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Oliver v. County of Chatham

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

March 30, 2018

COUNTY OF CHATHAM, et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff Anthony Oliver has filed an “Emergency” motion for a temporary restraining order as well as “immediate ex parte and . . . oral argument hearing.” Doc. 173. He seeks an injunction directing “defendants, their counsel and their co-[d]efendants from ongoing illegal activities, civil rights violations, and threats of detention and arrest.” Doc. 173 at 8. He also requests that the Court direct the United States Marshall to effect service on the various defendants. Doc. 173 at 10; doc. 181. Finally, he moves to transfer venue. Doc. 183.

         Given the procedural history of this case, Oliver's propensity to file flurries of motions, notices, and variously captioned documents with the Court, and his inclination to make serious allegations of misconduct against opposing counsel, the Court imposed special instructions applicable to any motion he filed in this case. See doc. 168 at 23-24. The Court required that:

1. The motion must include the following statement:
“I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that each fact asserted in the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date).”;
2. Any allegation of misconduct by opposing counsel must include specific facts: broad allegations of “fraud” or the like, which are not supported by specific facts, will be regarded by the Court as frivolous;
3. Oliver must promptly notify the Court if he asserts any claim of misconduct against any counsel appearing in this case with any third party, including any state bar association or the press. That notice must include the specific factual basis for the allegation, and be certified under penalty of perjury, as described above; and
4. Any misconduct allegation must include a specific explanation of the prejudice Oliver has suffered, or fears he will suffer, because of it. Thus, assertions that he has not been served with a filing must explain why the failure to receive a filing has prejudiced his case.

Id. The Court further warned him:

If he fails to comply with any of these requirements, the Court will presume he has wilfully disobeyed its Order and take appropriate measures. Oliver is warned that dismissal of this action will be the minimum sanction imposed.

Id. at 24. That was no idle threat.

         Oliver complied with the Court's instructions to amend his Complaint. Doc. 169. He then attempted to serve it upon the defendants. See generally doc. 173 (detailing Oliver's allegations concerning difficulties in effecting service). Because of obstacles he and his hired process server encountered, he moved for injunctive relief. Doc. 173. That motion substantially, if not technically, complied with the Court's instructions. He has since filed two more motions, seeking Marshal service of the Amended Complaint and renewing his motion to transfer venue. Docs. 181 & 183.

         Both motions omit the required certification of the facts alleged. See doc. 181 at 7; doc. 183 at 9. The motion to transfer makes serious allegations of threats and intimidation. Both motions also make bombastic allegations of misconduct based upon minimal (at best) factual support. See, e.g., doc. 173 at 9 (alleging that hypothetical assertion of ineffective service “is one of the many dirty tactics deployed by USAA Bradford Patrick, ” and stating “[w]hat can be said here is that the Defendants, their counsel and the civilian employees of these law enforcement agencies are nothing more then [sic] bullies with badges and state bar cards.”); doc. 183 at 3 (“Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against a group of thugs, enforcers, street criminals, crooks and members of a shake down organization called the Southern Georgia Regional Fugitive Task Force.”); id. at 4 (alleging “Defendants ROLLINS, HOWELL and MCDUFFIE was able [sic] to hire some drug addict that was appearing in [an unidentified, but presumably, state-court proceeding] for criminal charges to provide a false statement about Plaintiff wishing to beat up the witness.”). The Court is not unsympathetic to the rigors litigation imposes upon pro se parties, but even they must obey the Court's rules and its orders. See, e.g., Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 839 (11th Cir. 1989) (“[O]nce a pro se litigant is in court, he is subject to the relevant law and rules of the court, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”).

         The Court has the authority to impose sanctions, including dismissal, on pro se parties for disobeying its orders. “While dismissal is an extraordinary remedy, dismissal upon disregard of an order, especially where the litigant has been forewarned, generally is not an abuse of discretion.” Moon, 863 F.2d at 867 (emphasis added) (citing State Exchange Bank v. Hartline, 693 F.2d 1350, 1352 (11th Cir. 1982); Anthony v. Marion Cty. Gen. Hosp., 617 F.2d 1164, 1169 n. 8 (5th Cir. 980)). It also has the authority to impose sanctions for rude and disrespectful conduct. See Maus v. Ennis, 513 Fed.Appx. 872, 878 (11th Cir. 2013) (“The district court did not abuse its discretion when it imposed a default judgment against [the defendant] as a sanction” after finding “that he had exhibited rude and disrespectful behavior throughout the litigation.”). Oliver was warned. See doc. 168 at 23 (cautioning Oliver that the tone of his pleadings was inappropriate and that “[i]f he continues to pursue his claims in this manner, the Court will be forced to conclude that his object is not justice, but spectacle.”).

         Accordingly, this case should be DISMISSED with prejudice. His motions for Marshal service and for transfer to another district are DENIED as moot. Doc. 183; doc. 185. Defendants' motions to dismiss and seeking a stay of deadlines in this ...

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