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Kruskal v. Chanler

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

April 3, 2017

KERRY KRUSKAL, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHY CHANLER and BERNABE P. STRUCK, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THIRD MOTION TO RECONSIDER AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on pro se Plaintiff's Third Motion to Reconsider, Doc. 10, filed March 24, 2017.

         Plaintiff acknowledges that Defendants, who are state court clerks, have absolute immunity from Plaintiff's claims, but has, nevertheless, filed a Third Motion to Reconsider. The Court denies Plaintiff's Third Motion to Reconsider for the reasons stated in the Court's Orders dismissing this case, denying Plaintiff's First Motion to Reconsider, and denying Plaintiff's Second Motion to Reconsider. See Doc. 4, filed January 25, 2017, Doc. 7, filed March 6, 2017, and Doc. 9, filed March 17, 2017.

         Because Plaintiff has continued to file meritless motions after the Court has explained that the relief he seeks is not available, the Court finds that filing restrictions are appropriate so that the Court does not expend valuable resources addressing future meritless motions.

         Court's Power to Impose Filing Restrictions

         The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has discussed the Court's power to impose filing restrictions and the procedure for imposing filing restrictions:

“[T]he right of access to the courts is neither absolute nor unconditional and there is no constitutional right of access to the courts to prosecute an action that is frivolous or malicious.” Tripati v. Beaman, 878 F.2d 351, 353 (10th Cir.1989) (per curiam) (citation omitted). “There is strong precedent establishing the inherent power of federal courts to regulate the activities of abusive litigants by imposing carefully tailored restrictions under the appropriate circumstances.” Cotner v. Hopkins, 795 F.2d 900, 902 (10th Cir.1986). “Even onerous conditions may be imposed upon a litigant as long as they are designed to assist the ... court in curbing the particular abusive behavior involved, ” except that they “cannot be so burdensome ... as to deny a litigant meaningful access to the courts.” Id. (brackets and internal quotation marks omitted). “Litigiousness alone will not support an injunction restricting filing activities. However, injunctions are proper where the litigant's abusive and lengthy history is properly set forth.” Tripati, 878 F.2d at 353 (citations omitted). “[T]here must be some guidelines as to what [a party] must do to obtain the court's permission to file an action.” Id. at 354. “In addition, [the party] is entitled to notice and an opportunity to oppose the court's order before it is instituted.” Id. A hearing is not required; a written opportunity to respond is sufficient. See id.

Landrith v. Schmidt, 732 F.3d 1171, 1174 (10th Cir. 2013).

         Litigant's Abusive History

         In its Order dismissing this case, the Court explained that absolute judicial immunity extends to clerks of court. See Doc. 4 at 3 (citing cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit).

         Plaintiff then filed his First Motion for Reconsideration asserting that the clerks committed gross negligence by not following the state court judge's instructions and the law, and consequently, the clerks cannot have immunity. See Doc. 6. In its Order denying Plaintiff's First Motion to Reconsider, the Court explained that a motion to alter or amend a judgment should be granted only to correct manifest errors of law or to present newly discovered evidence, and noted that Plaintiff had not shown any manifest errors of law and had not presented any newly discovered evidence. See Doc. 7 at 2. The Court also noted that Plaintiff's assertion, that the defendant court clerks cannot have immunity because they were grossly negligent, is contrary to established case law. See Doc. 7 at 2-3 (citing cases from the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit).

         Plaintiff then filed his Second Motion to Reconsider arguing that granting the defendant clerks immunity for their mistakes does not serve the public good. See Doc. 8. Plaintiff's Second Motion to Reconsider did not show any manifest errors of law, did not present any newly discovered evidence, and did not cite any legal authority to support his argument that the defendant clerks should not have immunity. In its Order denying Plaintiff's Second Motion to Reconsider, the Court explained that it “cannot and will not issue a ruling that is clearly contrary to case law from the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.” Doc. 9 at 3.

         Despite the Court clearly stating that it does not have the authority to grant the relief Plaintiff is requesting, Plaintiff filed his Third Motion to Reconsider. Yet again, Plaintiff did not show any manifest errors of law, did not present any newly discovered evidence, and did not cite any legal authority to support his argument that the defendant clerks should not have immunity.

         Proposed ...


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