The opinion of the court was delivered by: Orlofsky, District Judge.
It is not often that one encounters a recidivist violator of
Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Samuel A.
Malat, ("Malat") the attorney for the Plaintiffs in this case,
however, appears to be that unique individual. As the present
motions include an unopposed Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions
against Malat, a review of his recent history is necessary.
This is not the first time Mr. Malat has been before me on a
Rule 11 motion. In August of 1999, I sanctioned him for filing
three claims that were "patently frivolous." Carlino v.
Gloucester City High School, 57 F. Supp.2d 1, 36-39 (N.J. 1999).
I also concluded that Malat had "conducted absolutely no legal
research whatsoever regarding these claims at any time before
or during the pendency of [the Carlino] litigation." I
ordered Malat to take two continuing legal education classes,
one in Attorney Professionalism and the Rules of Professional
Conduct, the other in Federal Practice and Procedure. I also
fined him $500.
Only last month, Malat was sanctioned by my colleague, Judge
Simandle, for conduct very similar to that at issue in this
case. See Leuallen v. Borough of Paulsboro, 180 F. Supp.2d 615
(N.J. 2002). Malat apparently filed a highly redundant, 160-page
Complaint, rife with "largely meritless allegations." Id. at
618 n. 5. Judge Simandle concluded, after a hearing, that there
was absolutely no justification for Malat's behavior. Id. at
616-21. Accordingly, he imposed a set of four sanctions against
Malat, including a published admonishment and a $1,000.00 fine.
Id. at 621. Malat was also required to circulate copies of
Judge Simandle's opinion to all of the Plaintiffs in the
Leuallen case, and to write a 20-page summary of the
obligations that Rule 11 imposes upon attorneys. Id.
Attorneys may not, consistent with their professional
obligations, substitute the "cut and paste" function of their
word processor for the research, contemplation, and
draftsmanship that are the necessary elements of responsible
legal representation. While that much should be obvious to any
member of the bar, it should be especially clear to Malat in
view of the fact that Judge Simandle sanctioned him for the same
unprofessional behavior he is guilty of in this case, that is,
substituting "mouse clicks" for legal judgment. See Leuallen,
180 F. Supp.2d at 618.
Unfortunately, Mr. Malat appears to regard Rule 11 as
inapplicable to him. In this case, he filed a 392-page, 1,000
paragraph Complaint that is incomprehensible in its immensity.
Worse, for all of its verbosity, many of the allegations of the
Complaint are plainly frivolous. Despite Judge Simandle's
Rule 11 sanction, a prior Rule 11 sanction by this Court, and a
pending Rule 11 motion in this case, Malat has done nothing to
remedy these clear violations of his Rule 11 obligations.
II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On November 17, 2000, the Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in this
Court seeking damages, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985, 1986, and
1988[sic], for violations of their First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as under other
state and common law theories. For reasons that will shortly
become clear, the exact compass of the Complaint is difficult to
discern. The Complaint, signed by Samuel A. Malat, Esq.,
("Malat") named twenty-nine different state and federal official
Defendants, each sued in both their individual and official
capacities, see Compl. ¶ 71, as well as a variety of
institutional Defendants, ranging from the South Woods State
Prison to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The allegations
of the Complaint spanned 1,020 numbered paragraphs and covered
392 pages. The Complaint was not tabbed, nor did it contain an
index or table of contents.
On March 9, 2001, Ronald L. Bollheimer, Esq., Deputy Attorney
General for the State of New Jersey, ("Bollheimer") wrote to
Malat on behalf of the State Defendants. Ragonese Cert. Exh. A.
Invoking the "safe harbor" provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c),
Bollheimer warned Malat that he intended to move for sanctions
under Rule 11 in the event Malat failed to correct what were, in
Bollheimer's view, numerous flagrant violations of the Rule.
Id. at 1. Most prominently, Bollheimer noted that the
voluminous, largely duplicative Complaint appeared to be
inconsistent with the requirement that a complaint contain "a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
is entitle to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Id. Bollheimer
also observed that many of the claims alleged in the Complaint
appeared to be frivolous, especially the claims under § 1983
against state entities, state officers acting in their official
capacities, and federal officers and entities. Id. at 2-3.
David Ragonese, Esq., another Deputy Attorney General,
subsequently wrote again to Malat on March 22, 2001, warning
Malat that he intended to file a motion for sanctions on March
30. Ragonese Cert. Exh. B. It appears that Malat responded, on
March 30, 2001, with a request for an extension of time in which
to bring the Complaint into compliance. Ragonese Cert. Exh. C.
Ragonese agreed, indicating that he would wait until April 23,
2001, before proceeding.
The State Defendants filed this Motion to Strike and for
Rule 11 Sanctions on April 24, 2001. Malat has made no response to
the Motion in the eight months
since it ...