Pugsley Addams is in the hot seat in Missoula. So are Angela Lansbury, Erik Estrada and the entire Munster clan. They're the targets of a federal lawsuit filed May 29 with the U.S. District Court in Missoula by Jonathan Lee Riches, dubbed the most litigious man in the world.
Riches has filed nearly 2,000 lawsuits from the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., where he's incarcerated for identity theft and wire fraud. His most outlandish suit to date, in spring 2006, listed 57 pages of defendants. The more noteworthy included Vanna White, Bono and the Magna Carta.
In the suit currently before Judge Donald Molloy—Riches v. The Twilight Zone, et al—Riches accuses a lineup of classic television personalities of brainwashing and mind control.
"These defendants created me, and as a kid growing up in front of my t.v. spending hr's upon hr's [sic] watching the defendants tricked my mind into believing I live a fantasy life," reads Riches' injunction.
The suit will likely follow Riches' other fanciful challenges and be dismissed by the court. Molloy declined to comment in general on vexatious litigation, legal jargon for frivolous lawsuits. Molloy is also set to preside over a second Riches case filed in Helena June 1.
This is the first time Riches' name has graced the Missoula court, but Judge Richard Cebull has seen several of Riches' complaints pass through other state courtrooms. He says none compare to the "Twilight-Zone" suit.
"Holy smokes," Cebull says, reading Riches' complaint. "This is terrific...This is not very common. In fact, I have to say I don't think I've ever seen anything like it."
Riches claims in a recent suit he developed arthritis as a result of "suing the world," and he detests the string of nicknames he's won, such as "the Patrick Ewing of Suing." This spring the Guinness Book of Records attempted to name Riches the "most litigious man" in the world. Appropriately, Riches filed an injunction to halt the honor.