In response to a commenter

Last month I noticed a lurking commenter on this site that also commented on one of Jeff Breinholt’s posts over at Mormon Matters. (Jeff is a DoJ attorney with a superb series of legal posts. If you haven’t read his stuff, I highly recommend it.) The commenter identifies himself as Frank Fox, who Jeff named as one of the pro se litigants who has filed multiple spurious lawsuits against the Mormon Church.

I got curious about these cases, and found several opinions dismissing two of Fox’s previous lawsuits. The first lawsuit, Fox v. Hawk, was dismissed sua sponte under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6). (Cases filed pro se and in pauperis can be reviewed sua sponte under Hall v. Bellmon.) The Utah District Court gave Fox a chance to amend his Complaint, but the Amended Complaint still failed to state a claim and the case was ultimately dismissed on May 9, 2008.

Fox filed another pro se suit on February 27 of this year in the case Fox v. Eyring. Fox identified Henry B. Eyring as the leader of the Mormon Church, and alleged various claims, including that Eyring and the Church had violated his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1985 and had cyberstalked him. Acting sue sponte, the Utah District Court again found Fox’s claims to be baseless and dismissed  the suit for failure to state a claim.

Not easily deterred, Frank G. Fox filed a new case in his home state of Louisiana a mere week after the dismissal of the Eyring case. In Fox v. Tippetts he again alleges civil rights violations by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fox says that the Church hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit, and I haven’t seen any of the filings. However, unless Fox’s pleadings have improved significantly since Eyring, this case may be doomed to a swift dismissal as well.

My guess is that almost any large institution or public figure continually face spurious lawsuits. In fact, Jeff Breinholt’s research seems to show that the Mormon Church faces more than it’s fair share of frivolous litigation. But these aren’t the sorts of cases that keep the Church Legal Department up at night.

Best (or Worst) Law Suits Ever Filed

The Top Ten most ridiculous law suits ever filed was compiled by The Independent (UK).

  1. The man who sued Budweiser after drinking the beer which brought him no hot women.
  2. The prisoner who sued himself for violating his own civil liberties.
  3. The Judge, Roy Peterson, who sued the dry cleaners for $65M after they lost his pants.
  4. The Turkish city of Batman who sued “Batman” the movie.
  5. The 77 year old man who sued the 19 year old girl who said ‘no’ to his sexual advances.
  6. A driver who sued the family of the cyclist he killed for damages to his car.
  7. The Michael Jordan look-a-like who sued Nike for making Jordan too recognizable.
  8. The parents who sued Oliver Stone after their kids saw his movie and went on a crime spree.
  9. The man who demanded his cheating wife return the kidney he donated to her.
  10. The copyright battle over two separate recordings of silence.
Number ten on the list is pretty good but I don’t think any of them can beat Mr. Jack Ass’s law suit against Viacomm. In 1997, a Montana man legally changed his name to Jack Ass. A few years later, MTV began airing “jackass” the TV show. Mr. Ass claimed that MTV had plagiarized and defamed his name. Ass’s lawsuit states that Viacomm is “liable for injury to my reputation that I have built and defamation of my character which I have worked hard to create.”

Apparently, he had a hard time finding the “right” attorney for the case. “I couldn’t find an attorney. Listen, lawyers are not just going to pipe up–they’re not going to say they don’t have courage. They give me lame excuses. One is too busy. They won’t do it on contingency (what why not?). Some say I may have a case and they want to look deeper. Then they don’t call back.”

So what do you do when you’ve got a great case and you can’t find an attorney to help you out? Well, you represent yourself. Ass filed the suit on his own and said “Anyone can do it. You do some research. And there’s some rules you have to learn.” Apparently

I wonder if in all his research he learned what a 12(b)6 motion is?