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Trials & Litigation

Homeless Man Is a Frequent Plaintiff, Collecting Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Posted Aug 3, 2011 10:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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It can be costly to arrest Richard Kreimer, or to throw him out of your business.

Richard Kreimer is homeless, but not exactly penniless, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. Over the years he has filed nearly 20 lawsuits alleging violation of his First Amendment or civil rights, bringing “a good bit of media coverage and hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements,” the story says.

Kreimer may be most famous for his successful suit against the library in Morristown, N.J., for barring him from the premises, which garnered him an $80,000 settlement in 1991. He had claimed he was unlawfully ousted for his hygiene and odd behavior. In another suit against Morristown claiming police harassment, he won a $150,000 settlement.

Other defendants have included a pharmacy, a coffeehouse, a Chinese restaurant, and other municipalities, the story says. His most recent suit accuses New Jersey transit police of tossing him from a train station based on an unconstitutional anti-loitering law.

The Star-Ledger spoke with Bruce Rosen, who represented Kreimer in the Morristown Library case. Kreimer is “making a life out of these lawsuits,” Rosen said. “It’s become kind of like a sting operation, where he’s waiting for someone to violate his rights. ...This is a way for him to make money.”

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