Tuesday, May 18, 1999
Man claiming to be Martian too convincing for own good
TORONTO - A litigious man claiming to be a Martian may have presented his case too well. Judge Gloria Epstein dismissed his lawsuits yesterday in part because, being neither a human being nor a corporation, he has no standing in Ontario court.
Rene Joly, 33, was suing such targets as Shoppers Drug Mart, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons, and Art Eggleton, the Defence Minister, all of whom he connected to a plot to conceal his Martian origins.
He told the court he had launched similar suits against the CIA and the president of the United States.
"He presented himself as polite, articulate, intelligent, and appeared to understand completely the issues before the court and the consequences should I grant the relief sought," wrote Judge Epstein in her brief judgment.
Thus, there was no reason "other than the uniqueness of the pleadings in question" to adjourn for a hearing into Mr. Joly's competence.
That said, Judge Epstein ruled in favour of defence lawyers who called Mr. Joly's claims "frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of the process of the court."
As well, she ruled that Mr. Joly had not even remotely properly pleaded a tort of conspiracy, and had identified no damages. But the crux seemed to be his claim to be an alien.
Quoting the Rules of Civil Procedure (a plaintiff is "a person who commences an action"), the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (a person is "an individual human being"), and the Interpretation Act (a person includes a corporation), Judge Epstein deduced Mr. Joly was neither fish nor fowl.
The defendants are entitled to their costs, she further ruled, "but it would seem to be that the defence has likely incurred little if any costs."