United States District Court, N.D. New York
October 20, 2014
IN RE: FREDERICK J. NERONI, Respondent.
GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.
On June 5, 2014, this court dismissed Frederick J. Neroni's fifth complaint filed in this District. Like the four other complaints, Neroni's complaint lacked any basis in fact or law.
It is well settled that, sua sponte, "[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) (citation omitted). 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, such as the imposition of an anti-filing injunction. See Hong Mai Sa v. Doe, 406 F.3d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 2005) (citation omitted); 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 v. N.Y.S. Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 396 F.3d 525, 528 (2d Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). In addition, the litigant must be given an opportunity to show cause why an anti-filing injunction should not be entered. Id. at 529.
After carefully reviewing the record in this case, the court concludes that unless Neroni shows otherwise, he should be enjoined from any further filings without leave of the Chief Judge. As noted above, Neroni has filed five actions in the Northern District of New York, many stemming from similar factual circumstances and against many of the same defendants, which were all dismissed, at least in part. There is little doubt that Neroni lacks a good-faith expectation in prevailing in his lawsuits-both in the lawsuits in which he represents himself pro se, see Coccoma, 2014 WL 2532482, and in actions in which he is represented by his wife, Tatiana Neroni, see Zayas, 2014 WL 1311560; Grannis, 2013 WL 1183075; Bracci, 2013 WL 123810; Becker, 2012 WL 6681204. Further, Neroni has posed an unnecessary burden on the court and its personnel. Finally, it is apparent that sanctions lesser than an anti-filing injunction would unlikely curb Neroni's excessive and abusive filings, particularly in light of the fact that, in Becker, 2013 WL 5126004, at *3, this court imposed sanctions on Neroni in the form of attorneys fees and costs, which has only fueled Neroni's fire and caused him to insist on the court's recusal or disqualification in subsequent litigation, see Coccoma, 2014 WL 2532482.
Notwithstanding the overwhelming support for the issuance of an anti-filing injunction, fairness and the interest of justice dictate that Neroni 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 Memorandum-Decision and 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 Chief Judge.
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby
ORDERED that Neroni 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 Neroni does not fully comply with this Order, the court will issue a subsequent order, without further explanation, permanently enjoining Neroni from filing a pleading or document of any kind in any other 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 Neroni by certified mail.
IT IS SO ORDERED.