Ever wonder how much a 2002 Saturn is worth? On the private market, Kelley Blue Book values the car at $2,800 when moderately equipped. Well, in the eyes of Ohio woman, Michelle Mathis, that price is a little low – about $500 billion low.
According to a report from the Huffington Post, Mathis has sued the Columbus (OH) Department of Public Safety’s Impound Unit when her car was allegedly improperly impounded. In January, Mathis was hospitalized for an extended period of time after a motor vehicle accident. While in the hospital, her car was towed. After being discharged from the hospital, she went to the Impound Unit to reclaim her vehicle. When officials allegedly denied her request for information, Mathis came to believe that the Impound Unit disposed of her car because they didn’t like her. In response, she filed suit against the Impound Unit in an Ohio federal court. In the suit, she brought claims under the Fourth Amendment for improper search and seizure; under the Fourteenth Amendment for violation of the Equal Protection Clause; and under the Ninth Amendment for violation of her inalienable rights. Mathis has demanded $500 billion in compensatory damages and a mere $20 billion in punitives. Recently, Federal Magistrate Elizabeth Preston Deavers recommended Mathis’ federal causes of action be dismissed.
So how did Mathis come up with such an outrageous number for the alleged loss of her car? According to the magistrate’s report, Mathis alleges that musicians Jay-Z and P. Diddy were involved in the seizure of her vehicle. In recommending that the case be dismissed, the magistrate obviously did not realize that 2002 Saturns are a hot commodity among famous rappers these days. Even so, it seems like if she wanted to go after that much money, she would at least sue the parties with the deeper pockets, not just a governmental entity.
We here at Abnormal Use are hesitant to call any lawsuit “frivolous” without knowing all the facts. However, this suit was likely doomed from the start with such a bold demand. If plaintiff would have stuck with a conversion claim and made a reasonable demand this claim likely would remain on the docket and out of the press. But no, that would have been too easy.