Martians Can’t Sue

martianEugene Volokh brings to our attention, rather belatedly, the case of Joly v. Pelletier, in which Rene Joly brought a suit some ten years ago alleging that Pelletier and others had conspired to suppress evidence that he was a Martian.  The judge dismissed the case on two grounds:

1. Neither pleading discloses a cause of action. While conspiracy to do harm to someone is the basis of many actions in this Court there is a fundamental flaw in the position of Mr. Joly. Rule 1.03 defines plaintiff as “a person who commences an action”. The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines person as “an individual human being”. Section 29 of the Interpretation Act provides that a person includes a corporation. It follows that if the plaintiff is not a person in that he is neither a human being nor a corporation, he cannot be a plaintiff as contemplated by the Rules of Civil Procedure. The entire basis of Mr. Joly’s actions is that he is a martian, not a human being. There is certainly no suggestion that he is a corporation. I conclude therefore, that Mr. Joly, on his pleading as drafted, has no status before the Court.

2…. I am satisfied that the claims are frivolous and vexatious and constitute an abuse of the process of this Court…. [W]ith all respect to Mr. Joly and his perception of reality, these actions are patently ridiculous and should not be allowed to continue as they utilize scarce public resources not to mention the time and money of the numerous defendants who have been forced to defend these actions.

Volokh finds Reason 1 more blogworthy.   Glenn Reynolds and I concur.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Law and the Courts, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Martians might have no standing before the court, but they can attack. I’ve seen the movie and the results are horrible. We must find a way to resolve this lest they (the martians) be provoked into violent actions against us. Obama must use his skills as a communicator to settle this issue. Intergalactic peace is essential.

  2. JKB says:

    Well if Martians have no status to pursue their grievances in court then it follows that they have no recourse other than to attack.

    The implications are far worse. If the individual is a Martian and a Martian is not a person then there is nothing, except animal cruelty laws, to prevent him from being forced into servitude. Perhaps making cartoons or being Bill Bixby’s uncle?

  3. Dantheman says:

    “Martians might have no standing before the court, but they can attack. I’ve seen the movie and the results are horrible.”

    Also, Mars Needs Women. I’ve seen the movie, and the results are somewhat less horrible, though remarkably silly.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Are there any laws on the books which would prevent a martian from being naturalized as a U.S. Citizen? I think the ACLU should be notified. I am sure some alien rights are being violated. I feel anything that would prevent interplanetary conflict would be better than the alternative. Since Martians are able to conceal their civilization from observation even after probes have landed there. Their stealth makes our look absolutely primative.

  5. Franklin says:

    Perfect picture – he’s got that look like, “what do you mean I have no standing before the court?”