Mendez v. Draham
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
182 F. Supp. 2d 430 (2002)
Through their attorney, Samuel Malat, Mendez and others (plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit in federal court against 29 state and federal officials, in their individual and official capacities, as well as numerous state and federal institutional entities (defendants). The plaintiffs sought relief under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985-86, and 1988, alleging numerous constitutional violations as well as state and common law claims. The complaint ran 392 pages in length, contained no index or table of contents, and comprised 1,020 numbered paragraphs. Certain allegations were repeated over and over for each plaintiff, claim, and set of defendants. Counsel for the state defendants informed Malat that many claims appeared to be frivolous, especially the § 1983 claims asserted against federal defendants, state entities, and state officers acting in their official capacities. Counsel further asserted that the complaint violated Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). If Malat failed to remedy the defects, the state defendants said they would move for sanctions under FRCP 11. After giving Malat additional time to make corrections, which he failed to do, the state defendants moved to strike the complaint and asked for sanctions. Within the previous 18 months, Malat had twice received Rule 11 sanctions, including fines, an order to take continuing legal education courses, and an order to write a 20-page summary of Rule 11.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Orlofsky, J.)
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