You don’t hear the phrase “trial by combat” so much these days in the legal system, and with good reason. The practice died out some time in the middle ages. However, if one New York lawyer gets his way, then trial by combat may be making a sudden and unexpected reappearance.
Staten Island lawyer Richard A. Luthmann has asked a judge to allow a trial by combat to deal with a civil suit in which he’s the defendant, according to Staten Island Live.com. The plaintiff in the suit alleges that Luthmann helped a client fraudulently move around some assets.
It might not be a surprise to hear that Luthmann is a huge Game of Thrones fan. The HBO series, if you’ll recall, (spoiler alert) utilized trial by combat to determine the fate of poor Tyrion Lannister not once, but twice.
Luthmann, in spite of his true enjoyment of Game of Thrones, is pushing for trial by combat to make a point. He argues that the plaintiff’s accusations against him are so outlandish that he wanted to respond in kind with equal absurdity.
“They want to be absurd about what they’re trying to do, then I’ll give them back ridiculousness in kind,” said Luthmann. “If these people want to have it out, then we’ll have it out.”
The court filings indicate that the plaintiff is seeking more than $550,000 from Luthmann, in addition to punitive damages.
Luthmann is a colorful character who has made the headlines before — quite recently, in fact. Staten Island Live ran an article in July that detailed the attorney’s efforts to unseat the chairman of the Staten Island Democratic Party. Luthmann, a Democrat himself, asserts that chairman John Gulino failed to garner enough signatures to remain on the county committee for his next term.
Luthmann’s request for a trial by combat is highly unlikely, to say the least. He maintains, however, that the practice has never been officially outlawed in either New York state or the U.S., so the judge will still have to decide whether to move forward or not.