United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
STEVEN J. McAULIFFE, District Judge.
Before the court are motions filed by the Office of the Rhode Island Attorney General in both of these consolidated cases, on behalf of parties represented by that office, to restrict plaintiff's filing of future actions against state officers, agencies, and employees. See Textron Doc. No. 173; Suttell Doc. No. 91. See Textron Doc. Nos. 179, 180. Seguin has objected to the motions. See Textron Doc. No. 170, and Suttell Doc. No. 102. Co-defendants Adler, Pollock & Sheehan, P.C. ("AP&S") and McIntyre Tate, LLP ("McIntyre") have joined in the filing restriction motion in Textron, to the extent that the restriction covers all future lawsuits concerning plaintiff's Rhode Island Family Court matters.
These consolidated cases represent the third and fourth federal actions filed by plaintiff Mary Seguin ("Seguin") in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, concerning Rhode Island Family Court matters involving Seguin and either Gero Meyersiek or Marc Seguin, the fathers of her two daughters. The court in the two prior federal cases filed by Seguin, Seguin v. Bedrosian, No. 12-cv-614-JD-LM (D.R.I.) ("Bedrosian"), and Seguin v. Chafee, No. 12-cv-708-JD (D.R.I.) ("Chafee"), dismissed all of Seguin's claims in those cases. See Bedrosian, 2013 WL 367722 (D.R.I. Jan. 30, 2013), aff'd, No. 13-1242 (1st Cir. Nov. 1, 2013); Chafee, 2012 WL 6553621, at *7 (D.R.I. Dec. 14, 2012), reconsideration denied, 2013 WL 124301 (D.R.I. Jan. 9, 2013), aff'd, No. 13-1241 (1st Cir. Nov. 1, 2013). In a separate order this date, this court granted defendants' motions to dismiss all claims in these consolidated cases, upon finding, among other things, that Seguin's claims were barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel, based on rulings issued in Bedrosian and Chafee.
This court's order granting those motions to dismiss terminates a temporary filing restriction placed upon Seguin in these consolidated cases, generally preventing her from filing documents in these cases while the motions to dismiss remained pending. See Suttell Doc. No. 108; Textron Doc. No. 174. In issuing that temporary filing restriction, the court adopted then Magistrate Judge McCafferty's report and recommendation (see Suttell Doc. No. 70; Textron Doc. No. 158), detailing incidents of Seguin's harassing and abusive litigation tactics that had wasted the court's and parties' resources. See Suttell Doc. No. 108; Textron Doc. No. 174.
The state defendants, in their motions, seek an order permanently enjoining Seguin from filing future actions in this court against any state agencies or employees, in light of her history of vexatious litigation asserting the same claims. AP&S and McIntyre have joined that motion, to the extent that they seek to enjoin the filing of any lawsuits arising out of Seguin's Family Court matters.
As a preliminary matter, Seguin asserts that this court should be disqualified from ruling on those motions because she has filed a judicial misconduct complaint against the judges assigned to this case. Seguin has requested recusal of the New Hampshire judges assigned to these cases a number of times in each case for similar reasons, and each of those motions has been denied. See, e.g., Suttell Doc. Nos. 19 and 106; Textron Doc. Nos. 157. Nothing in the record warrants reconsideration of those rulings, and nothing requires this court to hold the pending motions in abeyance at this time.
II. Filing Restriction
"Federal courts plainly possess discretionary powers to regulate the conduct of abusive litigants." Cok v. Fam. Ct. , 985 F.2d 32, 34 (1st Cir. 1993). This power encompasses the ability to enjoin a pro se party from filing frivolous and vexatious pleadings. See United States v. Gomez-Rosario , 418 F.3d 90, 101 (1st Cir. 2005). Where a litigant has demonstrated a propensity to file repeated suits, involving the same or similar claims of a frivolous or vexatious nature, a bar on further filings is appropriate. Castro v. United States , 775 F.2d 399, 409 (1st Cir. 1985) (per curiam), abrogated on other grounds by Stevens v. Dep't of Treasury , 500 U.S. 1 (1991).
A filing ban should occur only where clearly indicated by the record in a particular case, including, for example, a history of repetitive frivolous filings, and only after the plaintiff has been warned that filing restrictions are contemplated. Cok , 985 F.2d at 35. An injunction on the ability of a plaintiff to file lawsuits must be tailored to the ...