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Emrit v. National Institutes of Health

United States District Court, District of Nevada

March 30, 2015



Presently before the court is pro se plaintiff Ronald Satish Emrit’s motion to reopen his case. (Doc. # 19). Also before the court is plaintiff’s motion to vacate order dismissing the case. (Doc. # 20). Defendants have not responded to either motion.

I. Discussion

Plaintiff, a graduate of St. Thomas University School of Law, was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2004. (Doc. # 1). The diagnosing doctor informed plaintiff that his hepatitis C could be cured with a six-month treatment of interferon and ribavirin. (Doc. # 1). From 2004 through present day, plaintiff has “consistently asked [defendants] to help him with regards to getting this six-month treatment.” (Doc. # 1). Defendants did not. (Id.). On September 15, 2014, plaintiff initiated the now-closed civil action seeking $40, 000, 000. (Id.).

Plaintiff’s complaint repeated nearly verbatim the same one paragraph. (Doc. # 1). Plaintiff stated essentially that, because defendants failed to refer him to a gastroenterologist, hepatologist, and/or health management organization, the defendants have placed the plaintiff at a “higher risk of dying young from Hepatitis C, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and/or liver failure.” (Doc. # 1).

Because defendants failed to assist plaintiff with getting treatment for his hepatitis C, plaintiff asserted defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). (Doc. # 1). Plaintiff further asserted that defendants violated state causes of action of negligence, material breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. # 1).

On January 28, 2015, this court adopted the recommendation of Magistrate Judge Ferenbach and denied plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. # 16). Plaintiff was ordered to pay the filing fee by February 13, 2015, or the court would dismiss plaintiff’s case. (Doc. # 16). In the same order, the court denied plaintiff’s numerous, meritless motions including motions for preliminary injunction (doc. # 5), declaratory judgment (doc. # 6), summary judgment (doc. # 7), default judgment (doc. # 8), and in limine (doc. # 11).

The instant motions request the court to “reopen” his case and vacate the order dismissing his case. (See docs. ## 19, 20). However, plaintiff’s complaint has not been dismissed and his case not closed. The court has allowed plaintiff more than one-month beyond its ordered deadline to pay the filing fee. Plaintiff has still failed to pay the filing fee.

Instead of paying the filing fee and complying with court orders, plaintiff continues to file frivolous and incoherent “motions” that amount to little more than a few handwritten paragraphs (which plaintiff reuses and refiles over and over) citing to no relevant legal authority, just as he has done across the country in other courts. The court will deny plaintiff’s pending motions to reopen and to vacate order dismissing the case. Further, the court will dismiss Emrit’s claims for failure to pay the filing fee, which was due on February 13, 2015, and has still not been paid.

II. Sanctions

Federal courts can “regulate the activities of abusive litigants by imposing carefully tailored restrictions under . . . appropriate circumstances.” Ringgold-Lockhart v. Cnty. of Los Angeles, 761 F.3d 1057, 1060-62 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting De Long v. Hennessey, 912 F.2d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir.1990) (quotation marks omitted)). Pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), “enjoining litigants with abusive and lengthy [litigation] histories is one such . . . restriction” that courts may impose. Id.

Restricting access to the courts is a serious matter. “[T]he right of access to the courts is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution.” Id. (quoting Delew v. Wagner, 143 F.3d 1219, 1222 (9th Cir. 1998)). The First Amendment “right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, ” which secures the right to access the courts, has been termed “one of the most precious of the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights.” BE & K Const. Co. v. NLRB, 536 U.S. 516, 524–25 (2002) (internal quotation marks omitted, alteration in original); see also Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 n.12 (2002) (noting that the Supreme Court has located the court access right in the Privileges and Immunities clause, the First Amendment petition clause, the Fifth Amendment due process clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause).

When district courts seek to impose pre-filing restrictions, they must: (1) give litigants notice and “an opportunity to oppose the order before it [is] entered”; (2) compile an adequate record for appellate review, including “a listing of all the cases and motions that led the district court to conclude that a vexatious litigant order was needed”; (3) make substantive findings of frivolousness or harassment; and (4) tailor the order narrowly so as “to closely fit the specific vice encountered.” Ringgold-Lockhart, 761 F.3d at 1062 (quoting De Long, 912 F.2d at 1147-48).

Though the court declines to impose sanctions against Emrit at this time, the court does note that Emrit has been declared a vexatious litigant by two other districts. For example, on February 18, 2015, United States District Judge Sam Sparks entered in the Western District of Texas, case number 1:14-cv-00392-SS, an order barring plaintiff Emrit from filing any additional lawsuits in the Western District of Texas without first obtaining leave from a federal district judge in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, or a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. (Doc. # 17). . . . . . . . . . . . .

According to Judge Sparks, within the last three years, Emrit has filed “at least fifty federal lawsuits across the country alleging a litany of frivolous claims against various defendants.” (See doc. # 17) (quoting Emrit v. S. by Sw. Conference (SXSW), No. A-i 4-C ...

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