It's nice to have a hobby

In Friedrich Lu's case, that hobby is suing local institutions. Over and over again.

Lu, a homeless man, has been filing federal lawsuits by himself, sometimes in hand-written complaints, since at least 1995 against, among others, the Boston Public Library, MIT, Harvard, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston College, Suffolk County, the US Attorney's office in Boston, Boston Municipal Court and the Supreme Judicial Court.

Because he files pro se, it costs him relatively little. His opponents, however, have to assign lawyers to write briefs and motions and argue the cases in court.

To date, Lu has yet to win. In 2012, he did savor victory when a federal jury agreed a Boston College police officer had violated his rights in 2009 by frisking him during a search for an assault-and-battery suspect and awarded him damages - of one dollar. But the officer appealed and, just last week, the US Court of Appeals for the First District overturned the jury award, saying the officer had "qualified immunity" against a suit because he was properly conducting his job during an investigation into a crime.

Lu's latest target is the Boston Public Library, where guards apparently stopped him from bringing a rain-soaked grocery cart into the library in 2012. He filed one federal lawsuit over this alleged violation of his constitutional rights and, when things did not appear to go his way, a state lawsuit. Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court declined to get state courts involved in the matter because he's filed the same complaint in federal court.

Possibly in response, the next day Lu filed a new federal lawsuit against the city, alleging massive fraud by Mayor Menino and now Mayor Walsh to cover up what Lu says is the fact the BPL is not actually a city agency and should not be represented by city lawyers - a claim a federal court had already rejected. For good measure, Lu also named a long list of other city agencies as defendants, from the School Committee to the Boston Public Health Commission.

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    Comments

    I think I meet this guy...

    By on

    If he is the person I meet, he came to where I work, and was talking up a storm, he asked how he could sign up to be a member and explained that he donates all his money he gets from disability. Is there a pic of him anywhere?

    Umm visit the

    By on

    Library, he's there every day !

    He is pushing around a

    By on

    He is pushing around a supermarket shopping cart , wouldn't that be possession of stolen property? Don't think he could claim finder's keepers , losers weepers .

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    Not all that frivolous

    This guy would like to go to the library without leaving some or all of his worldly possessions outside to be stolen. I would say this lawsuit was well worth a try.

    Sorry, there's no

    By on

    Sorry, there's no constitutional right to drag obnoxiously large loads of stuff into a public library. His personal issues regarding a lack of storage space don't trump the safety and convenience of other library users.

    Just what the library budget needs

    By on

    Isn't there some way to stop insane litigators from clogging up the courts like this? Like, after your first five lawsuits have been declared frivolous wastes of time the cost of filing additional ones goes up?

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    What a waste

    I'm sure the officer (or his Union, etc) fought it to keep it off his record instead of just paying the dollar. But having been involved with the legal system it's depressing how long things take and how much it costs. People like this only slow down the works and increase the costs for everyone with a legitimate case.

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    This kind of crap is why we

    By on

    This kind of crap is why we need tort reform. People that bring multiple frivolous lawsuits should face consequences.

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    Damn pro se litigants

    By on

    Eliminate pro se civil litigation. There are hundreds of lawyers in the Commonwealth. If you can't find a lawyer to take your case, you don't deserve to be in court.

    Or at least limit pro se litigation to the mundane - small claims, housing.

    Haha

    Good satire. For a second there I thought you were serious. Imagine if we forced people to hire lawyers, at their own expense, to have any access to potential legal redress of wrongs? Lawyers would love that, as would the rich and powerful. It would be pretty loathsome as a matter of principle though.

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    Yes exactly we need tort

    By on

    Yes exactly we need tort reform because of this dude who has single handedly stymied justice and thrown our courts into a state of irreparable chaos never won a single case.

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    I think you don't understand

    By on

    I think you don't understand that HE HAS COST PEOPLE TONS OF MONEY FIGHTING HIS FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS. That is tantamount to grand theft!

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    hahaha i just imaged you

    hahaha i just imaged you saying that shit out loud and gesturing wildly and laughed my ass off

    i sincerely hope you sound as nerdy & weird irl as you do in my head

    Meh.

    The pittance that this sort of case costs (relative to the overall costs of running the justice system) is a very small price to pay for a system that gives everyone access to the law.

    That's well and good, until

    By on

    That's well and good, until you're the defendant in a frivolous suit and get stuck paying the legal fees.

    Minutes?

    Yes, but are the minutes of these cases readily available in a stenographically acceptable manner, that's the real question.

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    Available through PACER

    By on

    For the cases filed after 2000. 10 cents a page, though, which adds up, although after this morning, a number of the documents will be downloadable for free if you have a RECAP browser plug-in.

    Mr. Lu

    By on

    is just one more glaring example of our miserable, failed mental health system. His case is amusing if costly, but what about all the mass shootings and stabbings? Not so funny.

    At any rate Mr. Lu should receive some kind of lifetime achievement award from some lawyer's group.

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    An award of one dollar?

    What an insult. I have never been frisked on the street by a cop, and I bet the judge never has either. Good for Mr. Lu. He's merely exercising his rights, just like any institution, corporation, or rich person would-and does-with nary a notice.

    Yes, thanks mr Lu for wasting

    By on

    Yes, thanks mr Lu for wasting so many peoples time and effort in court for your pointless lawsuits. What a stand up citizen

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    ah, whoops.

    ah, whoops.

    thats p cool that the cop is like yeah i decided to exercise profiling and assumed that this dude was a criminal

    Interesting question, but probably not

    By on

    The BC incident was Feb. 19, 2009. In June, WBUR profiled Horgan as a member of the about-to-be-disbanded BPD mounted unit. This Globe article about the bullpen incident said he'd been a cop for 27 years and had worked a Fenway detail for 20, which probably means, no, not the same guy, since only BPD officers would be eligible for Fenway details.