United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO ALLOW APPEAL
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
eight-month period, the Court rejected four of
Debtor-Appellant Mark Chaban's bankruptcy appeals.
See Case Nos. 2:14-cv-14559, 2:15-cv-11879,
2:15-cv-12361, 2:15-cv-13383. The Court barred Chaban from
filing further appeals without the express, prior approval of
the Court, and instructed the Clerk to reject any appeal
filed without the Court's permission “lest [Chaban]
continue to use the Court's resources for vexatious
purposes.” No. 2:15-cv-11879, ECF 10, PgID 426, 428.
The Court reminded Chaban of this restriction in two
subsequent orders, the latter of which contained a warning
that noncompliance may result in a finding of contempt.
See No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20, PgID 384; No.
2:15-cv-13383, ECF 9, PgID 103. In the instant motion, Chaban
seeks the Court's permission to file a fifth appeal, and
challenges the Court's authority to bar the appeal. ECF
11. He filed the fifth appeal before the Court addressed the
instant motion. See No. 2:17-cv-11139, ECF 1.
district courts have a “constitutional obligation to
protect their jurisdiction from conduct which impairs their
ability to carry out Article III functions.” In re
Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d 1254, 1259-61 (2d Cir. 1984)
(affirming in part a district court's injunction
prohibiting a party from, among other things, “filing
an appeal from  bankruptcy proceedings without first
obtaining leave of the court in which he seeks to file the
exercise their inherent authority, federal courts may
“‘impose carefully tailored restrictions'
upon ‘abusive litigants.'” Scott v.
Bradford, No. 13-12781, 2014 WL 6675354, at *3 (E.D.
Mich. Nov. 25, 2014) (quoting Cotner v. Hopkins, 795
F.2d 900, 902 (10th Cir. 1986)). Although a plaintiff may not
be “absolutely foreclosed from initiating an action in
a court of the United States, ” district courts may
“require one who has abused the legal process to make a
showing that a tendered lawsuit is not frivolous or vexatious
before permitting it to be filed.” Ortman v.
Thomas, 99 F.3d 807, 811 (6th Cir. 1996). “There
is nothing unusual about imposing prefiling restrictions in
matters with a history of repetitive or vexatious
litigation.” Feathers v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc.,
141 F.3d 264, 269 (6th Cir. 1998).
determine whether a pre-filing injunction is appropriate, the
Court considers: (1) the litigant's history of vexatious,
harassing or duplicative lawsuits; (2) whether the litigant
has an objective, good-faith expectation of prevailing; (3)
whether the litigant is represented by counsel; (4) whether
the litigant has caused needless expenses to other parties or
has posed an unnecessary burden on the courts and their
personnel; and (5) whether other sanctions would be adequate
to protect the courts and other parties. Tropf v. Fid.
Nat. Title Ins. Co., 289 F.3d 929, 940 n.18 (6th Cir.
2002). If a litigant “is likely to continue to abuse
the judicial process and harass other parties, ” then a
pre-filing injunction is warranted. Scott, 2014 WL
6675354, at *4 (quotations omitted).
has filed a series of appeals in the Court over the past few
years, each of which has been rejected by the Court, and one
of which was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit. Chaban's history of vexatious
litigation began in state court and proceeded through federal
bankruptcy court. The Court has thoroughly documented that
history in Case No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20, and need not
restate it here.
motives for filing these appeals are unclear, but his
behavior shows that he has no objective, good-faith
expectation of prevailing. As stated earlier, “[t]he
amount of judicial time and resources wasted by Chaban's
vexatious litigation and the negative toll that it has taken
on the parties to Chaban's harassment is an abuse of the
judicial system.” No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20, PgID
383-84. Instead of wasting those resources on Chaban's
appeals, the Court should be assisting parties who file
legitimate claims in good faith, supported by arguable bases
in law and fact.
argues, however, that the Court exceeded its authority under
Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8020 when it enjoined
him from filing bankruptcy appeals. ECF 11, PgID 109-11.
District courts have the authority to enjoin serial filers of
bankruptcy appeals. See, e.g., In re
Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d at 1259. But Chaban has yet to
become the kind of “serial filer” whose appeals
should be enjoined, and the Court has yet to consider
“whether other sanctions would be adequate to protect
the courts and other parties” from Chaban's
habitual abuse of the judicial process. Tropf v. Fid.
Nat. Title Ins. Co., 289 F.3d at 940 n.18. Accordingly,
the Court will allow Chaban to proceed with his appeal in
Case Number 2:17-cv-11139.
it is hereby ORDERED that Chaban's Motion to Allow ...