Tyrone Hurt is well known down at the federal courthouse. Over the years, Hurt has filed an “extraordinary” number of complaints against people, institutions, and objects—including the Declaration of Independence and Black’s Law Dictionary. Courts have routinely granted Hurt pauper status, allowing him to file away at his pleasure without paying fees. His beef with Black’s Law Dictionary—“the definitive legal resource for lawyers, law students, and laypeople alike,” according to the book’s Web site—was struck down.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said today enough is enough and permanently revoked Hurt’s pauper status—ordering that he pay up before filing any more civil appeals. The decision could portend the demise of Hurt’s “penchant for litigation as a form of costless entertainment,” Circuit Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson, A. Raymond Randolph, and Janice Rogers Brown said in an unanimous ruling. The appeals court tossed 44 pending cases.
Hurt routinely demanded trillions of dollars in damages, the appeals court said in assessing whether to revoke pauper status. “Hurt has brought numerous meritless appeals—suits targeting institutions, people, and inanimate objects—while asking for sums of money dwarfing the size of the Federal Government’s annual budget,” the appeals court wrote.
District court judges—the Federal Circuit has weighed in, too—have dismissed each suit as frivolous. When Hurt sued the Declaration of Independence last year, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan planned to proceed with an injunction against Hurt. None was ever filed. “Not surprisingly,” the appellate judges said, Hurt disagreed with these dismissals and has filed more than seventy appeals with this court since 2006.
And then here’s the second-to-last sentence in the D.C. Circuit’s six-page opinion: “If Hurt wishes to continue wasting this court’s time by appealing dismissals of his absurd and frivolous claims, he should have to do it on his own dime.” The docketing fee is $455.