes, we just learned what "prothonotary" means too. See here.]
More obscure terms for judicial staff members, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Ann Lokuta: My Intern Is a Tramp”

Ernie Chambers Omaha Nebraska senator suing God Above the Law blog.jpgTime for a quick update on a recent Lawsuit of the Day — the case filed by Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, against God. Yes, God.
From the AP (via TaxProf Blog):

A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

“This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!” Friend said.

Or maybe the court clerks didn’t notice when it was dropped off, since they were too busy gabbing about why Tyra picked a chick with Asperger’s for America’s Next Top Model.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are You There God? Yes, I Am”

Ernie Chambers Omaha Nebraska senator suing God Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s me, Ernie — Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers. And I’m suing your divine ass! From the AP:

The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

And he pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, and microwaved a few pooches. Jonathan Lee Riches, holla!
What relief is Chambers seeking? The WSJ Law Blog reports:

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against God, ordering him to cease certain harmful activities. Chambers asked the court to waive personal-service requirement. Because God is omniscient, he argues, he will have actual knowledge of the action.

And you thought the $54 million pants lawsuit was crazy. If God’s deposition ends up being taken, can someone ask him about the proper construction of this contractual provision?
P.S. Props to the AP reporter who conferred a Jesus-like halo upon Senator Chambers. You win the prize for Most Creative Use of an Electric Fan as a Background Element.
[AP via WSJ Law Blog]

Jonathan Lee Riches Jonathan Riches Jon Lee Riches Jon Riches Above the Law blog.jpgFederal prisoner Jonathan Lee Riches, whose “$63,000,000,000.00 Billion dollar” lawsuit against Michael Vick was discussed in these pages last month, has a new celebrity athlete in his sights. From a tipster:

Got to think you’ve seen this by now: the guy suing Michael Vick for a bazillion dollars or whatever it is now realizes that the real culprit is Barry Bonds. See here.

Question: Where can we file amicus briefs on these?

More description of Riches’s latest Complaint, alleging “Fraud Against Mankind” and “Batman and Identity Robbin,” from the Smoking Gun:

Riches, who is doing a decade in prison for fraud, is at it again, this time filing a loony — though quite funny — complaint again Barry Bonds, baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and Hank Aaron’s bat.

In his lawsuit, Riches weaves an intricate conspiracy theory involving television ratings, steroids, the cracking of the Liberty Bell, Colombian narco-terrorists, and secretly recorded conversations for which journalists Robert Novak and Judith Miller have transcripts.

Sounds like the plot to Syriana or Babel. Might Riches — a/k/a “Secured Party” d/b/a “The White Suge Knight” — have a future as a Hollywood screenwriter?
As it turns out, Jonathan Lee Riches is an old hand at crazy lawsuits — a veritable pro at proceeding pro se. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Jonathan Lee Riches Strikes Again (and Again and Again)”

War of the Roses Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSure, the divorce proceedings of Leroy Greer won’t be pretty.

But hopefully it won’t get as ugly as Nancy Tauck v. Peter Tauck. That litigation, which has dragged on for some two years, has earned these dubious distinctions:

– a new national record for the longest divorce trial ever (some 86 days and counting);

– $12 million in legal fees and expenses;

– allegations that the husband molested the kids and downloaded child pornography on his computer; and

– allegations that the wife made up said allegations about her husband, and planted the kiddie porn on his laptop to incriminate him.

Twelve million in legal bills, for a divorce? Maybe our late grandmother was on to something when she urged us to go into matrimonial law.

Tauck Divorce – Day 86 [Hartford Courant]

Page 7 of 111...34567891011