Sometimes litigants literally shoot for the stars in the suits they file. Sylvio Langevin, a Quebec man, brought the mother of all frivolous lawsuits, when in early 2012 he filed suit in the Canadian courts seeking ownership of the Earth, the other planets in the solar system and at least four moons (orbiting Jupiter). In the briefest of nods towards humility, Mr. Langevin did acknowledge that nobody on Earth could grant his claims of cosmic ownership, and that if there were a respondent, it would be God.
Mr. Langevin has brought more than 45 cases in Canada’s courts, including four all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court since 2001. One of them was a $1 Billion (Canadian) suit raising claims for damages against the Canadian government. That suit earned him a three-year ban from filing suits because of the judicial expenses and resources his filings have incurred.
After this most recent suit claiming ownership of the solar system, Judge Alain Michaud labelled Langevin a quarrelsome litigant, and prohibited him from filing any more lawsuits without permission from a judge.
Strangely, there seems to be some precedent for Langevin’s suit. In 2010, a Spanish woman had an act of ownership of the Sun drafted, notarized and filed, leading her to claim she owned the Sun. Angeles Duran registered her claim after realizing that an international agreement prohibited nations from asserting any claims to any celestial body, but which said nothing about individuals. Her move was motivated after she learned of an American man who asserted ownership claims in 2009 over the moon and several planets.
Sadly for Mr. Langevin, his claims of ownership may be too little too late.