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Why A Prisoner Launched A $5m Lawsuit Against Himself

AI image of a judge listening to a ridiculous lawsuit

The skill of "thinking outside the box" is deemed to be important in the world of business.

It refers to scenarios where a different thought process can lead to great success.

And no-one can accuse Robert Lee Brock of lacking a creative thought process when he made legal history in 1995.

Brock was serving a prison sentence for breaking and entering and grand larceny in Virginia.

But he made history by becoming the first person in U.S ever to sue themselves.

He filed a lawsuit against himself for a staggering $5 million.

He claimed his crimes meant he had violated his own civil rights and religious beliefs, leading to his incarceration.

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His suit argued that he had consumed alcohol, which had led him to commit the crimes.

Brock said because he was under the influence, he was unable to resist committing the crimes, which led to him violating his own rights.

The Twist

Brock's lawsuit was already fairly "out there" in terms of his legal arguments.

But then he took it up a level.

Because he was in prison, he had no income, and no way of paying himself the $5 million he was claiming if he "won" the case.

So he said, in fact, the money should be paid by the state due to the fact he was in prison.

What Happened?

The Judge was James Spencer of the U.S District - clearly a man who doesn't appreciate having his time wasted.

Of course, Brock's case was deemed to be frivolous and thrown out, but at least the judge gave Brock some faint praise.

He is quoted as saying:

"Plaintiff has presented an innovative approach to civil rights litigation. However, his claim and especially the relief sought are totally ludicrous."

He went on to say the court could not sanction or entertain a case where an individual sought to sue himself, as it defied logical legal practice and principles.

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