A Heber City man who claims he owns the LDS Church and has sued everybody from a federal judge to the United States Congress to officials of the Deseret News to the state of Utah may be barred from future frivolous suits under a proposed order by U.S. District Court Judge David K. Winder.
In dismissing the latest federal suit by Larry Brant Sargeant, Winder ordered Sargeant to appear for a hearing at 8 a.m. on May 5 on whether he should issue an injunction against him. If he does not appear at this time, the injunction will be imposed.Winder wrote that the proposed injunction would prevent Sargeant from filing any suit without an affidavit certifying that the claims are true and the suit is filed in good faith, "subject to contempt for false swearing." That means that if the claims are found untrue, Sargeant would face a penalty for contempt of court.
In addition, Sargeant would have to attach a copy of the court's ruling with every suit he files. The clerk would be instructed to accept his suit only if it contains the required affidavit and a copy of the opinion.
The proposed order adds, "Mr. Sargeant is also directed to contact the United States marshal office prior to entering the clerk's office and have a U.S. marshal present while attempting to file a complaint."
Even then, after the clerk accepts the complaint, he is not to actually serve the defendants until the judge instructs him to.
Winder wrote that Sargeant has filed nine cases in Utah federal court within the past year, and 13 within the past eight years. Each shares attributes of irrationality, incoherence and a complete lack of any substantive allegations, he added.
Every one has been dismissed summarily. Among other targets of the suits are Brigham Young University and the U.S. Department of Interior.
Sargeant stamps his suits with a lion design and has styled himself "the Lord Admiral Abraham." In an April 1987 suit filed against the state of Utah, Sargeant said he was illegally arrested in Salt Lake City in December 1984. He added that he has legally established his claims to all property of the LDS Church, "since it was given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ on the 6th day of December 1964."
Sargeant wrote to Winder after dismissal of one of the suits including what is supposed to be a photograph of himself dressed in white and wearing a cowboy hat, standing at attention and saluting. It says that the Lord says, "This man is my prophet, seer and revelator. I the Lord sent him to be a President and Commander in Chief of the United States of America."
Winder wrote that while Sargeant's complaints have always been dismissed, "a person sued for millions, billions or trillions of dollars cannot sit idly by without making a response. Those responses are generally made by a lawyer. The simple fact is lawyers charge for their services."
Winder wrote that defendants have been forced to bear needless expenses.
"By screening the complaints . . . persons who draw the attention of Mr. Sargeant will be saved the expense of responding to any future frivolous suits."