Speakeasy forum: some people will sue on ANY grounds whatsoever (inbox)

by: jonah jones November 5, 2005 6:39 AM PST

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some people will sue on ANY grounds whatsoever (inbox)

by jonah jones Moderator - 11/5/05 6:39 AM

no source-no link-sorry...


Professional magicians mystify us and entertain us. From Houdini to
Henning to who knows who is up-and-coming, we marvel at their slight of
hand and wonder how they did it.

Christopher Roller of Burnsville, Minnesota, wonders too. He wonders
so much that he has sued two of the best-known names in magic demanding
that they reveal their secrets to him: David Blaine and David
Copperfield.

Roller says that if Blaine and Copperfield show him their tricks ''with
scientific principals [sic] that don't defy laws of physics'' -- and allow
him to ''imitate/copy in slow motion'' as they do it -- and, if in his
judgement there is a ''worldly'' explanation for their tricks, he will drop
the suits. But he's fairly confident that they cannot do the tricks with
mere worldly power, because they are surely using ''godly'' powers to do
their tricks. And that, he says, is the basis for his suits, filed in
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota this summer.

How's that? Roller argues, with apparent seriousness, that if the
magicians' powers are godly, then they stole that power from him. Um,
how's THAT? ''I am deity,'' he says, ''a messenger of god.'' And since the
magicians are using, in Roller's opinion, godly powers to perform tricks,
that's coming through his special channel to god (er, I guess that would
be some god higher than himself) -- and they don't have his permission to
do that. Thus, he says, he deserves 10 percent of their earnings because
their magical ability was taken from him. ''I am the guy responsible for
his powers,'' he says, not specifying which magician he's referring to.

So is Roller saying Blaine and Copperfield somehow saw him perform
tricks somewhere, and stole them? Nope: Roller says he's not a magician
himself, and does not perform. ''I am a programmer and a writer,'' he
admits. ''I have my own Internet software I sell.''

But he's serious about the lawsuits. ''I would not go to federal court
just to pull somebody's leg,'' he insists. No, but he would go to federal
court to pull someone's wallet: the suit against Blaine, for instance,
asks for ''over $2,000,000'' because somehow, ''David Blaine has been using
my godly powers to perform his magic.''

Apparently Copperfield has made more money from Roller's god-powers. A
lot more: Roller wants $50 million from him. In the Copperfield suit,
which is similarly brief, Roller notes--- well, let me simply quote it in
its entirety:

David Copperfield has been using my godly powers to perform his
magic. This is a labor dispute in accordance with Minn Statute
179.06 for past/future commission compensation.

[My web site] explains my life and my journey to godliness. I
believe David Copperfield has been using my godly powers to perform
his magic.

We've all seen clips of UFO videos. They dance around in the sky at
the speed of thought. So we know that godly powers can coexist on
planet Earth. Godly powers means using thought to control
actions/results, usually defying explanation and laws of physics. I
believe magicians have also been granted godly powers by me
somehow, but they have been keeping it a secret and keeping the
credits from me.

If David has godly powers, then he must be using my powers. That,
or I need detailed explanation (in person) of how he does his
tricks, performed/explained in the courtroom (complete
confidentiality), and I will leave him alone if I'm wrong - i.e.
tricks/illusions are done conventionally. I've politely asked
David, via email, to show me how his tricks are done, with no
response.

If godly, I want back-pay compensation - 10% past/future career
earnings. Estimating 10% of past career earnings of over
$50,000,000.


That's the entire lawsuit. (Can you tell he wrote it himself without
the aid of an attorney?) It cost Roller ''like $250'' to file it in Federal
court, but at least he didn't do it until he ''politely asked'' ''David'' to
reveal his trade secrets to a complete stranger, and didn't get a reply.
If Roller is so godly and Blaine and Copperfield are using his powers to
perform magic, then how come he doesn't already know how to do the
tricks? Unfortunately, there's no room for common sense in his argument.

Some of Copperfield's lawyers' response to the court is worthy of
quotation too:

Seeing as how Roller has never worked for Copperfield in any
capacity anywhere ever and has no relation to Copperfield
whatsoever, he has no claim currently nor could he ever have any
employment or labor claim against Copperfield. Plaintiff's
Complaint is best described as a claim for usurpation of Godly
powers, which as this Court is aware, is beyond the jurisdiction of
this Court or any court of this earth.

(Keep going: it gets even better.)

Defendant respectfully urges the Court to visit Plaintiff's
website.... Therein Plaintiff makes the following claims including:

* Plaintiff is running for President of the United States in 2008
with Bill Gates as his running mate.
* Plaintiff claims he is Jesus Christ.
* Plaintiff claims he is God.
* Plaintiff claims that [NBC news host] Katie Couric and [singer]
Celine Dion are his wives and are going to have his children.
* Plaintiff claims there is a movie coming out soon about his life
that stars Tom Hanks.
* Plaintiff claims he has killed all of his enemies.
* Plaintiff claims he will father 1,000,000 babies.


While most people would simply call Roller a nutball and roll their
eyes, that Just Won't Do in a court of law. Rather, they just point out a
few facts and let the judge come to his own conclusion. But the formal
response is indeed the time and place to ask the judge to dismiss the
suit, and they do: ''Accordingly,'' Copperfield's response concludes,
''dismissal with prejudice is warranted.'' (''With prejudice'' means Roller
would be enjoined from refiling the suit again, even if he amends it.)

In federal courts, there is a procedural rule about frivolous lawsuits
and motions -- Rule 11. When that rule is invoked, the judge can award
damages against the frivolous action. No doubt wanting to get the suit
over with as soon as possible, Copperfield's attorneys have not asked for
such damages, but there's a clear warning to Roller in the response:

Without waiving its right to later do so, it should be noted that
Defendant has not brought a Rule 11 motion at this time despite
ample grounds to do so. Obviously, to the extent Plaintiff were to
continue to pursue his ''claim'' herein, Defendant may be forced to
seek sanctions under Rule 11 in order to deter Plaintiff from the
repetition of such conduct.

Yes, on the one hand the whole thing is funny, but on the other hand
it's also awfully sad. The victims of the suits are reasonably rich men,
and they can afford to hire good attorneys to fight back. But what if the
defendant were, say, YOU? Then YOU would have to hire an attorney (or
two, like Copperfield) to fight back, and you may not be a rich celebrity
with the money to do that. You might have to take out a second mortgage
on your house to afford it, and take time off work to brief the attorney
on what's going on so he can protect you. Copperfield's attorney didn't
demand ''Rule 11'' compensation to pay the magician back for the money
spent fighting this junk, but why should that be necessary? When cases
are this ridiculous, it should simply happen anyway in a sort of court-
ordered magic trick. And Presto! Maybe that would have stopped Roller
from filing the second suit ...or maybe even the first one.

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