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Neuman v. United States

June 1, 2009

JAMES NEUMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

ORDER

A. Background and Introduction

Neuman's case was dismissed on November 13, 2008 (Doc. 308) and the Court denied Neuman's motion for a new trial on December 4, 2008 (Doc. 313). Neuman's appeal to the Seventh Circuit was initially dismissed on February 25, 2009 (Doc. 328), but was apparently reinstated on March 12, 2009 (Doc. 332). It is still pending.

Despite the fact that his case is already on appeal, Neuman continues to file motions seeking writs of mandamus and leave to appeal, rehashing issues that the Court has already addressed numerous times throughout the course of the litigation. One such motion was filed on March 12, 2009 (Doc. 330). Neuman made various allegations that have no basis in fact, including that (a) the undersigned District Judge is biased and should have recused himself because Neuman was insulted by a staff member in the Clerk's office, and that (b) Magistrate Judge Wilkerson was unfit to preside over any portion of this case because he "spends lots of time playing games on his computer." Believing that Neuman's appeal had been dismissed, the Court originally denied the motion on the merits and threatened sanctions:

[D]espite numerous warnings throughout the course of this action, Neuman insists on filing repetitive motions that serve no purpose other than to harass the Court. Future filings in this vein will merit sanctions.

Of course, the threat of sanctions should have come as no surprise to Neuman, as the Court has previously warned him not to file pleadings that harass the parties and/or the Court. Earlier in the litigation, various Defendants sought sanctions against Neuman under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 11. On September 23, 2008, the Court denied the motions for sanctions, but noted that it was a close call (Doc. 303). At that time, the Court gave Neuman the benefit of the doubt due to his pro se status and his apparent attempt to grapple with unfamiliar legal issues. However, the Court specifically stated:

The Court notes again that this is a close call. On the record currently before it, the Court declines to award Rule 11 sanctions at this time. Neuman should, however, consider this Order as a warning that this district court may award sanctions in the future if Neuman insists on filing actions or motions that have no basis in law or fact.

Nonetheless, Neuman persists in filing additional motions that lack factual support, contain baseless allegations, and reargue the same issues. For instance, on April 12, 2009, he filed two more motions asking for a "writ of certiorari and mandamus" (Doc. 333) and leave to appeal (Doc. 334). The thrust of these motions was identical to that of his March 12, 2009 motion for a writ of mandamus (Doc. 330).

Consequently, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause why Neuman ought not be sanctioned, in accordance with Rule 11(c)(3) (Doc. 335). Thereafter, Neuman sought an extension of time to respond (Doc. 336). The Court granted the extension and directed Neuman to file a response no later than May 18, 2009 (Doc. 337). Neuman failed to submit a timely response, and belatedly filed a 32-page screed on May 28, 2009 (Doc. 338). Because Neuman's response was untimely, the Court ordered it stricken (Doc. 340) and does not consider the arguments therein in determining whether sanctions are warranted.*fn1

However, the Court did hold an in-person hearing on May 29, 2009, at which Neuman was given the opportunity to explain why sanctions ought not be issued. But he presented no such explanation, preferring instead to complain about the Court's handling of his cases.

Thus, for the reasons stated below, the Court SANCTIONS Neuman in the form of a $1,000 penalty to the Court.

B. Analysis

FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 11(b) states that

[b]y presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper-whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it-an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and ...


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