United States District Court, N.D. New York
IN RE ROBERT H. AJAMIAN, Respondent.
ORDER TO SHOW
Glenn T. Suddaby Chief, U.S. District Judge.
September 12, 2017, Senior United States District Judge Gary
L. Sharpe recommended that the undersigned consider whether a
pre-filing order should be issued against a litigant
proceeding under the name of Thomas E. Bowles III, whether
the pre-filing order previously issued against Robert H.
Ajamian on August 10, 2015, be amended to include Mr.
Ajamian's apparent litigation on behalf of Mr. Bowles, or
whether other appropriate action be taken. Bowles v.
State of New York, 13-CV-1347, Bar Order, at 1, n.1
(N.D.N.Y. filed Sept. 12, 2017) (Sharpe, J.).
specifically, Judge Sharpe explained as follows:
On several occasions, the court received documents for filing
signed by “Robert H. Ajamian.” (Dkt. Nos. 16, 33,
40, 42, 44.) Ajamian is the subject of an anti-filing
injunction,  which was issued in August 2015. (Dkt. No.
7, 1:15-af-4.) Ajamian and Bowles share the same penmanship,
mailing address, and disregard for the court's orders,
and the court has little, if any, doubt that Ajamian and
Bowles are one in the same. Nonetheless, the anti-filing
injunction identifies only Ajamian as the enjoined party. As
a consequence, because of the likelihood that Bowles is
merely an alias for Ajamian and for the same reasons that an
anti-filing injunction was issued against Ajamian, the court
refers this matter to Chief Judge Glenn T. Suddaby for
consideration as to whether an anti-filing injunction should
issue as to Bowles, the order enjoining Ajamian should be
amended to include Bowles, or any other action the Chief
Judge deems appropriate.
Bowles, Bar Order, at 1, n.1.
Ajamian's relationship to Mr. Bowles appears to be that
of a first cousin who claims ownership of a home that was
allegedly purchased by Ajamian's mother in 1958 for her
parents to live in, passed to Ajamian's and Bowles'
grandmother upon the death of Ajamian's mother in 1981,
and wrongly bequeathed by Ajamian's aunt to Bowles
following the death of their grandmother in 1996. Bowles
v. State of New York, 13-CV-1347, First Letter from
Ajamian, at 1-2 (N.D.N.Y. filed June 4, 2014); Bowles v.
State of New York, 13-CV-1347, Second Letter from
Ajamian, at 1 (N.D.N.Y. filed Dec. 9, 2014). As a result, Mr.
Ajamian claims to be an “interested party” in the
legal action filed by Mr. Bowles, which regards the wrongful
tax foreclosure regarding the home in 2008 or 2009.
Bowles, First Letter from Ajamian, at 1-2.
carefully considering the matter, the undersigned finds that,
while Mr. Ajamian and Mr. Bowles appear to be separate
individuals (possessing separate dates of birth and Social
Security numbers), Ajamian has drafted a complaint and
motions for Bowles, (mis)advised him on legal issues, and
essentially litigated the above-referenced action on behalf
of him, with increasing vexatiousness. As a result, the
undersigned finds that, under the circumstances, Mr.
Ajamian's actions have not only violated the spirit of
the Court's prior pre-filing order against him but have
“crossed the line between filling out forms and
engaging in the practice of law by rendering legal
services” as a layperson. Sussman v. Grado,
192 Misc.2d 628, 632 (N.Y. Cty. Co., Nassau Cty., 2d Dist.
2002); see also Matter of Rowe, 80 N.Y.2d 336,
341-42 (N.Y. 1992) (“The practice of law involves the
rendering of legal advice and opinions directed to particular
clients.”); cf. In re Roel, 3 N.Y.2d 224, 229
(N.Y. 1957) (“[W]hen legal documents are prepared for a
layman by a person in the business of preparing such
documents, that person is practicing law whether the
documents be prepared in conformity with the law of New York
or any other law.”), app. dismissed, 355 U.S.
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. New York 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 the following:
(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.
United States Lines, Inc., 792 F.2d 19, 24 [2d Cir.
based on a careful review of Mr. Ajamian's litigation
history, the Court finds that (1) he lacks a good-faith
expectation in prevailing in his lawsuits and motions, or in
lawsuits and motions prepared by him for other litigants, (2)
he has proven himself to be vexatious and indeed incorrigible
when either proceeding pro se or attempting to
represent other litigants, (3) he has caused needless expense
to other parties and placed an unnecessary burden on the
Court and its personnel, and (4) he has demonstrated that no
lesser sanctions (e.g., such as dismissal or chastisement)
would be adequate to protect the Court and other parties,
given his prior conduct.
the overwhelming support for the amendment of the pre-filing
order previously issued against Mr. Ajamian, fairness
dictates that he be given notice and an opportunity to be
heard. See Iwachiw, 396 F.3d at 529. As a result, he
shall have fourteen (14) days from the date of this Order to
show cause, in writing, why the pre-filing order
previously issued against him on August 10, 2015, should not
be amended to preclude his litigation of actions on behalf of
Thomas E. Bowles III or any other individual.
that Robert H. Ajamian shall, within FOURTEEN (14)
DAYS of the date of this Order, show cause, in
writing, why the pre-filing order previously issued
against him on August 10, 2015, should not be amended to
preclude his litigation of actions ...