When stupidity and hate collide.

I picked this up from my friend Fr. Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness:

How’s this for stupid lawsuit of the year? Johannes Christian Sundermann, a lawyer from Unna in North Rhine Westphalia, representing a man from Dortmund, has filed a legal complaint against the pope for not wearing a seat belt on several occasions “for more than one hour at a time” during his visit to Freiburg at the end of September.

Apparently the lawyer (a member of the socialist Left party) took the case on after several other lawyers refused to do so. If he is doing the case pro bono, I hope it takes up a lot of his time. If he is not, then “man from Dortmund” may learn a salutary lesson.

The report in The Local (Germany’s News in English) tells us that “both Sundermann and his client are no longer members of the Catholic Church.” No surprise there, then. (Though of course they are still members of the Catholic Church whether they like it or not.)

Wow.  Just wow.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Titus says:

    That’s quite the odd lawsuit even apart from the merits. Is this some sort of European version of qui tam? How does a private citizen file suit over a third party’s non-injury-causing traffic violation?

  2. APX says:

    I didn’t think you could sue over someone not wearing a seatbelt. This is a wow on several levels. Thankfully it’s not my court system being tied up with this nonsense.

  3. BV says:

    Double Wow… that would be a Wowow!

  4. pseudomodo says:

    Two words…

    Diplomatic Immunity

  5. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I’m sure they only have the Holy Father’s safety in mind with this and intend to teach him a lesson, the scofflaw.

    I am amazed at what is going on “nowadays,” oh, I’m sounding more and more like my grandmother.

    I hope this goes nowhere and merely provides both entertainment value and yet another sign of the end times. Watch and pray.

  6. Incaelo says:

    Two men with too much time on their hands, that’s all.
    I suppose it’s German law that any person in a driving vehicle must wear a seat belt. Whoever does not is liable to get fined.
    I wouldn’t balme the judge getting this case fining these guys for wasting the court’s time, though.

  7. pseudomodo says:

    I agree with Fr. Finigan. Mr. Sundermann is still a member of the Catholic Church – for now.

    The question is, is he still a member of the bar in Unna in North Rhine Westphalia – for now?

  8. disco says:

    Obviously Pope Benedict’s failure to wear a seatbelt is a vestige of residual clerical misogyny that just can’t be tolerated. Please direct me to the nearest puppet mass which may be offered for the intention of a favorable resolution of this lawsuit.

  9. gambletrainman says:

    Well, I see we Americans aren’t the only ones trying to protect us from ourselves.

  10. APX says:

    Having been held into my car numerous times by my seatbelt, and once not when it turned out to be defective, I can appreciate the concern for the safety of people not wearing seatbelts. What I can’t understand is why anyone would clog up the court system with such frivilous lawsuits.

  11. I do not know about Germany but here in NY it is perfectly legal to drive a vehicle without a seat belt if the vehicle was never equipped with one (usually pre 1960s). Neither do adults in the backseat have to wear one. That is a fact. I even own one of those vehicules- sort of nice not worrying about whether you have your seatbelt on or not.

    Personally I doubt the “popemobile” (which meets Vatican City’s traffic regulations and probably Italian) was ever equipped with a originally seatbelt either. If that is the case depending upon Germany’s laws (if they require a vehicle to be retrofitted) it may not violate the law. Most states/ countries do grandfather older vehicles when it comes to certain equipment (ie mirrors, signals, etc) but not sure about newer vehicles which are licensed/ registered in another country.

    Thats is aside from the spitefulness in even attempting to sue him.

  12. As far as saftey is concerned eatbelts are usually safer if worn correctly than not, however, there are certain situations where they can kill. If the car goes underwater (once the water reaches the electronics all sorts of things stop working correctly, windows, etc), catches on fire, are defective (they can strangle, decapitate, etc) the person can not get out before they are hit by a larger vehicule (ie train, semi, etc) or others. Most accidents do not involve those situations so usually seat belts are safer. I have had a family member who lived because years ago they didn’t have a seatbelt on. Rare but it does happen. Life is full of calculated risks.

    There are certain tools people can buy (and locate conspiciously in case they are unconscious and someone has to drag them out) which can cut through a seat belt- they are designed to be very difficult to cut through.

    By the way if someone ever has get get out of a car in an emergency never ever try to go through the windshield- its not as easy as they make it look in the movies. Tried once in a junkyard (owner didn’t care and I was looking for parts. Couldn’t even make a decent hole with a crow bar and a lot of work. There is a layer of plastic sandwiched between the layers of glass. The side and sometimes back glass are much easier and there are also special tools that will make it easy even if there is water pressure on the outside.

    Besides seatbelts were mandated for the safety of the user and not anyone else. I seriously doubt this man is suing the Holy Pontiff because he is concern for his safety. Besides it may be a possibility that the Holy Father has been ordered by doctors to not wear one due to a heart condition, etc. A medical exemption is also grounds for not wearing a seat belt in NY (though it must be approved by the competent authorities).

  13. irishgirl says:

    You got it right, Father Z: ‘when stupidity and hate collide’.

  14. Ben Yanke says:

    Wow. This is just completely laugh worthy! I sure do hope it takes a ton of time for them…

  15. Luke Whittaker says:

    Ditto on the wow. Just wow.

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