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NASH v. UNITED STATES DOJ

March 3, 1997

JOSEPH V. NASH, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRIS

 It would be difficult to imagine a case that has been gotten into a less acceptable posture than this FOIA action which has been brought on behalf of plaintiff, who apparently is an accountant convicted of offenses that are unknown to this Court.

 Plaintiff, appearing prior to the initiation of this suit to have represented himself, engaged in a protracted dispute over 16 pages of materials, the significance of which is unelucidated by the correspondence and pleadings. When he ultimately was dissatisfied with what was produced in response to his FOIA request, a complaint was filed in this Court. It was signed by Frederick David Foster, a member of the bar of this Court, and it also bore the name "Eric Mendelsohn, P.A.," of North Palm Beach, Florida. No time was wasted in non-compliance with the Rules of this Court: Rule 106(e) provides in part: "The first filing by or on behalf of a party shall have in the caption the name and full residence address of the party." There was no residence address for the plaintiff; rather, only Mr. Mendelsohn's Florida business address was given. *fn1"

 Thereafter, on July 14, 1995, a Joint Statement of the Parties Pursuant to Rule 206(d) was stated. Inter alia, the Court was advised that a possibility of settlement existed, that no discovery was needed, and that the case could be disposed of on summary judgment. A briefing schedule was agreed on. That schedule was formalized by an Order of the Court dated July 19, 1995.

 A joint motion for enlargement of time was filed on August 17, 1995; that was accepted by the Court by Order dated August 22, 1995.

 Next, because so much of the requested information had been released and settlement appeared likely, on September 15, 1995, a Joint Motion To Suspend Briefing Schedule was filed. By Order dated September 19, 1995, that motion was granted.

 Then began an almost bizarre series of submissions which have led to the issuance of this Memorandum Order. This Court's Rule 106(a) is quite clear:

 
All papers relating to a pending action shall be filed with the Clerk unless otherwise directed by the court.

 Similarly clear is our Rule 106(b):

 
Except as requested by a judge, correspondence shall not be directed by the parties or their attorneys to a judge, nor shall papers be left with or mailed to a judge for filing.

 On one occasion, Florida attorney Mendelsohn sent a pleading to chambers, rather than to the Clerk, for filing. As a courtesy, a law clerk of the undersigned would have caused the document to be filed, but could not because the document also violated this Court's Rule 104(c), which provides:

 
An attorney who is a member in good standing of the bar of any United States Court or of the highest court of any State, but who is not a member of the bar of this Court, may file papers in this Court only if such attorney joins of record a member in good standing of the bar of this Court. All paper submitted by non-members of the bar of this Court must be signed by such counsel and by a member of the bar of this court joined in compliance with this rule.
 
This office was under the impression that we had reached a settlement with the Department of Justice regarding disclosure of documents and payment of attorneys [ sic ] fees. Unfortunately, as it came time to finalize the settlement, the Justice Department refused to certify that they had released all relevant documents and proposed a ...

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