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Mikkilineni v. Penn National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co.

June 13, 2003

M.R. MIKKILINENI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PENN NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE CO. ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, United States District Judge.

Document Nos. 3, 4, 16

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SANCTIONING THE PLAINTIFF BY DISMISSING THE CASE

I. INTRODUCTION

The instant action pertains to a contract dispute between the plaintiff's engineering corporation, Talasila, and the United States. This case comes before the court on the court's order directing the plaintiff to show cause why the court should not sanction him by dismissing the action. The plaintiff circumvented an order from this court by filing the complaint in this action five weeks after the court struck an identical complaint as filed in a different case. After reviewing the records of this case and many other cases filed by the plaintiff, the court determines that to protect the integrity of the court, dismissal is the most appropriate sanction for the plaintiff's misconduct. Accordingly, the court sanctions the plaintiff by dismissing this action.

II. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff filed the instant complaint on November 12, 2002. The plaintiff's tort, contract, fraud, and civil rights complaint alleges countless convoluted facts relating to his company, Talasila, and defendants Penn National Mutual Casualty Insurance ("Penn"), Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote ("Dickie"), and the United States. See generally Compl. The subject matter of the complaint arises out of work performed by Talasila pursuant to a contract with the United States ("the Project"). E.g., id. at 5, 8, 12-14. Defendant Penn issued performance and payment bonds on behalf of Talasila in connection with the Project, and defendant Dickie is the law firm that represented Penn in lawsuits against the plaintiff and related to the Project. Id. at 17-18; Penn's Mot. to Dismiss at 3. The complaint also extensively details prior litigation regarding the Project and "fraud upon the court" allegedly committed by the defendants during that litigation. See generally Compl.

At the time the plaintiff initiated this action, the plaintiff had another pending case in this court against the same defendants, civil action 01-2287.*fn1 A paragraph-by-paragraph comparison of the first amended complaint in civil action 01-2287 filed on February 8, 2002 and the complaint in this action reveals that virtually all of the content of the complaint in this action is contained in the first amended complaint in civil action 01-2287. Compare First Am. Compl. (01-2287) with Compl. Also, in civil action 01-2287, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on September 20, 2002 without first seeking leave to amend. The court struck the second amended complaint. Order dated Oct. 4, 2002 (01-2287). Approximately five weeks after the court struck the second amended complaint in civil action 01-2287, the plaintiff filed a photocopy of the stricken complaint to initiate this action. Id.; Compl.

On March 20, 2003, defendants Penn and Dickie filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in the instant action. The federal defendant filed a motion to dismiss on May 2, 2003. On May 29, 2003, the court filed an order directing the plaintiff to show cause why the court should not sanction him by dismissing this action, to which the plaintiff responded on June 6, 2003. Furthermore, in the related civil action 01-2287, on March 31, 2003, the court barred the plaintiff from filing additional complaints in this district without first seeking leave from the court. Two days later, in this case, defendants Penn and Dickie filed a motion to enjoin the plaintiff from filing additional complaints without leave. The court now addresses the appropriate sanction for the plaintiff's misconduct.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for Sanctioning the Plaintiff By Dismissing the Plaintiff's Action

In this section, the court discusses sanctions generally and then specifically in the context of the sanction of dismissal. Rule 11(c) provides the court authority to sanction a party on its own initiative. Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1)(B). As the D.C. Circuit has explained,

[a]s old as the judiciary itself, the inherent power enables courts to protect their institutional integrity and to guard against abuses of the judicial process with contempt citations, fines, awards of attorneys' fees, and such other orders and sanctions as they find necessary, including even dismissals and default judgments.

Shepherd v. Am. Broad. Co., 62 F.3d 1469, 1472 (D.C. Cir. 1995). When the federal rules alone do not provide courts with enough authority to protect their integrity and prevent abuses of the judicial process, the inherent power to sanction fills the ...


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