“White Line Fevers From Mars”: Norman v. Reagan (1982)

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In this opinion from 1982, a judge dismissed Kent © Norman's complaint against Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States.  (It wasn't clear whether he claimed a copyright in "Kent" or had changed his middle name to ©.) While the court dismissed the claim for failure to prosecute, it also provided a short summary of the allegations.

Norman sued Reagan alleging that the defendant had deprived him of the right to vote, "neglected" him, acted with "redundance and malicious conduct" toward him, and caused his "civil death without legislation."  "There are also," the court noted, "a number of parking tickets in the file."  Norman apparently wanted a federal jury trial to resolve his parking fines.

Norman also demanded that the Interstate Commerce Commission investigate an entity known as  "White Line Fevers From Mars."  According to the court, this company "is not, despite the name, of genuine extraterrestrial origin, but is apparently a fruit company which shipped marijuana and cocaine in 'fruit boxes' for Mother's Day."  Norman seemed to be claiming that he had worked for the company and was owed benefits as a result of some unidentified incident.

"There are also certain other claims," the court continued, "which the court is at a loss to characterize, and can only describe":

There is included in the file a process receipt which bears the "Received” stamp of the Supreme Court of the United States. On this form are the notations, apparently written by the plaintiff, "Taxes due" and "D.C. Circuit was green" as well as "Rule 8 … Why did you return my appeal form?  Why isn't the '1840' W. 7th mailbox still next to the 1830 one?" and "Something suspicious about that mailbox."

The U.S. Supreme Court must have declined to consider the question of what, exactly, was up with that mailbox.

Finally, the court said, plaintiff also made the following claim:

The birds today
Are singing loudly,
The day is fresh
With the sounds
Upon the wind
The crickets.
The blackbirds
The woodpeckers
Beauty in every
Spark of life
Just So their sounds
Are appreciated
Their sounds are beauty
The ants are silent
But always searching
The birds noise a song
and the fade of the automobile tires
A shadow from a passing monarch butterfly
Breathless in Colorado.
Kent © Norman 1981

"It is possible, of course," the court wrote, "that this is not intended as a claim at all, but as a literary artifact."  The court decided to construe it as an attempted claim against the animals mentioned, although that was likely because the court was dismissing anyway for lack of prosecution.  Probably for that reason, there was no appeal, which must have greatly disappointed the Ninth Circuit.

Link: Norman v. Reagan, 95 F.R.D. 476 (D. Or. 1982).