One man’s hope of becoming a billionaire at the expense of Wallowa County and the state of Oregon taxpayers was quashed at a dismissal hearing at Wallowa County Circuit Court Nov. 29.
Ricky Tippett filed a rambling and somewhat incoherent tort against the state for $973 million and Wallowa County for $250 million for perpetrating a number of alleged crimes against him, including intentionally causing him emotional distress, conspiracy, fraud, constructive fraud, identity theft, arrest and “conversion.”
Judge Thomas Powers presided over the case while attorney Bruno J. Jagelski, of Ontario represented the county and filed the motion for dismissal. Seth Karpinski, senior assistant attorney general, appeared for the state in the matter and joined the county in its motion. Tippett represented himself. All the parties, with the exception of Judge Powers, appeared by phone.
According to the complaint filed Aug. 24, the charges resulted from the county having the audacity to issue his parents a marriage license and to list him as a citizen of both the state and county on his birth certificate.
Tippett contended he was only a child of God and a resident of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the state and county had caused him harm by their description of his parentage and citizenship status.
Jagelski, speaking first, told the judge that the motion to dismiss was based on what he called “an unintelligible complaint that is packed full of conclusions of law with no ultimate facts that support the alleged case for relief.” He added that after reading the complaint, he was unable to ascertain what the county did or how it would have damaged the plaintiff.
The county’s attorney also stated that the tort violated the Oregon Tort Claims Act by failing to serve notice to the defendants, which would have allowed them time to investigate the complaint. He also asked Powers to dismiss the case with prejudice because of the lack of a valid claim or even a potential claim against the county.
Karpinski said he had little to add to Jagelski’s statement, although he did say that the state had received an amendment to the complaint that didn’t include Wallowa County and a motion for summary judgment, which is a motion that contends that all necessary factual issues are settled or are so overwhelming they need not be tried. He added that both the summary judgment motion and the amended claim were equally unintelligible.
Powers made clear that he had received notice of the aforementioned claims and motions and several others as well.
“None of those filings, as I can see, have been accepted by the court,” he said. “They were not properly filed or properly served as far as we can tell, so those are not of record.”
He told Tippett that the court was only examining the motion to dismiss. He asked that Tippett confine his remarks to the dismissal motion.
Tippett ventured an argument that he had not received any evidence that he was an Oregon resident or that such evidence even existed. He said he was not in a valid contract with the state of Oregon, and if anyone disagreed, they needed to supply the contract so he could review it. He recited a U.S. Supreme Court case that bore hazy connection to his case.
Powers asked Tippett to ascertain whether he was a resident of Oregon. Tippett replied “no.”
Powers then said as the complainant did not claim to be a resident of the state, which provided an additional reason to dismiss the case because of the court’s lack of jurisdiction. Tippett began to recite another case when Powers cut him off, telling him it was not an Oregon case and therefore irrelevant to the motion for dismissal.
Tippett tried to interrupt but Powers reiterated he wanted to hear a direct argument pertaining specifically to the dismissal motion. The claimant essentially replied that the state’s tort act was invalid and that the book of Revelation 9:12 described the alleged deception of the state, and because the Bible is the Word of God, it is good enough for the circuit court. The verse Tippett used to make his case says: “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the entire hearing took less than 20 minutes from beginning to end, including Powers’ finding in favor of the county and state’s motion for dismissal because of its failure to follow the tort claims act. He also dismissed the complaint with prejudice, which means the case is dead. Tippet cannot refile, reamend or appeal.
County commissioner Susan Roberts wasn’t sorry to hear of the demise of Tippett’s case.
“It was an interesting concept but not very well fleshed-out,” Roberts said.