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Steven Jude Hoffenberg v. United States

July 26, 2012

STEVEN JUDE HOFFENBERG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, Chief Judge:

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

This Opinion concerns an Amended Complaint [Docket Item 28] that Plaintiff Steven Jude Hoffenberg, a federal inmate in New Jersey, filed on February 10, 2012, and a Motion to Change Venue [Docket Item 29] that Plaintiff also filed on February 10, 2012.

On February 6, 2012, this Court issued an opinion and order [Docket Items 26 and 27, respectively] dismissing the claims that Plaintiff raised in his Complaint filed on June 1, 2010 [Docket Item 1]. The dismissal was with prejudice for all claims except for Plaintiff's medical malpractice claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), for which the Court granted permission to file an Amended Complaint pursuant to certain conditions.

Hoffenberg v. United States, No. 10 Civ. 2788, 14 (D.N.J. Feb. 6, 2012). In his Amended Complaint, the Plaintiff failed to comply with the Court's conditions and failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction. The Plaintiff's medical malpractice claim will now be dismissed with prejudice. He will not be granted further leave to amend.

The Plaintiff's motion to change venue will also be denied, as he has not shown that either the convenience of the parties or the interests of justice require a change in venue. His motion to change venue could be interpreted as a motion for recusal, but the Plaintiff has not satisfied that standard.

II. BACKGROUND

In 1995, Plaintiff pled guilty to various fraud charges relating to his service as chief executive officer, president and chairman of the board of Towers Financial Corporation. United States v. Hoffenberg, No. 94 Cr. 213 (RWS), 95 Cr. 321 (RWS), 1997 WL 96563 (S.D.N.Y. March 5, 1997) (sentencing opinion). He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment and assessed large fines. Id. From prison he has filed numerous challenges to his conviction, sentence, and conditions of confinement. Hoffenberg v. United States, 333 F. Supp. 2d 166, 169-171 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (recounting some of Hoffenberg's suits). On June 1, 2010, Plaintiff brought this action against Defendant United States.

A. A Previous, Related Action: Civil Action No. 09-4784

On September 21, 2009, Plaintiff filed a similar action. Hoffenberg v. Grondolsky, Civ. Action No. 09-4784 (RMB), 2009 WL 3230330 (D.N.J. Sept. 30, 2009). Because of that case's relationship to this one, the Court will briefly detail its history.

The complaint in Civil Action 09-4784 was 100-pages "encompassing 371 virtually incomprehensible paragraphs," and presiding Judge Bumb dismissed it for failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Hoffenberg v. Grondolsky, Civ. Action No. 09-4784 (RMB), 2011 WL 124632, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 14, 2011). Judge Bumb tried to help Plaintiff comply with the Federal Rules, Id. at *5-6, but he continued to file incomprehensible and prolix pleadings, Id. at *4-9. Judge Bumb eventually dismissed the matter with prejudice. Id. at *18.

On November 30, 2011, after providing Plaintiff with notice and an opportunity to respond, Judge Bumb entered a limited order of preclusion against him. Hoffenberg v. Grondolsky, Civ. Action No. 09-4784 (RMB) (D.N.J. Nov. 30, 2011). For all non-emergent non-habeas civil actions in which Hoffenberg seeks in forma pauperis status, he must file a one-page single-sided application for leave to file pleadings. The application must contain the information necessary to avoid frivolous or malicious filings, including a brief statement ensuring that the claims have not previously been decided. Id.

B. The Present Action: The Court's Prior Dismissal

The instant matter was commenced on June 1, 2010, and is substantially similar to Civ. Action No. 09-4784. The Court permitted the Complaint to be filed without prepayment of fees, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915. [Docket Item 27, Feb. 6, 2012 Order, at 1.] The Plaintiff's Complaint included the following claims: (1) an access to courts claim based on prison officials obstructing Plaintiff's ability to speak with attorneys by telephone and based on seizure of legal documents; (2) a claim that Plaintiff should not have been placed in solitary confinement because of a false incident report; (3) a claim involving medical negligence; (4) a claim that the other torts identified in this action were in retaliation for Plaintiff's cooperation in an investigation; and ...


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