Court document in full: Lawyer demands Game of Thrones-style ‘trial by combat’

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By Alex Aldridge on

New York sole practitioner attempts to resurrect ancient common law tradition


A US lawyer accused of helping a client to commit fraud has demanded a “trial by combat”.

Richard Luthmann, a sole practitioner based in New York City, reckons allegations that he advised a client to liquidate assets and transfer them “beyond the reach of creditors” are so absurd that they merit an equally absurd response.

So, evoking the ancient common law tradition of ‘trial by combat’ — which has been brought to life recently in hit TV series Game of Thrones as a vehicle of salvation for Tyrion Lannister (pictured above) — Luthmann (pictured below) is seeking to fight his accusers to the death.


The lawyer’s leaked court filing (embedded below) is a thing to behold. It includes memorable paragraphs such as:

Defendant invokes the common law writ of right and demands his common law right to Trial By Combat as against Plaintiffs and their counsel, whom plaintiff wishes to implead into the Trial By Combat by writ of right.

The document also features a lengthy legal history of trial by combat, which apparently was “introduced into the common law of the Kingdom of England following the Norman Conquest and remained in use for the duration of the High and Late Middle Ages.”

Happily, as Luthmann relays, “the emergence of the legal profession in the thirteenth century … steered people away from the wager of battle … [with] The practice of averting trial by combat led to the modern concept of attorneys representing litigants.”

Still, trials by combat were apparently taking place in England up until 1446 with the practice continuing in Scotland and Ireland as recently as the 16th Century. And Luthmann is of the view that they may still be technically valid under New York law, with the US Ninth Amendment arguably preserving the right to trial by combat as one of the rights “retained by the people”.

Anyway. The filing concludes:

The allegations made by Plaintiffs, aided and abetted by their counsel, border upon the criminal. As such, the undersigned respectfully requests that the Court permit the Undersigned to dispatch Plaintiffs and their counsel to the Divine Providence of the Maker for Him to exact His Divine Judgment once the Undersigned has released the souls of the Plaintiffs and their counsel from their corporeal bodies, personally and/or by way of a Champion. Accordingly, the Plaintiffs’ Complaint should be dismissed – in its entirety – with prejudice, or in the alternative, Defendants should be granted leave to invoke our laws and the common law writ of right to compel the Plaintiffs and their counsel to Trial By Combat.

Read the full court document below:


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