Many sources have reported recently on the growing number of lawsuits against Google, suits that allege everything from copyright violations to alleged fixing of Page Rank results. This week, the New York Times reported that crazy people have jumped on the bandwagon, which puts the story in my jurisdiction. Two recent complaints added even more diversity to the anti-Google claims.
In a complaint filed in Pennsylvania federal court last week, Dylan Jayne accuses Google of stealing his social security number. Apparently, if you turn Mr. Jayne’s SSN upside down, "it is a scrambled code that does spell the name Google." (He didn’t describe the nature of the code, so don’t bother trying to turn "Google" upside down to get the guy’s SSN. He is way ahead of you.) Predictably, this is only the latest in a series of outrages against Mr. Jayne by the founders of Google, various correctional officers, the city of Milford, Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania itself. Google is the only defendant, though; it’s not clear yet how it influenced these other entities to act but I’m sure those details will come to light eventually. The Commonwealth may have been especially compromised by Google, since Jayne warns that it "and other states of the same standards . . . may be subject to restructuring by the United States Government."
Jayne asks for a mere five billion dollars out of the vast GoogleHoard. Since victory is assured, he provides helpful payment instructions, directing Google to pay in two installments, first a check for $250,000 and then a second check for "the amount that remains." This is a signal that Mr. Jayne may have a slight cash-flow problem, as is the in forma pauperis request he filed along with the complaint in which he lists his assets as "one Burton Fish Snow Board value $200.00."
In the second lawsuit, Denis Maringo sued Google in the Southern District of Texas on behalf of the Gogo tribe of Tanzania, for reasons that are probably obvious. For similarly obvious reasons, he also named Yahoo! as a defendant, acting on behalf of the Yao tribe. And for even more obvious reasons, Denis Maringo was Plaintiff No. 3, with standing to sue as a representative of both tribes because great-grandma was a Gogo and great-great-grandma was a Yao. Maringo asks for $10,000 for each member of each tribe for the last three generations, which probably adds up to a lot.
I guess I should say that he "asked" for that relief, because his case lasted less than one week and has already been dismissed. Moving swiftly, Judge Nancy Atlas dismissed Maringo’s case on September 25th on multiple grounds: (1) Maringo is not an attorney and so cannot represent others, tribal affiliation notwithstanding; (2) the name-stealing claims are "patently meretricious" — although Judge Atlas doesn’t say how she knows this for sure — and most if not all of the allegations are "delusional"; and (3) "this is not the first frivolous complaint filed by Maringo, who is well known in this district." She cites seven others filed since last year, when Maringo (currently awaiting deportation) became a guest of the federal government.
The Gogo and Yao tribes are real, but there is no way to confirm that Maringo is actually a member of either one. I did learn that the explorer Henry Stanley was not a fan of the Gogo, saying:
No natives know so well [as the Gogo] how to aggrieve and be unpleasant to travelers. One would think there was a school somewhere in Ugogo to teach low cunning and vicious malice to the chiefs, who are masters in foxy-craft.
Henry Morton Stanley, In Darkest Africa, p. 405 (1890). But then you could probably replace "Ugogo" with "England" and have a pretty good idea of how the natives felt, so that’s how much that is worth.
Anyway, based on Maringo’s own personal record of foxy-craft, Judge Atlas dismissed his complaint, fined him $500 and barred him from filing further complaints until he pays that fine.
UPDATE: Jayne’s case against Google has also been dismissed, having lasted two additional days.
Link: New York Times