In his lawsuit, Gerald Mayo alleged that “Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff’s downfall. Plaintiff alleges that by reason of these acts Satan has deprived him of his constitutional rights.”

Plaintiff, alleging jurisdiction under various federal statutes prayed for leave to file a complaint for violation of his civil rights in forma pauperis (waiving filing fees as that of a pauper). Not only does Mayo want to file this suit, he doesn’t want to pay for it.

The Western District of Pennsylvania Court, lead by District Judge Webber, denied plaintiff’s prayer on numerous grounds:

1) There were serious doubts that the complaint revealed a cause of action upon which relief could be granted by the court.

2) The court questioned whether plaintiff may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district, stating: “The complaint contains no allegation of residence in this district. While the official reports disclose no case where this defendant has appeared as defendant there is an unofficial account of a trial in New Hampshire where this defendant filed an action of mortgage foreclosure as plaintiff. The defendant in that action was represented by the preeminent advocate of that day, and raised the defense that the plaintiff was a foreign prince with no standing to sue in an American Court.” Note the nod to The Devil and Daniel Webster.

3) While this suit is appropriate for class action status, there are numerous mechanical problems.

4) The court noted that the plaintiff has failed to include with his complaint the required form of instructions for the United States Marshal for directions as to service of process.

U. S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (W.D. Pa. 1971).