Laws and Lawyers

When Suing Yourself, Be Prepared to Lose


When Robert Lee Brock sued himself, he was guaranteed to win — and lose — the lawsuit.

Convicted of breaking and entering and grand larceny, Brock was serving as an inmate at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia in 1995, serving a 23-year sentence. With little else to occupy his time, Brock decided to sue himself for $5 million for a civil rights violation.

According to his complaint, “I partook of alcoholic beverages in 1993, July 1st, as a result I caused myself to violate my religious beliefs. This was done by my going out and getting arrested.” He claimed that he forced this violation of his civil rights upon himself, resulting in $5 million in damages.

Eager to settle the matter and put the whole nasty business behind him, Brock offered a solution. “I want to pay myself 5 million dollars,” Brock stated, “but ask the state to pay it on my behalf since I can’t work and am a ward of the state.”

Eastern Virginia Federal District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith dismissed the case, stating, “Plaintiff has presented an innovative approach to civil rights litigation. However, his claim and especially the relief sought are totally ludicrous.”


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