And, in truth, the federal government may no longer be the biggest threat to Riches' one-man war on the legal system. Social media and the Web in general have provided a fertile breeding ground for his growing notoriety. During the pre-election fervor, he tweeted about suing Michele Bachmann and followed up with a suit, filed under an alias, claiming the Kardashians had assaulted him while at Busch Gardens in Tampa that was reported by Radar Online before the outlet realized it was the work of Jonathan Lee Riches. Then Glamour UK announced that a suit had been filed alleging that Justin Bieber had cheated on Selena Gomez with Ke$ha (Ke$ha denied the claim during an Australian radio interview). But this increased exposure may well be the death of Johnny Sue-nami. "His impact has been reduced the longer he's been around," says Ronda Goldfein, the executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Philadelphia, who in July 2012 represented an HIV-positive teen suing Pennsylvania's Milton Hershey School over its refusal to admit him. When a complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by a man named Gino Romano alleging that the principal of the school had given him AIDS, Goldfein instantly recognized it as Riches' handiwork. "When he was first at this, people had some idea that he could actually be a real plaintiff," she says. "As time went on, it was a matter of 'Oh, it's that guy.' So when we got his complaint, we immediately knew who it was, even though he filed under an alias. We didn't bother responding—we had faith the judge would dispose of it appropriately." The judge obliged.

And yet… "I remain intrigued by him," Goldfein says. "I think he's trying to clog up the system, to make a statement. Lawsuits are terrible, life-sucking, emotionally draining events—and I sue people for a living. The idea of voluntarily immersing yourself into that fray is kind of fascinating." Back at T.G.I. Friday's, Riches has finished picking at his burger and scans the room, an impish smile on his face. He's hunting for suit fodder. "The waitress's attire offends me," he says. He pauses. "I could sue them under your name." Even better, he says, he could sue Details under my name. While experts ruminate on the motives of the man, Riches, who's gotten up and is ready to wend his way through the mall crowds to head back home, to the sanctuary and succor of his computer terminal, appears to have a very uncomplicated view of his mission in life. "It's my own twisted entertainment," he says. "Because I have a right. And no one can stop me."

See also our slideshow of celebrities sued by Jonathan Lee Riches.


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