Calling all lawyers - post your fave war story here!

I was recently reminded of the famous “Martian motion”, handled by my firm in part … damn funny. Established the valuable precident that Martians do not have standing to sue in Ontario!

Post your funnies here, lawyers.

Here is the Martian Motion (note that court documents are not copyright):

"Joly v. Pelletier

Between
Rene Joly, and
R. Pelletier, Clive Livingstone Clarke, Henry Cussy et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
Roland Pelletier, et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
Shoppers Drugmart et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
MDS Laboratories et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
Wainbee Limited et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario et al.
And between
Rene Joly, and
Pharma Plus Drugmarts et al.

[1999] O.J. No. 1728
Court File Nos. 99-CV-166273 and 99-CV-167339

Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Epstein J.

May 16, 1999.
(4 pp.)
Counsel:

No counsel mentioned.

¶ 1 EPSTEIN J. (endorsement):— This endorsement relates to a series of motions brought on behalf of a number of the defendants in two related actions commenced in this Court by the plaintiff, Rene Joly. The moving parties seek orders striking out the Statements of Claim and thereby dismissing the actions on the grounds that the pleadings disclose no cause of action (rule 21.01(3)() or are frivolous or vexatious or an abuse of the process of the Court (rule 25.11).

¶ 2 Mr. Joly’s claims in these two actions, and in several others not currently before me, all centre on his firm assertion that he is not a human being; rather a martian. As I understand them, the nature of his complaints against the numerous defendants who include a number of doctors, medical facilities and government agencies is that they have conspired with the American government in its attempts to eliminate him and have otherwise taken various steps to interfere with his ability to establish himself and live freely as a martian.

¶ 3 As indicated, there are two actions before me. At the beginning of the hearing Mr. Joly advised me that he has recently commenced a third action against, among others, the Central Intelligence Agency, President Clinton and the Honourable Anne McClellan for interfering with his D.N.A. test results that prove that he is, in fact, not human.

¶ 4 Given the related issues in the three actions brought in this Court, I ordered that the three proceedings be consolidated. All parties consented to this order. An order will issue to this effect. Unfortunately, I failed to note the action number of the third action affected by this order.

¶ 5 As another preliminary matter, I should indicate that given the unusual nature of the plaintiff’s claims, a discussion took place at the beginning of argument as to whether I should order that a hearing be conducted pursuant to the provisions of rule 7 of the Rules of Civil procedure for a determination as to whether the plaintiff was in a position properly to represent his interests on the motions or whether a litigation guardian should be appointed. As a result of this issue having been raised, I arranged for a reporter to record the proceedings and the plaintiff agreed to testify under oath and answer certain questions posed by Mr. Novak, counsel who appeared on behalf of a number of the defendants. At the conclusion of this form of hearing and having considered the submissions made, I determined that there was no reason to delay the argument of the motions. I made the observation that in every respect Mr. Joly properly conducted himself before the Court. He presented himself as polite, articulate, intelligent and appeared to understand completely the issues before the Court and the consequences should I grant the relief sought. There was nothing before me, other than the uniqueness of the pleadings in question, for me, on my own volition, to adjourn, pending a hearing to determine if Mr. Joly is under some form of disability. This observation, the fact that no one was really urging me to adjourn and the costs to all concerned of having these proceedings protracted, factored into my decision to proceed.

¶ 6 Finally, I add that at the request of the parties, leave was granted to adduce evidence at the hearing. Both Mr. Novak and Mr. Joly presented evidence to the Court in support of their submissions.

¶ 7 The crux of the various arguments advanced orally and in the written material is that Mr. Joly’s claims disclose no cause of action and are otherwise frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of the Court. It was also argued that the tort of conspiracy was not properly pleaded and that no damages have been identified or claimed. It was further pointed out that several of the defendants are not legal entities and are not capable of being sued.

¶ 8 Mr. Joly, in a well prepared, thoughtful argument submitted that he had evidence of falsification of records and related wrongdoing. On the pivotal point of Mr. Joly’s being in fact a martian Mr. Joly advised me that the only reason he was not now able to satisfy the Court that he is a martian, not a human, is due to the falsification of his D.N.A. test results by the Americans.

¶ 9 The authorities relied upon by the moving parties are well known. On a motion to strike out a pleading, the Court must accept the facts as alleged in the Statement of Claim as proven unless they are patently ridiculous and incapable of proof and must read the Statement of Claim generously with allowance for inadequacies due to drafting deficiencies. See Nash v. The Queen in Right of Ontario (1995), 27 O.R. (3d) 1 (C.A.). Perhaps the leading case is that of Carey Canada Inc. v. Hunt et al. (1990) 74 D.L.R. (4th) 321 (S.C.C) in which the test in Canada is described as assuming that the facts as stated in the Statement of Claim can be proved, the Court must be satisfied that it is “plain and obvious” that the plaintiff’s statement of claim discloses no reasonable cause of action.

¶ 10 Concerning rule 25.11, the Court will dismiss or stay an action as being frivolous, vexatious or abusive only in the clearest cases where it is plain and obvious the case cannot succeed. The decision in Steiner v. Canada [1996] F.C.J. No. 1356 (Fed. T.D.) makes it clear that if a pleading does not present a rational argument, either on the evidence or in law, in support of the claim, and casts unreasonable aspersions is frivolous.

¶ 11 In my opinion there are at lease two reasons why the two Statements of Claim in question ought to be struck and the actions dismissed.

  1. Neither pleading discloses a cause of action. While conspiracy to do harm to someone is the basis of many actions in this Court there is a fundamental flaw in the position of Mr. Joly. Rule 1.03 defines plaintiff as “a person who commences an action”. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines person as “an individual human being”. Section 29 of the Interpretation Act provides that a person includes a corporation. It follows that if the plaintiff is not a person in that he is neither a human being nor a corporation, he cannot be a plaintiff as contemplated by the Rules of Civil Procedure. The entire basis of Mr. Joly’s actions is that he is a martian, not a human being. There is certainly no suggestion that he is a corporation. I conclude therefore, that Mr. Joly, on his pleading as drafted, has no status before the Court.

  2. In respect to the motions brought under rule 25.11 I am of the view that the test has been passed in the circumstances of this case. In other words, I am satisfied that the claims are frivolous and vexatious and constitute an abuse of the process of this Court. In addition to the fact that the tort of conspiracy has not been remotely properly pleaded, no damages have been claimed and many of the defendants are not even legal entities capable of being sued. More importantly, with all respect to Mr. Joly and his perception of reality, these actions are patently ridiculous and should not be allowed to continue as they utilize scarce public resources not to mention the time and money of the numerous defendants who have been forced to defend these actions.
    ¶ 12 In the circumstances I have come to the conclusion that the moving parties are entitled to the relief requested. The Statements of Claim in both actions are struck and the actions are dismissed.

¶ 13 The defendants are entitled to their costs of the actions but it would seem to be that the defence has likely incurred little if any costs in defending the actions. The moving parties are certainly entitled to their costs of the motions, if demanded. If the parties require any assistance with respect to the resolution of costs, they may arrange a conference call through the assistance of my secretary.

EPSTEIN J.

I’m not a lawyer, but my wife is. This is her fave war story as recollected by me, so the jargon won’t be perfect.

She was a JAG in the Air Force. (No, it’s not nearly as exciting as the TV show makes it look, nor is she quite as hot as Catherine Bell.) Her office also provided services to the local Navy / Marine base which was too small to have their own legal dept. This story dates from around 1983.

One day a Marine goes nuts and shows up in the dayroom (barracks TV lounge) with his rifle (M-16) & starts shooting up the place while a half-dozen Marines are watching TV. Three of the Marines are wounded before they charge the guy, gang-tackle him, and disarm him.

As background, US military law is rather different from civilian law, and to prove the charge she must prove certain elements, sort of like checking the boxes on a form. All boxes checked = convicted; any boxes left unchecked = not guilty. (Yes, I know I’m simplifying, but close enough for the SDMB).

One of the essential elements for the crime charged (attempted murder, I beleive) was that the intended victim(s) were “in reasonable fear for their lives.” Others are establishing who was there and that a physical assault actually took place, etc.

A month later the trial begins and my wife is prosecuting the case. One of the wounded Marines, now mostly recovered, is on the witness stand and my wife is doing the questioning.

What follows in the gist, but last Q&A, the punchline, is verbatim.

Q: Were you in the dayroom when Private X came in?
A: Yes, ma’am.

Q: Was he armed?
A: Yes, ma’am.

Q: Did he begin shooting at you and the others in the room?
A: Yes, ma’am.

(Wife thinks “Great, that fills the assault square.”)

Q: When he was shooting, were you in fear of your life?
A: No, ma’am.

(Wife thinks “WTF?? Maybe he misunderstood the question, I’ll try again.”)

Q: Were you afraid he was going to shoot you?
A: No, ma’am.

(Wife thinks “Holy Sh**!! Now I’m sunk. How do I undo what he just said and get him to prove my “reasonable fear of death” square? Without that I lose the case, period. Yikes!”)

Q: Let me try this another way. Did you believe you were going to be shot?
A: Yes, ma’am, I was sure I was going to be shot.

(Wife starts to recover composure.)

Q: Did you believe you were going to be killed?
A: Yes, ma’am, I thought I’d probably get killed.

(Wife heaves huge internal sigh of relief.)

Q: And you weren’t afraid for your life?
A: No, ma’am. I’m a Marine. I’m not afraid of anything.

Final verdict: Guilty as charged. Wife realized then and there that the next country to piss off the Marines would be toast.

LSLGuy, I’m handicapped and also way to nonconfrontational to be anywhere near the military, but fromt he few ex-Marines in church I know, I saw that punch line coming a mile away.

I loathe litigation, but I do wills and other stuff and have a good part-time career. My favorite war story, though, involves a Guardianship.

Seems certain loan companies would call this gentleman, among others, and get him to take out loans/mortgages. They were all excited when he’d agree, as this fellow said he was starting his real estate business up again after some down years.

Well, it turns out it was about 20 down years. And this person was trying to restart it, thinking that he could pay all these mortgages a month on $1000 Social Security and income from renters, and still have money enough to eat and everything. He had almost zilch in his bank account. (No pension b/c he was self-employed all those years)

By the time I got to him, or he was with me, or however you say it, he’d managed to be $250,000 in debt on five different morgages and a loan from one of those money stores, even though his properties, counting his own house, didn’t total more than $150,000 in value, and the sheriff’s sales made them worth even less. His sons were doing work for him, at his apartments, or at least two would have been declared unlovable, I wear - in fact, his own house, on which he owed about $50,000 after having it paid off before, almost had to be demolished, there were so many feces and thigns from three dogs,and tons of roaches and mice. This fellow simply went to the lending company locaoffices, and b/c he knew real estate so well, he could trick his way though it when it came to them asking about that.

A year after getting all that taken care of, he was in such bad shape he didn’t even remember who he was. Sad, really. But, at least it showed that those companies that prey on the elderly sometimes get bit hard - the one wound up losing over $100,000, the other maybe $25000, and the one didn’t even get anything back b/c they were last in line.

And, yes, that’s likely small change tot hem, but It’s big to me, as I’m not making much money at all myself, having to work out of my home, so it still counts as a big “payback time.”

LSLGuy, I’m handicapped and also way to nonconfrontational to be anywhere near the military, but fromt he few ex-Marines in church I know, I saw that punch line coming a mile away.

I loathe litigation, but I do wills and other stuff and have a good part-time career. My favorite war story, though, involves a Guardianship.

Seems certain loan companies would call this gentleman, among others, and get him to take out loans/mortgages. They were all excited when he’d agree, as this fellow said he was starting his real estate business up again after some down years.

Well, it turns out it was about 20 down years. And this person was trying to restart it, thinking that he could pay all these mortgages a month on $1000 Social Security and income from renters, and still have money enough to eat and everything. He had almost zilch in his bank account. (No pension b/c he was self-employed all those years)

By the time I got to him, or he was with me, or however you say it, he’d managed to be $250,000 in debt on five different morgages and a loan from one of those money stores, even though his properties, counting his own house, didn’t total more than $150,000 in value, and the sheriff’s sales made them worth even less. His sons were doing work for him, at his apartments, or at least two would have been declared unlovable, I wear - in fact, his own house, on which he owed about $50,000 after having it paid off before, almost had to be demolished, there were so many feces and thigns from three dogs,and tons of roaches and mice. This fellow simply went to the lending company locaoffices, and b/c he knew real estate so well, he could trick his way though it when it came to them asking about that.

A year after getting all that taken care of, he was in such bad shape he didn’t even remember who he was. Sad, really. But, at least it showed that those companies that prey on the elderly sometimes get bit hard - the one wound up losing over $100,000, the other maybe $25000, and the one didn’t even get anything back b/c they were last in line.

And, yes, that’s likely small change tot hem, but It’s big to me, as I’m not making much money at all myself, having to work out of my home, so it still counts as a big “payback time.”

ACW,

I used the term “punchline”, but I swear that isn’t a joke or made-up story. It really happened as I said.

Also, here’s a quick cultural hint about military folks & terminology. I’m ex- Air Force and my brother is ex-Navy. But there’s no such thing as an “ex-Marine”. The advertising isn’t kidding; the change really is forever. The culturally approved term is “former Marine”.

Wife also hated/hates litigation. Her practice now is almost exclusively banking regulatory compliance. All the fine print on mortgages, credit cards, car loans, etc. And since Congress keeps changing the rules, that means a steady flow of work. Damn the bad luck.

As she says, dealing with banking executives has two advantages: 1) You meet a nicer class of criminal this way and 2) they rarely call you from jail at 2 am.

I like your story; there’s nothing better than seeing the organized thieves get stuck by a good con artist. Sadly it’s the shareholders that end up holding the bag rather than the senior management.