How not to sue the Queen – a lesson in judicial restraint

One strength of the US legal system is that people get their day in court even when they don’t deserve it. An obviously-patient US Magistrate Judge has issued a careful and thoughtful ruling dismissing a lawsuit that should never have been filed in the first instance. The decision in Aly v. Queen of England, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21259 (Feb. 19, 2016), available here (subscription required), gives a lesson in how to politely and thoroughly dismantle an undeserving plaintiff’s diatribe.

According to the decision, the 360-page complaint names the Queen of England, the Government of Canada, and a multitude of Pennsylvania trial court judges as defendants, and seeks “over one trlion [sic] dollars” in damages. Most folks would evaluate the validity and legitimacy of that complaint without knowing anything more. Magistrate Judge Carlson, however, evinced remarkable restraint in his decision, and in so doing showed us how to respect the judicial system even when a party does not. Allowing the plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis – the sole request that was granted – the judge proceeded to dismiss the lawsuit as in violation of multiple federal doctrines: Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, collateral estoppel, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Younger (abstention) doctrine, principles of governmental immunity, and – last but not least – improper venue. The decision shows careful and considerate analysis.

Although this blog normally focuses on construction-related issues, Judge Carlson should be recognized for upholding judicial standards and the rule of law even for those who do not appear to merit that consideration.