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Kuchay v. Vetter

August 20, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge


Dianne Kuchay filed a pro se lawsuit against Oak Lawn police officers, a doctor at Advocate Christ Medical Center, and various medical personnel employed by Tinley Park Mental Health Center, challenging her arrest by the officers in 2004 and her resulting commitment to a psychiatric facility. Ms. Kuchay's pro se complaint was extraordinarily long and included a good deal of extraneous matter, as well as allegations that the Court characterized as "rather unusual," Kuchay v. Vetter, No. 06 C 4501, 2007 WL 54061, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 4, 2007), including contentions that "white vans with Moslem [sic] inside had been following [Ms. Kuchay], and that they would hit her rear bumper, honk their horns and two or more vans would surround her car," see Compl. ¶ 100; her allegation that several conductors on a Metra train "were aware of the website that Moslems built about her and were monitoring her activities on the website," see id. ¶ 199, and her allegation that she "was giving information to the FBI and that the people she reported to them found out about it and began harassing [her], attempted to kidnap [her], and were vandalizing her car." See Compl. ¶ 100.

In a decision that the Court issued later, after it reviewed Ms. Kuchay's pro se complaint, the Court indicated that it believed that Ms. Kuchay "might possibly have a colorable claim embedded somewhere in the quagmire of minutiae set out in her complaint" but was "concerned about the prolixity of the complaint and the fact that it was replete with allegations that appeared to be extraneous to any claims that Ms. Kuchay might legitimately make." Kuchay, 2007 WL 54061, at *1. The Court therefore appointed counsel to represent Ms. Kuchay, "hoping that counsel would be able to separate the wheat from the chaff." Id.

The Court was later required, however, to permit appointed counsel to withdraw. In a motion seeking to withdraw his appearance, counsel advised the Court that Ms. Kuchay had repeatedly accused counsel's firm of conspiring with others against her, an accusation that the Court concluded was entirely baseless. These accusations had culminated, counsel advised, in a voice mail left on counsel's telephone in which Ms. Kuchay "rhetorically ask[ed] the question why [counsel] . . . keep asking her, so you want to slit your wrists, and then asking me, am I trying to get her to hit me." Id., at *2. In the voice mail, counsel stated, Ms. Kuchay "got increasingly more agitated and frightening." Ms. Kuchay then followed up with a letter in which she told counsel to "stop monitoring the Muslim web sites which feature information about her and instead focus on drafting her complaint." Id. These events, counsel reported, had prompted his law firm to hire an armed security guard and to contemplate hiring security to protect him and his colleagues from Ms. Kuchay.

Shortly after the Court granted appointed counsel's motion to withdraw, Ms. Kuchay provided the Court a copy of a letter she had written to appointed counsel. This letter confirmed the accuracy of counsel's description of Ms. Kuchay's accusations that he and his associate were conspiring against her and that he had suggested to Ms. Kuchay that she commit suicide -- an accusation that echoed some of the allegations Ms. Kuchay had made against certain of the defendants in her pro se complaint. See id. Ms. Kuchay thereafter delivered to the chambers copies of other letters she sent to appointed counsel in which she made a variety of conspiratorial accusations about people at counsel's firm, including a claim that the firm was "trying hard to sabotage my lawsuit behind the scenes," and also repeated her allegations about "the website that the Moslems made of me." Id.

In the Court's January 4, 2007 decision, it determined not to appoint substitute counsel to represent Ms. Kuchay. The Court stated that

Ms. Kuchay has, by her own actions as confirmed by the letters she provided to the Court, forfeited any legitimate claim to have another lawyer appointed to represent her. The Court has carefully reviewed Ms. Kuchay's correspondence and the actions of appointed counsel and sees no basis to support Ms. Kuchay's accusations that counsel were not representing her adequately or were working against her interests. These allegations appear to the Court to be, quite simply, figments of Ms. Kuchay's imagination. In light of Ms. Kuchay's unfounded accusations against the attorney the Court appointed to represent her, the Court is unwilling to burden any more lawyers with the obligation of representing Ms. Kuchay on a pro bono basis.

Id., at *3.

In the same decision, the Court directed Ms. Kuchay to file an amended complaint and provided her detailed guidance regarding what she needed to do to comply with federal pleading rules. Id., at 3-4. On January 25, 2007, Ms. Kuchay filed a much shorter version of her complaint. The Court does not know whether Ms. Kuchay prepared this version entirely on her own or whether she filed, or edited, a revised version of the complaint that appointed counsel had prepared or begun to prepare before withdrawing. After reviewing the amended complaint, the Court dismissed one of Ms. Kuchay's claims and certain of the defendants but otherwise allowed the case to proceed. See Kuchay v. Vetter, Case No. 06 C 4501, Order of Feb. 27, 2007.

Ms. Kuchay has, however, continued to make bizarre and baseless accusations. These included, initially, accusations that a member of the assigned judge's staff had made bizarre and threatening statements to and about Ms. Kuchay and that a "male Moslem" was monitoring the court proceedings in a particularly odd way. See docket entry 42 (letter to Clerk). The Court gave the following account in an order dated May 15, 2007:

In [a] letter that Ms. Kuchay sent to the Clerk regarding the assigned judge's courtroom deputy, she stated that "the Moslems made a website about me and [the courtroom deputy] types everything that happens in the courtroom into the website. [She] told me in person that she is the one typing it into the website." Letter of Mar. 1, 2007, p. 1. She also stated that the courtroom deputy "made an announcement in court on January 4, 2007, after my motion was heard" in which she stated that she "attends meetings that the Moslems have and is a secretary for them and when they overtake our government, they promised her that she will be a Judge." Id. She stated that on another court date, "a male Moslem strode into the courtroom through the door that the Judge enters and sat on the side of the courtroom. During my motion, I overheard the staff sitting there asking him who he was and if he works in the building. It was apparent that no one knew who he was. He was making comments about me as I was speaking to the Judge ...." Id., pp. 1-2. Ms. Kuchay stated that after the court session, the courtroom deputy turned to this supposed "male Moslem" and "whispered, 'Blow her legs off.'" Id., p. 2. As the Court stated in open court on April 5, 2007, all of these accusations are all utterly false.

Kuchay v. Vetter, No. 06 C 4501, Order of May 15, 2007 at 2. In its May 15, 2007 order, the Court noted that there were "common threads in Ms. Kuchay's claims and the accusations she has made against her former appointed counsel, court staff, and some of the defendants she has sued," identifying these common elements in some detail. Id. at 1-2.

After reviewing Ms. Kuchay's baseless and rather odd allegations, the Court reached the following conclusions:

The Court has thought long and hard about this matter and believes it is appropriate to make further inquiry regarding Ms. Kuchay's claims. Because Ms. Kuchay was given leave to proceed in forma pauperis, that is, without paying a filing fee, the Court has the authority, on its own motion, to examine whether her complaint is malicious, frivolous, or fails to state a claim. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e). "A claim is factually frivolous if its allegations are bizarre, irrational or ...

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