Man locked in court battle with ex-wife requests trial by combat — but asks judge for 12 weeks to source samurai swords

Avatar photo

By Aishah Hussain on


A man embroiled in a bitter court battle with his ex-wife has rather bizarrely requested he be allowed to challenge her in a trial by combat.

David Ostrom, 40, from Paola in Kansas, Miami, claimed in court documents that his ex-wife Bridgette Ostrom, 38, of Shelby County, Iowa, and her divorce lawyer, Matthew Hudson, had “destroyed [him] legally” which rendered him wanting to confront the duo “on the field of battle where [he] will rend their souls from their corporal (sic) bodies”. The couple’s ongoing legal dispute concerns property tax and visitation rights.

Mr Ostrom asked Iowa District Court in Shelby County to give him 12 weeks lead time to find or forge Japanese samurai swords. “I think I’ve met Mr Hudson’s absurdity with my own absurdity,” he was reported to have said, adding that his former wife could choose Hudson to act as her champion.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

And while he admitted he has no experience with sword play, Mr Ostrom wielded the argument that the judge had the power to let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally” since trial by combat “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in [the] United States”, and was used “as recently as 1818 in [a] British court”.

Hudson resisted the strange request, arguing that because a duel could end in death, “such ramifications likely outweigh those of property tax and custody issues”.

Judge Craig Dreismeier has not yet ruled on either party’s motions, citing irregularities between the two put forward. “Until the proper procedural steps to initiate a court proceeding are followed, this court will take no further action concerning any motion, objection or petition filed by either party at this time,” he said.

Junior lawyer event: How to build a career at a US law firm in London, with lawyers from Cleary Gottlieb, Kirkland & Ellis, Shearman & Sterling and Skadden — this Thursday evening: REGISTER TO ATTEND

Related Stories