Lawsuits against the devil

Lawsuits against the Devil (or Satan) have occurred in reality and in fiction.

Actual suits

United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff[1] was a 1971 case filed before the United States district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in which Gerald Mayo alleged that "Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff's downfall" and had therefore "deprived him of his constitutional rights". This is prohibited under several sections of the United States Code. Mayo filed in forma pauperis - that is, he asserted that he would not be able to afford the costs associated with his lawsuit and that they therefore should be waived.

Fictional suits

"The Devil and Daniel Webster" is a 1937 short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, since adapted into film. The story is about a New Hampshire farmer, Jabez Stone, who is plagued with unending bad luck. Stone swears that "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!" When Satan, disguised as "Mr. Scratch", arrives the next day, he makes such an offer, and Stone reluctantly agrees to the deal. Stone enjoys seven years of prosperity, and later bargains for three more years, but as the "mortgage falls due", he convinces famous lawyer and orator Daniel Webster to argue his case with the Devil.

The stage play Debate by Irish author Seán Ferrick centered around a lawsuit between God and Satan. It depicted Satan as the prosecutor in a case that would decide who would control the human race. Satan was portrayed by Damien Coffey.

In the 2011 novel The Ultimate Pinner, the main character files a lawsuit against the devil for sexual harassment.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.