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Neuman v. United States

July 17, 2009


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


A. Background and Introduction

Much of the background of this case was explained in the Court's June 1, 2009 Order (Doc. 341). However, the Court repeats that background here to provide a point of reference.

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." These arguments had already been raised and rejected multiple times before. Thus, believing that Neuman's appeal had been dismissed, the Court 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. (Doc. 331).

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. (Doc. 303).

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 did not consider the arguments therein in determining whether sanctions are warranted.

However, the Court did hold an in-person hearing on May 29, 2009, at which time 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. As a result, the Court sanctioned Neuman in the form of a $1,000 penalty to the Court pursuant to Rule 11(b).

On June 9, 2009, Neuman filed a motion to reconsider sanctions (Doc. 342). Therein, he complains that he was made to wait for two hours past his scheduled hearing time as a result of a criminal sentencing, which ran longer than anticipated. He also claims that he was "intimidated into silence" during the hearing,*fn1 because the Court started by informing Neuman that serious matters fill the Court's docket, including that morning's criminal proceedings, both of which resulted in lengthy sentences for the defendants.*fn2 Additionally, he claims the undersigned District Judge's statement that Court employees had been so busy that they had not eaten lunch yet also intimidated him into thinking that if he took up too much time, he would be imprisoned. Obviously, the Court only offered this information to clarify that there are many cases on the Court's docket, and that Neuman's penchant for filing repetitive and frivolous motions simply diverts the Court's attention from other serious matters. But Neuman claims that the Court's statements were intended to intimidate and prevent him from exercising his right to defend against sanctions.

As a result, the Court set Neuman's motion for reconsideration for hearing on July 17, 2009 (Doc. 343). At the hearing, the Court permitted Neuman another opportunity to explain why he ought not be sanctioned, and why the Court's original Order ought to be reconsidered. Instead, Neuman again complained about the handling of his cases and various rulings against him-matters which this Court has repeatedly addressed in the course of resolving Neuman's motions. Neuman offered no new information, and never once explained why he ought not be sanctioned, aside from his own view that every motion in this case should have been decided in his ...

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