UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
June 19, 2012
IN RE: INJAH TAFARI,
After examining the District Court's docket, it appears that respondent Injah Tafari has engaged in a pattern of abuse of the judicial process, and thus, should be enjoined from filing future cases in this District without permission from the Chief Judge. However, before doing so, Tafari must be given an opportunity to show cause why an anti-filing injunction should not be entered.
It is well settled that "[a] district court may, in its discretion, impose sanctions against litigants who abuse the judicial process." Shafii v. British Airways, PLC, 83 F.3d 566, 571 (2d Cir. 1996). Where a litigant persists in the filing of vexatious and frivolous suits, it may be appropriate to place certain limitations on the litigant's future access to the courts. See Hong Mai Sa v. Doe, 406 F.3d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 2005) (citing Iwachiw v. N.Y. State Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 396 F.3d 525, 528 (2d Cir. 2005)); see also Shafii, 83 F.3d at 571 ("The filing of repetitive and frivolous suits constitutes the type of abuse for which an injunction forbidding further litigation may be an appropriate sanction."). Before imposing such limitations, the court should consider:
(1) the litigant's history of litigation and in particular whether it entailed vexatious, harassing or duplicative lawsuits; (2) the litigant's motive in pursuing the litigation, e.g., does the litigant have an objective good faith expectation of prevailing?; (3) whether the litigant is represented by counsel; (4) whether the litigant has caused needless expense to other parties or has posed an unnecessary burden on the courts and their personnel; and (5) whether other sanctions would be adequate to protect the courts and other parties.
Iwachiw, 396 F.3d at 528 (quoting Safir v. U.S. Lines, Inc., 792 F.2d 19, 24 (2d Cir. 1986)).
After carefully reviewing the publicly available court records, the
court concludes that, unless he shows cause otherwise, Tafari should
be enjoined from filing future lawsuits without leave of the Chief
Judge. To date, Tafari has filed twenty-nine (29) actions in this
District, thirteen of which were filed just last year.*fn1
Indeed, on June 4, 2012 alone, Tafari filed a letter motion
for a Preliminary Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order in
seventeen (17) of his pending cases, (see, e.g., Dkt. No. 14,
11-cv-1447), despite the fact that he filed a nearly identical motion
in twelve of the cases one month earlier, (see, e.g., Dkt. No. 8,
11-cv-1447). Moreover, Tafari has accumulated well over three strikes
for the purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), (see Dkt. No. 6 at 3-4,
12-cv-703), yet has repeatedly sought to usurp the PLRA by repeating
nearly identical claims of imminent danger, (compare Compl. ¶¶ 8-10,
Dkt. No. 1, 11-cv-1429, with Compl. ¶¶ 11-13, Dkt. No. 1, 11-cv-1390),
and by converting cases filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to cases under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, (see, e.g., Dkt. No. 44, 10-cv-790).
In light of his litigation history, the court concludes that Tafari can only be estopped from pursuing frivolous claims by a more severe sanction than dismissing his actions. To this end, four of the five factors discussed in Iwachiw, 396 F.3d at 528, are unequivocally satisfied here: (1) Tafari has a long history of vexatious and harassing litigation in this District; (2) Tafari's lawsuits are typically characterized by unfounded civil rights violations upon which he has no good faith expectation of prevailing; (3) Tafari's baseless complaints have occasioned a tremendous waste of time and resources; and (4) Tafari's cavalier disregard for court directives and orders renders any lesser sanction inadequate.*fn2
Notwithstanding the overwhelming support for an anti-filing injunction, fairness dictates that Tafari be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. See Iwachiw, 396 F.3d at 529. As such, he shall have fourteen (14) days from the date of this Order to show cause, in writing, why he should not be enjoined from any further filings in the Northern District of New York without leave of the court.
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby
ORDERED that Tafari shall, within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order, show cause, in writing, why he should not be enjoined from any further filings in the Northern District of New York without leave of the Chief Judge; and it is further
ORDERED that, if Tafari does not fully comply with this Order, the court will issue a subsequent order, without further explanation, permanently enjoining Tafari from filing a pleading or document of any kind in any future case in this District without leave of the court; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk shall provide a copy of this Order to Tafari by certified mail.
IT IS SO ORDERED.