Can you sue yourself?

Hi Everyone!

I know this is a nutty question, but I guess anything can happen nowadays.

Is it possible in the U.S.A. (or in any other nation) where a person can sue themself?

If you wanted to get rid of a few hundred dollars. Court costs, lawyers, etc.

Sue yourself? For what?

You might well be able to sue yourself in one capacity suing another. For example, you might be a defendant in a class action suit, but also me a member of the class of plaintiffs. An example where it might make sense to do so is if you have insurance coverage for negligence on something and injure yourself. I don’t know if you’d be covered for this but you might be.

There was a news story, that made all the networks, about ten years back. Woman was suing her husband because he didn’t shovel the ice and snow off their walk. She fell and was injured, broke something as I recall. The dodge was that they were trying to get money out of the homeowner’s insurance. I don’t remember any followup, so I don’t know if they were successful or not. It was in Mass., Boston I think. I do remember them being interviewed, they were all smiles, no animosity, but when the husband was asked what he’d do if he lost, replied that he had insurance.

In general, no you can’t sue yourself. The rational is that you are not able to collect money from yourself so there would be no way to award a judgement. I’m sure there’s a legal term for it, but it escapes me at the moment.

I give you Oreste Lodi vs. Oreste Lodi:

http://members.aol.com/schwenkler/wcc/lodi.htm

I leave it to the legal types to explain that nonsense. It appears that the individual involved was hoping to avoid taxes.

Speaking of “Lodi”, one can also find a story about a City of Lodi dump truck driver that hit his own car, and sued to have the city pay for damages resulting from the accident which he admitted was his fault. Note that I wouldn’t say he’s really suing “himself”, though, although the newspapers put it that way. I can even see awarding the damages, just as would have happened if he had hit someone else’s car. Presumably, it might affect evaluation of his job performance, and eventually cost him more than the damages to his car anyway.

Finally, if you want totally asinine, we have a prison inmate who tried to sue himself for violating his own civil rights, and wanted the state to pay $5 million. The judge threw it out as frivolous:

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/VA-news/VA-Pilot/issues/1995/vp950408/04080237.htm

The court had a pretty good sense of humor about it.

Since HM Queen Elizabeth is monarch of several realms and dominions, she can sue herself in right of one against another – or at least, the Crown in Right of one realm or dominion can sue the Crown in Right of another. However, legally, she’s several different persons: most of us don’t have a split legal personality like that.

As a legal matter, there is also the issue of justiciability, the question of whether there is a case or controversy suitable for adjudication by the courts.

Common reasons that a suit might be justiciable include: [ul]
[li]Lack of ripeness, meaning that it is so early that the potential dispute the parties have not ripened into an actual legal controversy – the suit is premature.[/li][li]Mootness, meaning that the facts are such (or have changed so that) the subject matter of the suit is not in a legal controversy – there’s nothing to sue over.[/li][li]Lack of Standing, meaning that the party bringing the suit is not a proper party to assert the legal claim – the wrong person is bringing the suit.[/li][/ul]

A suit in which a person sues him- or herself in the same legal capacity would likely be held not to be justiciable due to mootness or lack of standing.

On the other hand, it is fairly common for spouses to sue each other, or other close family members to sue, when there is an insurance recovery to be had by an injured spouse or family member based on damages caused by the other spouse or family member. Similarly, persons acting in a specific legal capacity (for example, as trust beneficiary) may sue themselves in another legal capacity (for example, as trustee), particularly when the complaint is about a group of people acting together (for example, a board of trustees), so that the disinterested parties may mount a defense on behalf of all.

I’m sorry I don’t have an actual cite for this, but I remember hearing many years ago about parents who sued themselves on behalf of their toddler. The young child had picked up an extension cord and placed the live end in his/her mouth, being very badly burned and scarred.

The parents sued themselves for negligence in an effort to get insurance to pay for very expensive reconstructive surgery. I don’t know how it came out in the end.

I recall reading about a situation where Joe Blow, the invidual, sued his company, Joe Blow Inc. The company was able to take a tax deduction for the payment it made, while the individual did not have tax liability for the money he received. Sorry, I don’t remember the particulars, but it was over a matter where in general an individual might legitimately sue a company rather than some frivolous scam. I don’t have a cite, but perhaps someone knowledgeable can say if this could indeed be done.

I can see why someone would want to sue themselves: it’s a form of insurance fraud.

Example: Take out large malpractice policy. Commit malpractice in such a way that it negatively impacts you. Sue yourself and win. Insurance company covers claim. You collect insurance company’s money.

I can’t, however, think of a way it could actually be pulled off, or a whole lot of litigious crooks would be doing it even as you read this.

The case I mentioned did not involve insurance.

It doesn’t even need to involve seperate “realms”. Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario can sue Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada.

A friend of mine owns a condo in a complex in which the condo association is suing the builder for various issues regarding construction and material defects. The builder, however, still owns several unsold units in the complex, which forces him to be a member of the condo association, and is therefore part of the joint plaintiff action that is bringing suit aginst him (or at least his construction company) for damages. Not only is he suing himself, he has no choice in the matter. Joseph Heller would eat this up.

Stranger

Well, I could see someone with a multiple personality disorder suing their alter ego.

Another variant I found with a quick search was protection against negligence suits. Basically, the owner of a building sues himself for negligence before somebody else does, presumably protecting the compensatory damages he receives from himself from confiscation in other suits. Any comment as to whether THAT scenario actually works, given that the guy has a case as personally being a victim of his own negligence as a building manager?

I can pull up at least 4 corporate bankurptcy cases in Dallas, both current and past , where the same Senior Officer is on both ends of these lawsuits… I would have to say that this is clearly someone sueing themselves.

I’d love to sue my younger self