would order stricken the scandalous and impertinent matter which makes up the bulk of plaintiffs' pleadings. F.R.C.P. 11, 12(f).
VII. Defendants' Request for an Injunction
The Pennsylvania judges and the federal defendants have moved to enjoin plaintiffs and others acting in concert with plaintiffs from initiating lawsuits similar to the present action. Defendants cite the extraordinary number of lawsuits which have been filed by plaintiffs throughout the country, including three which were filed after the commencement of this action. Defendants contend that this Court, as an incident of its inherent powers under 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), may and should issue an injunction to prevent these plaintiffs and their associates from further harassing judges, prosecutors and professional associations and causing an undue expenditure of time, money and effort at all levels of the judicial system.
There is substantial authority for the granting of injunctions in those rare situations where such action is necessary to prevent harassment of individuals and government officials through the repeated filing of baseless complaints. In Meredith v. John Deere Plow Co., 261 F.2d 121 (8th Cir. 1959), the court determined that under the facts the plaintiff could never have a valid cause of action. The court held that "the subjecting of another to repeated, baseless vexatious suits at law on some particular matter is, without reference to other considerations, a sufficient ground for the issuance of an injunction against the perpetrator." Rudnicki v. McCormack, 210 F. Supp. 905 (D.R.I.1962) is in many respects similar to the present action. Plaintiff sued several judges, United States Attorneys and the Clerk of the Court, alleging as the court found, "no more than that the plaintiff has been denied recovery in the various actions instituted by him" in federal and state court. The district court found: first, a past history of similar suits brought by the plaintiff; second, a persistent attempt to relitigate cases dismissed by federal and state judges by charging them with conspiracy to violate plaintiff's civil rights; third, that unless an injunction issued, the plaintiff will continue to institute groundless and purely vexatious litigation against these defendants and other judges and public officials; and fourth, that the effect of such litigation would be to further harass the defendant, burden the office of the clerk and amount to a large expense to the government. Therefore, an injunction was issued.
In Ruderer v. United States, 462 F.2d 897 (8th Cir. 1972), cert. denied 409 U.S. 1031, 93 S. Ct. 540, 34 L. Ed. 2d 482 (1972), the plaintiff alleged that he was wrongfully discharged from employment with the United States Army and filed 21 actions against fellow employees alleging conspiracy to discharge him. The district court found that plaintiff had filed his suit in bad faith and in furtherance of a personal vendetta against the United States. The district court also found that plaintiff had been afforded a full opportunity to present his claims and that further suits on these claims would needlessly consume the court's time. The appellate court held that appellant's affinity for litigation, standing alone, did not provide a sufficient reason for issuing an injunction prohibiting him from bringing further suits on this claim. However, the Court of Appeals reasoned that since appellant had already had his day in court, "in this day of burgeoning court calendars, he must be restrained if others are to have theirs." He was thus permanently enjoined from commencing any proceeding in an attempt to relitigate facts surrounding his discharge from the Army.
Another recent case which is on point is Boruski v. Stewart, 381 F. Supp. 529 (S.D.N.Y.1974), Boruski was an ambitious litigator who had been unlawfully discharged from military service. He recovered back pay in his first lawsuit but, not satisfied, he proceeded to file a number of suits against the Veterans Administration, the General Accounting Office, the Air Force, the Justice Department and various federal judges and officials. The court noted the plaintiff's pattern of engaging in repetition and vexatious litigation and found that such conduct was likely to continue unless enjoined. "It is not uncommon for a disappointed litigant to bring a subsequent action alleging that the adverse decision resulted from prejudice or misconduct of virtually every person in authority who functioned on his claims; and where it is apparent that the litigation is baseless the issuance of an injunction is proper." See also Gambocz v. Yelencsics, 468 F.2d 837 (3d Cir. 1972) and DunLeavay v. Hallahan, Civ. No. 72 4731 (S.D.N.Y.1972), decided November 22, 1972.
It is apparent from the manner in which plaintiffs have proceeded that their primary motive here is not vindication of a legal right but rather harassment of the judicial system and particular individuals. Earlier dismissals of similar rambling complaints put plaintiffs on notice that the federal courts could not possibly grant relief in actions of this tenor. The indiscriminate naming of defendants so as to include virtually the entire federal and Pennsylvania judiciary and the judges' spouses is evidence of disenchantment with the judicial process in general, rather than a grievance against a limited number of defendants who engaged in specific unlawful behavior. The predictably belated motion to disqualify this Court from hearing the motions on the long scheduled return date is indicative of plaintiffs' evident desire to involve as many judges as possible in this case without ever reaching a hearing on the merits. The Court concludes that plaintiffs' practice of engaging in vexatious litigation and harassing government officials is likely to continue unless enjoined.
Accordingly, I shall enter an order perpetually enjoining and restraining the plaintiffs from instituting any future action or encouraging, aiding, assisting, abetting or acting in concert with any other person or persons to institute any future action based on any claim or cause of action which was or could have been asserted by plaintiffs in the complaint herein.
VIII. Defendants' Motion for Attorney's Fees
The federal defendants and the Pennsylvania judges move for an award of attorney's fees. They contend that such an award is within the equitable power of the court and is proper in these rare cases where a party has acted in bad faith, vexatiously or for oppressive reasons. Hall v. Cole, 412 U.S. 1, 5, 93 S. Ct. 1943, 36 L. Ed. 2d 702 (1973). They cite the recent Supreme Court decision in Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v. Wilderness Society, 421 U.S. 240, 95 S. Ct. 1612, 44 L. Ed. 2d 141 (1975) as authority for the awarding of counsel fees.
While the Court is not inclined to award attorney's fees at this time, it will not hesitate to reexamine the question of the award of attorney's fees should plaintiffs violate the injunction.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.