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In re Muhammad

United States District Court, W.D. New York

June 23, 2017

IN Re PRINCE divine MESSIAH MUHAMMAD, also known as Richard McCary, Respondent.

          ORDER

          CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA United States District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Upon examination of the Court's Docket, it appears that Respondent, Prince divine Messiah Muhammad (who has sued under a number of variants of that name[1] or the name Richard McCary, which appears to be Mr. Muhammad's legal name) has engaged in a pattern of abuse of the judicial process and thus should be enjoined from filing any future cases in this District, of any type, without first obtaining permission from the Court. Before Mr. Muhammad can be so enjoined, however, the Court must provide him with an opportunity to show cause, in writing, why this sanction should not be entered and imposed upon him. See Moates v. Barkley, 147 F.3d 207, 208 (2d Cir. 1998).

         Mr. Muhammad is currently detained at the Rochester Psychiatric Center ("RPC") as an "acquitee" who had been found Not Responsible by Reason of a Mental Disease or Defect in Kings County, New York in 1994, see N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 330.20; Muhammad v. New York State, 6:16-CV-06005-CJS, Docket No. 4, Order at 3, n.4 (W.D.N.Y. April 21, 2016).[2]

         A review of the Docket shows that between December 2015 and November 2016, Mr. Muhammad has filed at least ten civil rights actions or habeas corpus proceedings in this Court, and has sought permission to proceed in forma pauperis in each case.[3] Each of the civil actions and petitions filed was illogical, confusing and, for the most part, delusional. The central theme of each of them was that Mr. Muhammad was forced to take a plea under N.Y. Crim. Proc. L. §330.20 by his "devil lawyers" who told him that if he agreed to the plea, he would be released from the hospital within six months to a year and would then be allowed to go home. As a result of the plea, he alleges that he has been involuntarily committed in a number of "Hospitals, " including the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, Kings County Hospital, Mid-Hudson Hospital, Rikers Island and RPC, and has been "doped up" to the point that he has developed diabetes and other ailments and diseases. One complaint blames former President Barack Obama and "his devils" for his confinement and trying to kill him. See Muhammad v. New York State, 6:16-CV-06005-CJS, Docket No. 4, Order at 2-3, April 21, 2016; Muhammad v. New York State, 6:16-CV-06030-CJS, Docket No. 5, Order at 3-4, April 21, 2016; Muhammad v. Sullivan, 6:16-CV-06127-CJS, Docket 4, Order at 5, April 21, 2016. Each of the ten actions filed has been dismissed as frivolous, repetitious and/or delusional. One of the petitions was dismissed because Plaintiff failed to address, as directed by former Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the United States District Court, Southern District on New York, [4] (1) what commitment order Mr. Muhammad was challenging, (2) what steps he had taken to exhaust his state judicial remedies, and (3) what the grounds for relief were. Muhammad v. Griffin, 6:15-CV-06750-CJS, Docket No. 2, Order; 16-CV-06124 CJS, Docket No. 16, Order. Mr. Muhammad's Amended Petition was nothing more than the same oft-pled diatribe about the circumstances of his § 330.20 plea and how he had been doped up and treated at the various "Hospitals." The petition was dismissed. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         The Court cannot continue to allow Mr. Muhammad to file multiple frivolous and repetitive cases in this Court wasting valuable Court resources, which is not only intolerable, but also harmful to the constitutionally mandated functions of the Court. The Court therefore finds that it must enjoin Mr. Muhammad from pursuing claims in this Court by a more severe sanction than just dismissing his actions with prejudice and with warnings that the continued filing of case after case in this Court may lead to the imposition of sanctions against him, including the very filing injunction addressed herein. Mr. Muhammad, even after the entry of some of the dismissal orders, addressed above, warned him that the repeated filing of cases in this Court could lead to the imposition of severe sanctions, including a filing injunction, has continued to file cases that are repetitive and frivolous. E.g., Muhammad v. New York State, 6:16-CV-06005-CJS, Docket No. 4, Order at 9-10, April 21, 2016; Muhammad v. New York State, 6:16-CV-06030-CJS, Docket No. 5, Order at 9-10, April 21, 2016; Muhammad v. Sullivan, 16-CV-06127-CJS, Docket No. 4, Order at 9-10, April 21, 2016; 6:16-CV-06306, Docket No. 3, Order at 4, July 20, 2016).

         Mr. Muhammad was also expressly warned that if he continued to use foul language or expletives in any pleading or document submitted to the Court, such as in a prior action, Muhammad v. Mortiere, 6:16-CV-06661-CJS, Docket No. 4, Order at 2-3, Nov. 8, 2016, he would be sanctioned and that the sanction might include, among other things, an injunction against the filing of any actions or proceedings in this Court without first obtaining permission from the Court. In Mr. Muhammad's Amended Petition, he used exactly the language he was advised against using and, in a letter submitted with the Amended Petition, [5] admonished the undersigned from questioning his use of such language. Id., Order, Docket No. 6 at 3-4, June 20, 2017.

         It is well settled that "[a] district court may, in its discretion, impose sanctions against litigants who abuse the judicial process." Shafti v. British Airways, PLC, 83 F.3d 566, 571 (2d Cir. 1996). Mr. Muhammad's status as a pro se litigant does not give him "an 'impenetrable shield [from the application of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11], for one acting pro se has no license to harass others, clog the judicial machinery with meritless litigation, and abuse already overloaded court dockets." DePonceau v. Bush, No. 04-CV-6240CJS(FE), 2004 WL 1574621, at *3 (W.D.N.Y., June 04, 2004) (W.D.N.Y. June 4, 2004) (quoting Patterson v. Aiken, 841 F.2d 386, 387 (11th Cir. 1988) (quoting Farguson v. Mbank Houston, N.A., 808 F.2d 358, 359 (5th Cir. 1986)). It is well-established that the federal courts "have both the inherent power and the constitutional obligation to protect their jurisdiction from conduct which impairs their ability to carry out Article III functions." In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180, 184 n. 8 (1989) (quoting In re Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d 1254, 1261 (2d Cir. 1984), cert, denied, 474 U.S. 1061 (1986)); see also Hong Mai Sa v. Doe, 406 F.3d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 2005) ("If a litigant has a history of filing vexatious, harassing or duplicative lawsuits, courts may impose sanctions, including restrictions on future access to the judicial system.") (internal quotations and citations omitted). The Supreme Court and our Court of Appeals have made it clear that "a district court has inherent authority to sanction parties appearing before it for acting in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons." Sassower v. Field, 973 F.2d 75, 80-81 (2d Cir. 1992) (citing Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 44-45, 111 S.Ct. 2123, 2133), cert, denied, 507 U.S. 1043 (1993)).

         Under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, sanctions may be imposed upon a pro se litigant who continues to file frivolous or baseless claims and petitions. Mendoza v. Lynaugh, 989 F.2d 191 (5th Cir. 1993); DePonceau, 2004 WL 1574621, at *3; Young v. Corbin, 889 F.Supp. 582 (N.D.N.Y. 1995). The Supreme Court has stated that "the central purpose of Rule 11 is to deter baseless filings in District Court and . . . streamline the administration and procedure of the federal courts." Cooler & Gell v. Hart-marx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 393 (1990) (citation omitted); see also Williams v. Revlon Co., 156 F.R.D. 39, 43 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) (The purpose of Rule 11 is to check abuses which cause "the waste of judicial resources and resulting inefficiencies and delays that affect all actual and potential litigants in the federal courts.") (citations omitted).

         Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules provides, in pertinent part, that when an unrepresented party presents a pleading, motion, or other paper to the court, that party:

certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(1) it is not being presented for an improper purpose, such as to harass [or] cause unnecessary delay. ..
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing ...

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