The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge:
Friday, 31 August, 2012 02:42:49 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
On August 7, 2012, Defendants Grange Mutual Casualty Company (Grange) and Integrity Mutual Insurance Company (Integrity) filed a Motion for Sanctions. On August 9, 2012, the Defendants filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Pro Se Plaintiff Jason Lee Nieman has filed a Response to both Motions. On August 16, 2012, the Court heard oral argument on those Motions. Mr. Nieman appeared on his own behalf. Attorney Brian P. Paul appeared on behalf of Grange and Integrity.
The Plaintiff filed the Complaint on November 3, 2011, asserting a number of claims against various Defendants. Several claims and Defendants have since been dismissed. The remaining claims are against Grange and Integrity. Generally, the Plaintiff asserts that Defendants retaliated against him in violation of Title VII after learning of his prior protected activity. He also asserts claims pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Prior to the Hearing, in an Order entered on August 10, 2012, the Court temporarily enjoined the Plaintiff from doing any of the following without first obtaining leave of Court:
(1) filing any action, complaint, or claim for relief against any witness, Grange Mutual Casualty Company, Integrity Mutual Insurance Company, or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, insurers, representatives, employees, or attorneys; and
(2) contacting directly Integrity's insurers or any party to this litigation represented by counsel without counsel present.
At the Hearing, Mr. Paul stated that between the time that the Defendants filed their Motion for Preliminary Injunction and the Court's entry of a Temporary Injunction, Mr. Nieman filed another EEOC charge against Integrity and its Counsel, supplemented his criminal charges and professional ethics complaints, and sent a Rule 11 letter to Counsel stating that his emails were mis-characterized. See Transcript of Oral Argument, 23-24.
In their Motion for Sanctions, relying on Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32,44-45, 51 (1991), the Defendants ask the Court to use its inherent power to dismiss this case with prejudice and award them attorney's fees and costs for what they allege is the Plaintiff's abuse of the judicial process. They claim that Plaintiff's purpose in engaging in this conduct is to obtain a large and unmerited settlement. "District judges have the inherent authority to impose sanctions--including dismissal--when a litigant engages in conduct that abuses the judicial process." White v. Williams, 423 F. App'x 645, 646 (7th Cir. 2011).
Specifically, the Defendants contend that Plaintiff's litigation tactics have included the following: libel, subornation of perjury, unfounded lawsuits against individuals, a spurious lawsuit in Ohio federal court, frivolous motions to the court, baseless EEOC Charges, baseless Charges to Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, Illinois Department of Human Rights, and Missouri Human Rights Department, request for U.S. Attorney investigation into criminal allegations, request for Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regular investigation, repeated complaints to Defense Counsel's Managing Partner, complaint to Grange's Board of Directors, threats to run up defense costs, threats of sanctions, threats to sue potential witnesses if they fail to provide favorable evidence, threats to damage counsel's professional career, threats that Integrity executives and inside counsel will lose their jobs, and threats of criminal prosecution.
Defs' Mot. for Sanctions, at 2. Mr. Paul stated that since the motion was filed, the Plaintiff has supplemented various ethics and criminal complaints and also threatened to report him to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. See Transcript of Oral Argument, 22. Both in their Motion for Preliminary Injunction and at the Hearing, the Defendants allege that although the Plaintiff sometimes represented in pleadings that he would not be seeking any sanctions, he immediately thereafter threatened the Defendants and their Counsel with sanctions, ...