Law School Case Brief
United States ex rel. Mayo v. Satan & His Staff - 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D. Pa. 1971)
It appears to meet the requirements of Fed.R. of Civ.P. 23 that the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, there are questions of law and fact common to the class, and the claims of the representative party is typical of the claims of the class.
Plaintiff, alleging jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 241, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, sought leave to file a complaint for violation of his civil rights in forma pauperis. He alleged that defendant Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats against the will of plaintiff, and that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and caused plaintiff's downfall. Plaintiff alleges that by reason of these acts Satan has deprived him of his constitutional rights.
Did the plaintiff's civil rights complaint state a valid claim and jurisdictional basis to maintain an action against defendant Satan?
Stating its reservations regarding whether defendant Satan's alleged interferences with plaintiff's life stated a claim for which relief could be granted and questioning whether the court could obtain jurisdiction over defendant chief fallen angel, the United States District Court denied plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court explained that the complaint failed to allege facts, at least as to defendant Satan's residence within the district, which would support jurisdiction. The Court noted an unofficial report of a prior appearance by defendant in a United States court as a party plaintiff, but questioned whether this was enough to establish jurisdiction by estoppel. Additionally, if it allowed the present action, the Court stated that it would then face the issue of whether it would be better maintained as a class action. The Court found the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 appeared to be met, but questioned whether plaintiff was an appropriate representative of the putative class. Finally, the Court noted that the complaint lacked instructions for service of process, leaving the Court no choice but to refuse plaintiff's prayer for relief.
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