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Pavilonis v. King

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
626 F.2d 1075 (1980)


Anne Pavilonis (plaintiff) filed two civil-rights actions in federal district court against various individuals (defendants) connected with public schools in Boston, Massachusetts. The complaints were close in time and nearly identical. Additionally, the complaints provided no information about Pavilonis’s claims except that they were brought under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and under 42 U.S.C. § 1986 to redress the defendants’ deprivation of a right and knowing failure to prevent a wrong. When Pavilonis moved for appointment of counsel, the two actions were referred to a magistrate, who found five other complaints filed by Pavilonis against some of the same defendants. Because the complaints were devoid of information that would assist the defendants in answering and also violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 8, the magistrate denied the motions for appointment of counsel and recommended that Pavilonis be restricted from filing new actions without permission from a district judge. The district judge approved the magistrate’s recommendation, dismissed the complaints, and issued an order that enjoined Pavilonis from filing new lawsuits or additional papers without permission from a judge of the district court. Pavilonis appealed, arguing that enjoining litigation was unconstitutional.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bownes, J.)

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