“Two-Undecillion-Dollar Demand Spells Trouble for Au Bon Pain”

Of course this near-psychotic level lawsuit (and I’m throwing in the word “near” only to pre-defend myself from what could be a defamation lawsuit) comes from Lowering the Bar and it certainly does − lower the bar, that is, although it raises the bar considerably when it comes to a monetary demand.

In fact, if we keep in our minds the image of bars being raised and lowered, this demand would be up there around Saturn. Or in another galaxy, far far away.

The lawsuit seems to be against Au Bon Pain, although there are a whole bunch of other potential victims-− no, no, didn’t mean that, meant “defendants,” so sorry, sorry. But on the other hand, “seems to be” would seem to be an accurately suggestive phrase. Here’s how this little tale (sort of like the tail on Au Bon Pain’s croissants, you know, that crunchy little point you eat first. You don’t? Oh, well…) begins:

Looks like we have a new record for Largest Known Demand:

Anton Purisima v. Au Bon Pain Store, Carepoint Health, Hoboken University Medical Center, Kmart Store 7749, St. Luke’s Emergency Dept., New York City Transit Authority, City of New York, NYC MTA, LaGuardia Airport Administration, Amy Caggiula, Does 1-1000, Case No. 1:14 CV 2755 (S.D.N.Y. filed 4/11/2014).

Civil rights violations, personal injury, discrimination on national origin, retaliation, harassment, fraud, attempted murder, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to defraud. $2,000 decillion ($2,000,000,000,

Pro Se

Although, surprisingly, the complaint appears to be frivolous, Mr. Purisima does seem to have gotten his math right, although he could have simplified the demand a little. According to this very helpful big-number page, a “decillion” in American usage means a 1 followed by 33 zeroes. “$2,000 decillion” therefore could of course be written as a 2 followed by 36 zeroes, which is in fact what Anton has in parentheses. So good work there. [My bolding]

Kevin Underhill actually works out what all these zeros get to be called. I didn’t bother. In fact, I don’t even know what the lawsuit is about, except that it’s goofy (oops, I mean “near-goofy,” or maybe I should stick “alleged” in there somewhere) and it ends with that mysterious Latin term “Pro Se.” I do understand “Pro Se.”

What Pro Se means is: this guy couldn’t find a lawyer who’d consent to sign off on this thing so he, Anton Purisima, wrote it, calculated it and filed it all by himself. “Pro se” means “for himself.” Or “herself,” but I think Anton is a guy, so…

And it seems that the illustrious Mr. Underhill himself can’t figure out what the lawsuit is about, although he gives it an Underhillian (that’s the highest praise I can offer) try:

All of them [other zillion-buck demands] have now been eclipsed by Anton, of course, who I’ve just noticed is also seeking punitive damages, I guess in case an undecillion-dollar judgment is not enough to send a message to the various defendants. Exactly what each of them did is not entirely clear, although the plaintiff claims a dog bit him on the middle finger and that he’s routinely overcharged for coffee at LaGuardia Airport, among other things. (Also, some Chinese people took his picture without permission.) [My bolding]

The complaint does allege that the defendants’ acts caused damages that “cannot be repaired by money” and are “therefore priceless.” Granted, no amount of money can truly compensate a plaintiff for what he or she has lost, but two octillion gigadollars would be a pretty good start.

All this reminds me of our marvelously wacky Latin teacher at New Rochelle High School. His name was Mr. Brockway and we loved him dearly because he was enthusiastic in his wackiness. Here’s a didactic cheer he taught us:

A ab de!

cum ex e!

sine pro prae!

Take the ablatae!

You know, everyone really should study Latin. Not only will you learn groovy chants like that, but you’ll know how to translate “Pro se” when you run into it − I hope not when you’ve been similarly sued, as have Au Bon Pain and Amy Caggiula, whoever she might be, poor dear.

P.S. This story comes under the heading, “Anybody can sue anybody for anything, at any time.”

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