Jonathan Lee Riches likes suing people, companies and just about anything else he can put into a complaint.
He recently turned his sites to cleantech investor Vinod Khosla, suing for $43 million.
The complaint, verbatim: “Khosla’s fund invests in prison buildings. I’m suffering from no medical treatment. This is a conspiracy. Bhutto was killed on my birthday. I can’t see outside, this is unconstitutional. I seek $43 million.”
Riches’ complaint against Khosla is maddeningly simple compared to the complex conspiracy theory he concocted in his suit against Barry Bonds, Bud Selig and Hank Aaron’s baseball bat (Riches alleges that Bonds sold mustard gas to Saddam Hussein
Riches sought $42 million in the Bonds case, filed last year. When the judge dismissed the case, Riches appealed and was ordered to pay the $455 filing fee to continue the case.
Riches has filed over 1,000 lawsuits since he was busted for identity theft and confined for 125 months.(Details of how he got Western Union to wire him money here).
When he gets out in 2012, he’ll be in debt for at least some of his suits. Impoverished people may ask the court to proceed with a civil case before paying a filing fee, by filing their complaints “In Forma Pauperis.” But that does not mean that the fee will not be collected. William M. Catoe, the South Carolina judge in the Khosla case has ordered that more than $3,100 be collected from Riches for filing fees associated with Khosla’s case and nine others filed at around the same time. The fees can’t be skirted by bankruptcy either.
Judge Catoe has also issued a warning to Riches that he may be fined or held in contempt of court if he continues filing such suits. “It appears that Plaintiff may be filing cases for the sole purpose of creating additional work for this and other federal courts,” the judge writes.
The case against Khosla was, unsurprisingly, dismissed. Read the ruling.
Khosla took the suit in stride: “Well, there is at least one thing I have in common with Britney Spears and Perez Hilton now,” he says.