United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS AND
STEPHAN M. VIDMAR United States Magistrate Judge.
and their attorney have made numerous factual allegations in
the course of this litigation that are simply beyond the
pale. They have no evidence to support these fantastical
allegations, and their reasons for making them are non
sequiturs. I find that by making these unsupported
allegations, Plaintiffs and their attorney, Arash Kashanian,
have abused the judicial process and should be sanctioned. I
recommend that the Court award Defendants Judah Ben Montano,
A. Arroyo, and E. Montijo attorney's fees in the total
amount of $17, 177.50, pursuant to 43 U.S.C. § 1988, 28
U.S.C. § 1927, and the Court's inherent authority,
plus interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961, with half to
be paid by Plaintiffs and half by Mr. Kashanian personally.
hard to believe, but this all started as a simple dispute
between Plaintiffs and their landlord. An avalanche of
litigation ensued: an eviction case in Santa Fe County
Magistrate Court and three separate appeals therefrom; three
criminal complaints against Plaintiffs for misdemeanor
harassment of the landlord; seven civil lawsuits,
this federal action. Plaintiffs have incurred adverse rulings
at virtually every turn. Gerard complained to the Judicial
Standards Commission about Judge Sena, who ruled against her
in the eviction case; the Commission dismissed the complaint.
[Doc. 8] at 20; [Doc. 8-1] at 31. Gerard or her attorney
filed at least four complaints against the landlord's
attorney with the Disciplinary Board; the Board has taken no
action on those complaints. [Doc. 8] at 42. Gerard made a
claim against the landlord's homeowner's insurance
policy; the claim was denied. Id. at 20, 54. Gerard
filed a tort-claims notice alleging that the criminal charges
brought against her and Plaintiff Ross were wrongful; that
claim was denied. Id. at 29; [Doc. 8-1] at 76.
Gerard complained to the State Attorney General about Judge
Sena; the Attorney General's office declined to
investigate. [Doc. 8] at 25; [Doc. 8-1] at 58.
surmise that there can be but one explanation for this series
of adverse outcomes: There exists “a massive conspiracy
. . . [which] involves almost the entirety of the Santa Fe
Judicial District Court [sic], the Santa Fe Magistrate Court,
the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department, and at the helm of the
Criminal Enterprise, the Attorney General for the State of
New Mexico.” [Doc. 8] at 2. They see “[t]his case
[a]s parallel to the 1973 Watergate scandal[.]”
Id. at 35. And this criminal conspiracy, they are
convinced, is collusion between the “Lesbian
Sisterhood” and “Nuestra
allege that their landlord had wanted to break the lease in
order to get higher rent from someone else. They contend that
the landlord had no lawful way out of the lease, so, with the
help of several judges, she had them unlawfully evicted.
Plaintiffs allege that the landlord and the judges are all
are members of the “Lesbian Sisterhood,
” whose purpose is “to ensure that any lesbians
[sic] rights are held above all others.” Id.
at 37. Plaintiffs have alleged that the Chief Judge of the
First Judicial District Court and her life partner are,
respectively, the “titular head” and “chief
advisor” of the “Lesbian Sisterhood,
” and that the landlord is the
“Secretary-Treasurer.” Id. at 37. They
assert that the Chief Judge and her partner “are in
charge of a massive legal slush fund . . . in the seven
figures, ” from which the landlord's attorney has
been paid. Id. at 20, 36.
assert that once Plaintiffs began to fight the eviction and
accuse the judges of colluding with the landlord and her
attorney, another criminal organization got involved:
“Nuestra Familia.” Plaintiffs allege
that the State Attorney General, Defendant Balderas, is the
“consigliere” of “Nuestra
Familia” or “Cosa Nostra.”
Id. at 37, 44. Plaintiffs allege that Balderas
wanted to prevent them from exposing the “Lesbian
Sisterhood's” corruption of the Santa Fe
courts and to protect the landlord and the unlawful eviction.
In fact, they assert that “the entire county of Santa
Fe is being run as a crime syndicate resembling the
‘Cosa Nostra' as portrayed in the
Godfather films, the Goodfellas movie, and
. . . the Sopranos HBO Series.” Id.
at 37. As is particularly relevant here, Plaintiffs allege
that Balderas provided his “Jefe de Calle,
” City of Santa Fe Police Department Lieutenant Judah
Ben Montano, to the landlord and her attorney as a
“point man” for the crusade against Plaintiffs.
Id. at 12, 18. Plaintiffs allege that in June of
2016, on Defendant Montano's order, Defendant police
officers Arroyo and Montijo wrongfully entered the rental
property (where Plaintiffs were still living) with the
landlord and mistreated Plaintiffs. Id. at 18, 81.
filed their lawsuit in this Court on October 10, 2016. [Doc.
1]. They amended their complaint on October 12, 2016. [Doc.
8]. They have sued dozens of the people they allege are
involved in the “Lesbian Sisterhood” and
“Cosa Nostra, ” including state court
judges, their clerks' office staff members, law
enforcement officers, attorneys from the Judicial Standards
Commission and the Disciplinary Board, the landlord, the
landlord's attorney, the landlord's homeowner's
insurance company, Plaintiffs' former neighbor, and
others. Plaintiffs have asserted RICO claims, violations of
their civil rights under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, and they
asked for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment. [Doc.
8]. They asked this Court to refer the matter to the United
States Attorney for criminal prosecution. They further asked
this Court to intervene in the state court cases, including
their criminal prosecutions, to reverse certain unfavorable
rulings. Id. Finally, Plaintiffs demanded $1.776
billion in damages. Id. at 87.
the City Defendants (Judah Ben Montano, A. Arroyo, and E.
Montijo) had not answered the Amended Complaint by November
8, 2016, Plaintiffs moved for default judgments against them
in the amount of $10 million each. [Docs. 34-36]. However,
Plaintiffs had not requested entry of default by the Court
Clerk as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). The Honorable Paul
J. Kelly, Jr., United States Circuit Judge, who is presiding
in this case, denied the motions for default judgment on
November 29, 2016. [Doc. 68]. He did so for several reasons:
Plaintiffs had not secured an entry of default; the City
Defendants had answered on November 16, 2016; Plaintiffs had
identified no prejudice in the eight-day delay; and because
of the Court's preference to decide cases on the merits.
Defendants Montano, Arroyo, and Montijo moved to dismiss
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on December 15, 2016. [Doc. 90].
When briefing was complete, [Docs. 100, 109], Judge Kelly
granted the motion on January 31, 2017, [Doc. 137]. Final
judgment was entered on April 18, 2017. [Doc. 190].
Plaintiffs appealed, [Doc. 197], but the appeal was dismissed
for lack of prosecution on June 13, 2017, [Doc. 229].
Defendants Montano, Arroyo, and Montijo now move for
sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel pursuant to 43
U.S.C. § 1988, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and the
Court's inherent authority. [Docs. 158]. They argue that
they should be awarded their attorney fees because the
lawsuit was brought only to harass them and that the factual
allegations asserted against them are groundless.
Id. at 1-2. They further argue that the
circumstances here demonstrate Plaintiffs' and their
counsel's bad faith. [Doc. 202] at 5-6. Judge Kelly
referred the motion to me for proposed findings and a
recommended disposition. [Doc. 191]. The motion is fully
briefed. [Docs. 166, 179, 202, 223]. No hearing is necessary
because the motions can be decided on the briefing. Having
considered the relevant portions of the record, the briefing,
and the relevant law, I recommend that the motion be granted.
for Awarding Fees under § 1988
prevailing defendant may recover an attorney's fee only
where the suit was vexatious, frivolous, or brought to harass
or embarrass the defendant.” Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429 n.2 (1983). “A
complaint is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Blakely v. USAA Cas.