Trials & Litigation

Suit seeks $2 undecillion for dog bite; hiring a galaxy of Ted Olsons would be cheaper than losing

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File photo of Theodore Olson
by Marc Mauldin

A pro se plaintiff from New York has filed a suit seeking $2 undecillion—along with punitive damages—for an alleged bite by a rabies-infected dog on a city bus.

The handwritten complaint by Anton Purisima, 62, names a range of defendants, including the New York City Transportation Authority, Au Bon Pain, Kmart and LaGuardia Airport (which overcharges for coffee, according to the suit). The Gothamist has a story, citing a report by Lowering the Bar. The Daily Beast, the New York Post and the Daily Mail Online also have stories.

An undecillion is a “2” followed by 36 zeroes, the stories report. Purisima termed the amount “$2,000 decillion,” which is another way of saying $2 undecillion, and gets the number of zeroes correct when he puts the numeral in parentheses.

Purisima has previously sued the People’s Republic of China, several banks and the commissioner of Social Security. An address listed for Purisima in one of his previous suits is a general-delivery postal address used by many homeless people at Penn Station.

The What If blog says the damages demand is greater than the “estimated economic value of all goods and services produced by humanity since we first evolved.” And if the defendants hired a galaxy of high-priced lawyers, the What If blog says, the legal bill would still be less than the potential damages.

What If came to that conclusion this way: Say the defendants hired Ted Olson for $1,800 an hour (his reported fee in a bankruptcy case). “Suppose there are 40 billion habitable planets in our galaxy, and every one of them hosts an Earth-sized population of 7 billion Ted Olsons,” the blog says. “If [defendant] Au Bon Pain hired every Ted Olson in the galaxy to defend them in this case, and had them all work 80-hour weeks, 52 weeks a year, for a thousand generations … it would still cost them less than if they lost.”

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