The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.
This matter comes before the Court on a motion by Defendants Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Drinker Biddle & Shanley, LLP, Andrew White, Robert Ciolek, Karyn Nufrio, and Essex County Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (collectively the "Moving Defendants") for sanctions against Plaintiff Marc Nufrio pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant the motion and sanction Mr. Nufrio.
I.Factual and Procedural Background
Mr. Nufrio has a long history of frivolous litigation. Mr. Nufrio and his wife, Defendant Karyn Nufrio, divorced in 1999. Since that time, Mr. Nufrio has continuously sued his wife and any other party or entity that has had any involvement in the related litigation. He has been sanctioned at least four different times relating to this incessant litigation:
* On December 22, 2002, the Honorable Thomas P. Zampino, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, barred Mr. Nufrio from filing any suits or motions in the entire State of New Jersey naming Ms. Nufrio as a defendant for a period of six months.
* On January 12, 2004, the Honorable Dennis V. Nieves, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, found that Mr. Nufrio's "countless requests are duplicative, unintelligible and lack any legal basis." Judge Nieves also noted that Mr. Nufrio had "attempted in his filings to modify many prior orders that have either previously been litigated and decided by other Courts or upheld [on appeal]." Among various relief he granted, Judge Nieves barred Mr. Nufrio from making further baseless filings naming Ms. Nufrio as a defendant because Mr. Nufrio's conduct "amounted to harassment, vexatious litigation and an abuse of process." Judge Nieves also ordered Mr. Nufrio to pay $7,500 in attorney's fees as a sanction. Finally, Judge Nieves further ordered that Mr. Nufrio would face sanctions of $500 for any future frivolous filings.
* On December 14, 2004, the Honorable Ariel A. Rodriguez, P.J.A.D., Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, found that Mr. Nufrio's objective was "to harass his adversary [Ms. Nufrio]" and barred Mr. Nufrio from further filings in the suit. Judge Rodriguez also entered an order to show cause why Mr. Nufrio should not be ordered to pay attorney's fees.
* On March 14, 2006, the Honorable Joseph L. Rea, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, ordered Mr. Nufrio to pay $5,000 as a monetary sanction for his litigation conduct. Judge Rea also ordered Mr. Nufrio to pay $2,000 in attorney's fees.
More recently, on August 20, 2009, the Honorable Joseph J. Riva, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Passaic County, warned Mr. Nufrio that "your motion is frivolous, [and] as sure as I'm sitting here, there will be sanctions." *fn1
On June 3, 2011, Mr. Nufrio filed the above-captioned action with this Court. His list of defendants grew far beyond his ex-wife to include various parties that he alleged were involved in deprivation of various unspecified civil and constitutional rights. Aside from Ms. Nufrio, he named as defendants in this action: Patricia Quintavella; Morris/Sussex Vicinage Probation Services; the State of New Jersey; the County of Morris; Morris County Sheriff; Ms. Nufrio's former pro bono counsel and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, the firm with which her pro bono counsel was associated; Drinker Biddle & Shanley, a predecessor entity to Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP that no longer exists; the Administrative Office of the Courts (presumably of New Jersey); Essex County Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, a nonprofit organization that previously provided free legal services to Ms. Nufrio; and various fictitious entities.
On December 5, 2011, this Court dismissed the above-captioned action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.*fn2 ECF No. 22. The Court found that the parties were not completely diverse because both Mr. Nufrio and various defendants resided in New Jersey. The Court also found that it lacked federal question jurisdiction over the action. In doing so, the Court noted the frivolous nature of Mr. Nufrio's papers:
Despite being seventy-two pages in length, the Complaint alleges no specific statements with respect to these Counts, and it does not allege how these unspecified statements could violate either Section 1983 or any federal civil discrimination statute. Indeed, the Court is at a loss to see how any of the factual allegations of the Complaint could state any causes of action with respect to these statutes. The Counts appear to have resulted from shotgun pleading, modeled after some kind of form complaint, and drafted with the intent of alleging that nearly every defendant violated some vague federal law through essentially unspecified conduct. The references to non-specific federal law scattered throughout these allegations appear to be little more than an attempt to create federal jurisdiction. Id. at 4.
On December 9, 2011, the Moving Defendants filed this motion for sanctions alleging that Mr. Nufrio's filings necessary failed for multiple reasons -- including the lack of subject matter jurisdiction -- and arguing that Mr. Nufrio made ...