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CALESNICK v. REDEVELOPMENT AUTH. OF PHILADELPHIA

September 28, 1988

MILTON A. CALESNICK AND ELEANOR J. CALESNICK, h/w
v.
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA AND SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'NEILL

 THOMAS N. O'NEILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 In this action, plaintiffs, appearing pro se, assert that they have been wrongfully deprived by defendant Redevelopment Authority of title to a house and lots located at 130-132 Delancey Street, Philadelphia, and of certain building materials and construction equipment which were located at that address. They also contend that defendant Superior Court of Pennsylvania failed to review adequately and properly the issues presented in an appeal of an earlier state court proceeding involving the same properties to which they and the Authority were parties. Defendants' actions are alleged to constitute a violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 Precisely the same allegations were set forth by plaintiffs in previous actions in this Court against the Redevelopment Authority and the Superior Court as well as other defendants. Milton A. Calesnick and Eleanor J. Calesnick v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia, et al., Civil Action No. 83-0498 (E.D.Pa. July 25, 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 1162 (3d Cir. 1987); Milton A. Calesnick and Eleanor J. Calesnick v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Superior Court of Pennsylvania and Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 85-1381 (E.D.Pa. June 18, 1985).

 In his exhaustive (57 pages) opinion in the Redevelopment Authority case, my colleague Judge Pollak concluded that all of plaintiffs' claims were barred by final judgments adverse to plaintiffs rendered in various actions in the Pennsylvania courts in the years 1970 to 1984. Reference is made to his opinion for a description of the state court litigation. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania action, which attacked the state court judgments, Judge Pollak held that the alleged conduct of the Superior Court did not violate rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

 Since plaintiffs' claims have been the subject of final adjudication by Judge Pollak, the doctrine of res judicata bars this action. I turn now to defendants' motion for an injunction under the All Writs Act and the Authority's motion under Rule 11.

 When I first met with plaintiffs and counsel, I supplied plaintiffs with a copy of Rule 11 and explained its meaning to them. I stated that if the action were withdrawn with prejudice within the three week period fixed for the filing of their briefs in opposition to defendants' motions, the provisions of Rule 11 would not be invoked; but that if the action proceeded and were shown to be the same claim as had been presented to Judge Pollak a Rule 11 sanction consisting of attorneys fees would be imposed. The action was not discontinued within that period.

 At the scheduled hearing, on June 13, counsel for defendants appeared but plaintiffs did not. I rescheduled the hearing for June 21, 1988. At that time, all parties participated in an evidentiary hearing on the motions. Both plaintiffs were examined by counsel for the Authority. Mrs. Calesnick stated that she did not intend to institute future legal action with respect to the properties involved herein; Mr. Calesnick, however, would not agree to so refrain. He stated that he would continue to take any action he deemed appropriate to protect his property and his rights.

 After hearing, oral arguments and review of the briefs, and particularly after observing and listening to the oral presentations and testimony of Mr. Calesnick, I am convinced that nothing short of an injunction will prevent him from continuing to litigate the claims asserted in this action. In my view he is unwilling or unable to understand that the adverse final judgments which have been rendered in the state courts and in this Court preclude further litigation of his claims with respect to the Delancey Street properties. He will continue to sue, asserting the error of the most recent adverse decision. *fn1"

 Plaintiffs' activities in the state courts subsequent to July 25, 1985, the date of Judge Pollak's opinion in the Redevelopment Authority case, further demonstrate the necessity for an injunction. Later that year, the Calesnicks commenced yet another action against the Redevelopment Authority, this one in the Superior Court, captioned Calesnick v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia, et al., October Term, 1985, No. 3955, in which they again attacked the state court judgments. This action was dismissed on grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel. In 1986, the Calesnicks sought leave to file original process in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to make a collateral attack on the Order of the Superior Court entered on July 22, 1983. The Court denied that request.

 Authority to enjoin the plaintiffs from further litigation stems from the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, which confers broad power on federal courts to control litigation and protect their jurisdiction:

 
The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.

 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a) (1985). This Court previously has interpreted the Act to provide authority for granting injunctions "where such action is necessary to prevent harassment of individuals and government officials through the repeated filing of baseless complaints." Adams v. American Bar Association et al., 400 F. Supp. 219, 227 (E.D.Pa. 1975). See also Castro v. United States, 584 F. Supp. 252, 264 (D.P. R. 1984) ("Federal courts have the inherent power to enjoin litigants who use the courts as a stage for a personal vendetta of harassment or abuse.") Thus, when, as in the present case, "it is apparent that the ...


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