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Remember Hubert Blackman?

The pro se litigant got both more (a sex act of some sort) and less (not the full hour of dancing) that he allegedly bargained for from a Las Vegas escort service, and sued it in New York for $1.8 million. [Overlawyered]

Because Blackman proceeded in forma pauperis, the district court had the authority to dismiss the suit sua sponte, and Judge Preska did so on grounds of lack of jurisdiction and venue. Blackman has appealed, but has no IFP status for the appeal, so the appeal will be dismissed without his filing fee. If Blackman had paid his filing fee, however, and managed filing service, he could have generated considerable legal expense from his suit, who would have needed to hire a New York attorney to deal with it. The Newark Star-Ledger documents (via Overlawyered) one such pro se litigant, who has successfully used the court system to avoid paying rent for years, at considerable expense to his middle-class landlords.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.