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Jonathan Lee Riches, the world’s most litigious man is suing the Guiness Book of World Records for naming him as the most litigious person in history. Riches, aka Irving Picard, apparently takes offense at some of the names Guiness plans to call him, including “the litigator crusader,” “the duke of lawsuits,” “Johnny Sue-nami,” “Sue-per-man,” and the “Patrick Ewing of suing.” Riches also complains that the Guiness people are misstating facts by proposing to state that Riches has filed about 5,500 lawsuits. Riches puts the number at more than 4,000 worldwide. While Riches seems to blame Guiness for overstating his litigiousness, he boasts in his complaint, “I’ve filed so many lawsuits with my pen and right hand that I got arthritis in my fingers, numbness in my wrists, crooked fingers . . . I flush out more lawsuits than a sewer.”
And while some may criticize Riches for bogging down the judicial system, Riches should be proud of his body of work–his vast array of self-proclaimed “legal masterpieces.” Because, while some frivolous lawsuits only make us laugh (or cringe) because of their sheer frivolity, lawsuits by Jonathan Lee Riches are truly works of creative and comic genius. Just ask his fans. And they serve to remind us just how ridiculous meritless lawsuits can be.
Riches has made productive use of his time spent behind bars (he was convicted of wire fraud and is set to be released in 2012) by becoming a sue-per-man setting out to avenge the world’s wrongs–wrongs like the Jolie-Pitt family (for kidnapping Madeleine McCann as part of their plot to adopt a child from each of the world’s 192 countries), the International Olympic Committee (for not allowing him to enter the 2008 Olympics even though he ran a 3.38-minute mile around the prison rec yard), Michael Vick (for $63 billion for allegedly stealing his two pit bulls and subjecting Riches to microwave testing, among other things), and Mount Rushmore (in a case with 57 pages of named defendants ranging from “nordic gods” to kentucky fried chicken). Riches also attempted to intervene as a plaintiff in the Madoff investment scandal, claiming that he knew “juicy details” about Madoff after meeting him on eharmony.com in 2001 and that he had taught Madoff how to commit identity theft.
Although Riches is incarcerated in Kentucky, the case against the Guiness Book of World Records was filed in the Eastern District of Washington. Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush has previously entered a dismissal in another Riches case (against Peanut Corp. of America, claiming that federal officials fed him salmonella-tainted peanut butter) and warned Riches that he may be barred from filing any more lawsuits in the district.
In his latest filing, Riches has stated that when he gets out of prison he wants to “start a Lawsuit 101 shop and teach Americans how to file pro se lawsuits” while also selling T-shirts saying “Watch what you do, or I’ll sue you.” This may actually be one of his more lucid ideas. If wisdom comes with experience, then Riches should be the best pro se plaintiff around. Despite his best efforts (and paradoxically because of them), it seems that Riches will likely go down in Guiness Book of World Records history as the world’s most litigious man.
– Jamie Lynn Kern
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