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 made a mockery of these
proceedings. Defendant Richards, for a fourth time, has moved
for sanctions against Plaintiffs and Mr. Kashanian in the
form of attorney's fees. In Proposed Findings and
Recommended Dispositions issued concurrently herewith, I have
recommended that Plaintiffs and Mr. Kashanian be ordered to
pay the attorney's fees of several other Defendants, all
of whom are represented by counsel. Defendant Richards,
however, represents himself. As I have explained to Richards
previously, pro se litigants-even if they are attorneys
themselves-are not entitled to attorney's fees under 42
U.S.C. § 1988 or under 28 U.S.C. § 1927. For the
same reasons, I recommend that the Court decline to award him
attorney's fees under its inherent authority.
Additionally, Richards fails to cite any authority for his
novel argument that he should be awarded paralegal fees as a
“cost.” Absent authority to support his position,
the request should be denied. See Sorbo v. UPS, 432
F.3d 1169, 1179-80 (10th Cir. 2005) (explaining that the
district court “has no discretion to award items as
costs that are not set out in [28 U.S.C. §]
1920.”). Finally, under the egregious circumstances of
this case, I recommend that the Court deny Plaintiffs'
Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions against Defendant Richards.
Simply put, even if Defendant Richards violated Rule 11, it
would be unjust for Plaintiffs to take any award.
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 allege that attorneys
with the Judicial Standards Commission, the Disciplinary
Board, and the landlord's homeowner's insurance
company are also part of this conspiracy. 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 Familia.” See, e.g.,
Id. at 37.
assert that the “Lesbian
Sisterhood's” purpose is “to ensure that
any lesbians [sic] rights are held above all others.”
Id. at 37. They allege that the Chief Judge of the
First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe 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,
Defendant Richards, has been paid. Id. at 20, 36.
assert that the State Attorney General, Defendant Balderas,
is the “consigliere” of
“Nuestra Familia” or “Cosa
Nostra.” Id. at 37, 44. 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. They assert that
Balderas ensures that everyone remains silent “in
accord with the ‘Code de Omerta.'”
Id. at 44. They allege that Balderas orchestrated
some or all of the adverse court rulings, criminal
prosecutions, and decisions by administrative bodies to take
no action on Plaintiffs' assertions of corruption.
Id. at 12, 16-18, 21, 23-27, 29, 33, 37, 44-47, 49,
52-55, 57-58, 66, 74-77, 79-83, 88. They further allege that
Defendant Richards is connected to both the
“Lesbian Sisterhood” and
“Cosa Nostra.” E.g., Id. at 37.
In fact, they allege Richards is “the lead conspirator
of the Criminal Enterprise.” Id.
filed their lawsuit in this Court on October 10, 2016. [Doc.
1]. They amended their complaint on October 12, 2016. [Doc.
8]. Besides Defendant Richards, they have sued dozens of
people they allege are involved in the “Lesbian
Sisterhood” and “Cosa Nostra,
” including state court judges, their clerks'
office staff, members of law enforcement, the attorneys from
the Judicial Standards Commission and the Disciplinary Board,
the landlord, 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 ask for
injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment. [Doc. 8]. They
ask this Court to refer the matter to the United States
Attorney for criminal prosecution. They further ask this
Court to intervene in the state court cases, including their
criminal prosecutions, to reverse certain unfavorable
rulings. Id. Finally, Plaintiffs demand $1.776
billion in damages. Id. at 87.
on, Plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order
against Richards, [Doc. 41] (“Application for
TRO”). They alleged that Richards “was a known
associate of the ‘Gambino Crime Family[.]'”
Id. at 3. They further alleged that he was relocated
to New Mexico under the Witness Protection Program.
Id. They alleged that he has repeatedly threatened
them with physical harm if they did not abandon their legal
claims. Id. They alleged that he has caused their
home be surveilled day and night. Id. They further
alleged that he hired “a masked marauder on a Kawasaki
motorcycle” to break into Plaintiff Gerard's
vehicle and steal her hearing aids. [Doc. 41-3] at 2.
has never been anything presented to this Court, nor any
suggestion that anything ever could be presented, that would
amount to evidentiary support for the claims that Defendant
Richards is connected to the mafia or the Witness Protection
Program. See [Doc. 41], including [Docs. 41-1
through 41-3]. Curiously, the Application for TRO did not ask
the Court to enjoin Defendant Richards from further harassing
Plaintiffs. See [Doc. 41]. Rather, it asked
the Court to order Defendant Richards to “furnish . . .
both his real name and the name he was born with in order for
Plaintiffs to investigate his past prior [sic] bad
acts.” Id. at 4. Defendant Richards responded
in opposition, arguing that the Application for TRO was
frivolous and requesting, among other things, that the Court
sanction Plaintiffs and their attorney. [Doc. 46] at 13, 15.
Honorable Paul J. Kelly, Jr., United States Circuit Judge,
who is presiding in this case, denied the Application for TRO
on December 2, 2016. [Doc. 77]. He found that Plaintiffs had
completely failed to address the governing standard, let
alone show a clear and unequivocal right to relief.
Id. at 2. He further found that Plaintiffs had no
corroborating evidence of their claims against Defendant
Richards. Id. Finally, Judge Kelly acknowledged
Defendant Richards' request for sanctions against
Plaintiffs and their counsel under Rule 11, and he referred
those requests to me upon a formal motion. Id. at 3.
Richards filed his formal motion requesting attorney's
fees under Rule 11 and § 1927. [Doc. 80]. After briefing
was complete, Richards filed a “corrected”
motion. [Doc. 86]. I recommended denying both motions because
Richards had failed to comply with Rule 11's safe harbor
provision. [Doc. 113] at 6-7. I further recommended that the
Court deny any attorney's fees under § 1927 because
Richards is proceeding pro se. Id. at 7-9. Finally,
I recommended denying Richards' request for
attorney's fees pursuant to the Court's inherent
authority. I found that he waived that argument because he
failed to raise it until the reply to his second motion.
Id. at 9.
seeing my recommendations, Richards attempted to resuscitate
the waived argument by “withdrawing” his first
two motions. [Docs. 114, 119]. He filed a third motion for
attorney's fees explicitly invoking the Court's
inherent authority. [Doc. 127]. Over Richards'
objections, Judge Kelly adopted my Proposed Findings and
Recommended Disposition (“PF&RD”). [Doc.
174]. He found that Richards' attempts to withdraw his
first two ...