The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vanartsdalen, Senior District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Defendants Leon Hess (Hess) and Harold Ackerman (Ackerman) have
filed motions for summary judgment. They also request that
sanctions be imposed upon plaintiff, Doris McKinney Gambrell
(Gambrell), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and
that she be enjoined from filing further actions against them
pertaining to her termination of employment from the Amerada Hess
Corporation without first seeking leave of court. For the reasons
stated herein, I will grant the motions.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Disposition of the outstanding motions in this case requires a
recital of the lengthy history of litigation relating to the
termination of plaintiff's employment from the Amerada Hess
Corporation (the Corporation). Gambrell was employed as a
steno-typist by the Corporation. On March 17, 1980, she filed a
complaint in the United States District Court for the District of
New Jersey alleging racial discrimination in the Corporation's
termination of her employment in 1977 in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.
Gambrell v. Amerada Hess Corporation, Civil Action No. 80-762
(the Title VII action). She also raised claims under the
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
42 U.S.C. § 1981. On May 20, 1981, the complaint was dismissed
with prejudice by the Honorable Harold A. Ackerman, United States
District Judge, for Gambrell's repeated failure to comply with a
discovery order. Gambrell v. Amerada Hess Corporation, Order of
May 20, 1981.
Gambrell did not appeal the dismissal, but instead, in 1982 she
filed a pro se complaint in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey, naming the Honorable Harold A.
Ackerman, Arthur N. Martin Jr., her attorney in the Title VII
action, and a number of other
individuals as defendants. Gambrell v. Arthur N. Martin Jr., et
al., Civil Action No. 82-3849 (Gambrell I). She alleged that the
defendants "engaged in conduct involving various forms of
dishonesty, deception, physical and mental threats, fraud,
conspiracy [and] misrepresentation" with respect to her Title VII
action. Gambrell I, Complaint at 1. The complaint sought
compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement of her Title VII
case, reinstatement of employment and costs and fees. Id. at 3.
The case was originally assigned to the Honorable Clarkson S.
Fisher of the District of New Jersey. However, because judicial
officers of the District of New Jersey were named as defendants,
the case was transferred to the Honorable Murray M. Schwartz of
the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Judge Schwartz granted summary judgment in favor of Judge
Ackerman and Magistrate John W. Devine, another defendant, on the
grounds of judicial immunity. Gambrell I, Memorandum Opinion and
Order of August 11, 1983. Upon transfer back to the District of
New Jersey, the Honorable Vincent Biunno granted summary judgment
as to defendant Martin, finding that there had been no
allegations in the complaint "and nothing set out by way of fact
[that] remotely asserts, or implies any, racial or other
invidious class based conduct on the part of Martin, either alone
or in concert with another" and that there was therefore no
conspiracy involving Martin under 42 U.S.C. § 1985. See
Gambrell I, Opinion and Order of August 20, 1984 at 4. The case
was then assigned to the Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise who
granted summary judgment as to the remaining defendants. Id.
Gambrell's subsequent appeals of the District Court judgments
were unsuccessful. See Gambrell v. Arthur N. Martin, Jr.,
760 F.2d 257 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1138, 105 S.Ct. 2682,
86 L.Ed.2d 700 (1985).
In 1984, Gambrell filed a second lawsuit against Judge Ackerman
and Magistrate Devine. Gambrell v. Judge Harold A. Ackerman, et
al., Civil Action No. 84-2897 (Gambrell II). The complaint in
that action alleged that Judge Ackerman had a "dearly and closely
related association and affiliation to the defendants Amerada
Hess Corporation" and that his actions in Gambrell's Title VII
action were in some way improper. Gambrell II, Complaint at 1-2.
Judge Debevoise dismissed the complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915 (d) as frivolous and malicious, noting that it
"obviously" concerned "the same conduct about which she
complained in her 1982 action." Gambrell II, Opinion and Order of
July 19, 1984 at 2.
Plaintiff then sued Judge Debevoise for his handling of
Gambrell I and Gambrell II, alleging "unethical judicial
misconduct, trial conduct, incompetence and negligence." Gambrell
v. Judge Dickinson Debevoise, Civil Action No. 84-3606, Complaint
at ¶ 3. The complaint was dismissed as Judge Debevoise was
entitled to absolute judicial immunity for his actions in
Gambrell I and Gambrell II. Gambrell v. Judge Dickinson
Debevoise, Memorandum Opinion and Order of March 8, 1985 at 8.
In 1985, Gambrell sued Judge Ackerman for the third time in
relation to the dismissal of her Title VII action. Gambrell v.
Harold A. Ackerman, Civil Action No. 85-1541 (Gambrell III). She
again alleged that Judge Ackerman's dismissal of her Title VII
action was improper and fraudulent due to his alleged
relationship with the Amerada Hess Corporation. By way of relief,
she sought reinstatement of her Title VII action. The complaint
was dismissed with prejudice on December 20, 1985 for failure to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted and failure to
join Amerada Hess, an indispensable party. Gambrell III, Opinion
and Order of December 20, 1985 at 2-3.
On June 12, 1985, Gambrell filed a motion in the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking
"reinstatement" of her Title VII action. The Honorable H. Lee
Sarokin treated her motion as one made pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60(b) and denied it as untimely and without
merit. Gambrell v. Amerada Hess Corporation, Letter Opinion and
Order of May 7, 1986. Plaintiff's
subsequent appeals to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the
Supreme Court were unsuccessful. See Gambrell v. Amerada Hess
Corporation, 813 F.2d 397 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1055,
107 S.Ct. 2195, 95 L.Ed.2d 850 (1987). On June 9, 1987, Judge
Sarokin entered an order awarding Amerada Hess costs of appeal
against Gambrell in the amount of $91.00. Id., Order of June 9,
In May of 1990, Gambrell filed a second motion for
"reinstatement" of her Title VII action, based on the
"mishandling" of the action by her former attorney and the
disciplinary action taken against Martin by the New Jersey
Supreme Court. The motion was denied by Judge Sarokin on July 20,
1990. Gambrell v. Amerada Hess Corporation, Opinion and Order of
July 20, 1990. Gambrell's appeal from that order is currently
pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
On October 9, 1990 Gambrell filed the instant case, her fourth
pro se action against Judge Ackerman. She has also named Leon
Hess, the alleged owner of the Amerada Hess Corporation, and
Arthur N. Martin, Jr., her former attorney, as defendants.
Although this case was originally assigned to the Honorable
Alfred M. Wolin of the District of New Jersey, because a judicial
official officer of the District of New Jersey has been named as
a defendant it was reassigned to me pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 292
(b). Defendants Hess and Ackerman have both moved for summary
On January 16, 1991, Gambrell filed a pleading styled
"Application for an Order for Extension of Time to Answer Summary
Judgment for Defendant Leon Hess and for an Order to compel
defendant Leon Hess to Answer Interrogatories," along with a
second document styled "Application for an Order to compel
defendant Harold Ackerman to answer Interrogatories." I treated
her first motion as one seeking to compel discovery and as a
motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f)
requesting continuance of the summary judgment motion to allow
additional discovery to be taken. I denied her motion to compel
as to defendant Hess on the grounds that the interrogatories to
which she sought answers were unrelated to the legal doctrines of
res judicata, collateral estoppel and the application of the
statute of limitations, upon which Hess relied in his motion for
summary judgment.*fn1 I also provided her with an additional
twelve days to either answer the summary judgment motion or to
request additional discovery and file affidavits in accordance
with Rule 56(f) specifying what additional discovery was
requested, what facts it would reveal and how they would preclude
summary judgment. Memorandum and Order of January 23, 1991.
On January 29, 1991, Gambrell filed a document entitled
"Affidavit of Doris McKinney Gambrell, plaintiff to Serve for
Summary Judgment and why defendants should answer
interrogatories." In the attached cover letter, she refers to her
filing as an "Affidavit of Doris McKinney Gambrell in regard to:
(a) My Motion to compel defendant Leon Hess to answer
interrogatories (b) Summary Judgment response." On February 4,
1991, plaintiff filed a document entitled "Affidavit of Doris
McKinney Gambrell regarding defendants Hess, Ackerman & Martin."
In the cover letter attached to this latest filing, Gambrell
states that it "is to serve as for any Motions pending." It thus
appears that plaintiff intends these filings to be both
affidavits in response to my order of January 23, 1991 and
answers to the motions of defendants Hess and Ackerman for
summary judgment, and I will treat them as such.
Even construed liberally, as pro se filings must be, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 595, 30 L.Ed.2d 652
(1972), plaintiff's purported affidavits do not satisfy the
requirements of Rule 56(f). They do not set forth the need for
additional discovery or specify how additional discovery would
preclude the entry of summary judgment. Plaintiff's affidavits
merely reiterate her belief that Hess should be required to
answer the interrogatories she has previously served upon him. As
I pointed out in my memorandum opinion of January 23, 1991, the
interrogatories to which Gambrell refers seek information
regarding the relationship between the defendants, information
that is relevant only to the merits of her conspiracy claim. The
motions of Hess and Ackerman are based solely on the doctrines of
res judicata, collateral estoppel and the applicable statute of
limitations. The merits of Gambrell's conspiracy claim are
irrelevant to the application of these doctrines to this case.
The information Gambrell seeks could not therefore raise a