United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO ENJOIN STATE AND FEDERAL COURT FILINGS BY
Page Hood Chief Judge
the Court is the Blue Cross Defendants' Motion to Enjoin
Future State and Federal Court Filings By Plaintiffs, joined
by other Defendants in this matter. (ECF Nos. 556, 560, 561,
562, 565, 573) Responses (ECF Nos. 579, 580, 585, 586, 591,
592, 673, 674, 675, 692) and a reply (ECF No. 661) have been
filed. Defendants seek to enjoin Plaintiffs from initiating
new actions that utilize the state and federal court systems
to harass and annoy Defendants, now at over 50
various actions filed by various Plaintiffs, consolidated in
this action, stem from investigations initially by Blue
Cross, the Michigan licensing authorities and then State and
Federal criminal investigations against Lesly Pompy, M.D.,
which resulted in an Indictment in United States v.
Pompy, No. 18-20454 (E.D. Mich.) (Assigned to the Hon.
Arthur J. Tarnow). Dr. Pompy was indicted on June 26, 2018
with 22 counts of Distribution of Controlled Substances,
Aiding and Abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
August 2018, Dr. Pompy's former patients began filing
actions before the Monroe County Circuit Court, State of
Michigan, alleging various claims, including violations under
the Fourth Amendment, the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), the
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, 42
U.S.C. § 1985 (conspiracy to interfere with civil
rights), and 18 U.S.C. § 1347 (health care fraud). To
date, 26 cases have been consolidated in this action. See,
Opinion and Order, ECF No. 743, PageID.9802-03.
Defendants identified in the various cases filed and removed
to this District include: Federal Defendants (the United
States Attorney, Assistant United States Attorneys, District
and Magistrate Judges, DEA Agents and Manager, DEA
Administrative Law Judge); Monroe County Defendants (the
Sheriff, Deputy Sheriffs, the Monroe Area Narcotics Team and
Investigative Services, the Prosecutor and Assistant
Prosecutors, Judges (Circuit, District and Magistrate)); the
City of Monroe Defendants (the City of Monroe, the Monroe
Police Department, police officers and detectives, MANTIS);
the State Defendants (The Administrative Hearing System, the
Bureau of Licensing and Regulation, the Michigan Automated
Prescription System, the former and current Attorney
Generals, Assistant Attorney Generals, the Michigan State
Police and Troopers and Detectives, employees with the
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs);
Various related insurance companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Michigan Mutual Insurance Company, its related entities,
employees and contractors (including doctors reviewing
claims)); Electronic Health Records Vendor (IPC and its Chief
Executive Officer); a bank and its officers.
instant action is the lead case in cases consolidated by this
Court as of September 30, 2019 filed by various Plaintiffs,
former patients of Dr. Pompy as noted above. The Court has
now issued an Opinion and Order finding Plaintiffs'
claims fail to state upon which relief may be granted and
dismissing the all of the Defendants in all consolidated
cases. This Court found that Plaintiffs are attacking the
appropriateness of the searches and seizures of documents and
records relating to Dr. Pompy's practice. The Court
further found that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted as to any Fourth Amendment
constitutional claims, any HIPAA violation, any Computer
Fraud Act claims.
Sixth Circuit has held that district courts may properly
enjoin vexatious litigants from filing further actions
against a defendant without first obtaining leave of court.
Feathers v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 141 F.3d 264, 269
(6th Cir. 1998); see also, Filipas v. Lemons, 835
F.2d 1145, 1146 (6th Cir. 1987). “There is nothing
unusual about imposing prefiling restrictions in matters with
a history of repetitive or vexatious litigation.”
Feathers, 141 F.3d at 269. In certain circumstances
an order may be entered that restrains not only an individual
litigant from repetitive complaints, but “that places
limits on a reasonably defined category of litigation because
of a recognized pattern of repetitive, frivolous, or
vexatious cases within that category.” Id. A
district court need only impose “a conventional
prefiling review requirement.” Id. The
traditional tests applicable to preliminary injunction
motions need not be . 19-12369, Mills v.
Blue Cross; . 19-12385, Zureki v Nichols
applied since the district court's prefiling review
affects the district court's inherent power and does not
deny a litigant access to courts of law. See In re
Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d 1254, 1262 (2d Cir. 1984). A
prefiling review requirement is a judicially imposed remedy
whereby a plaintiff must obtain leave of the district court
to assure that the claims are not frivolous or harassing.
See e.g., Ortman v. Thomas, 99 F.3d 807,
811 (6th Cir. 1996). Often, a litigant is merely attempting
to collaterally attack prior unsuccessful suits.
Filipas, 835 F.2d at 1146.
Writs Act provides Article III courts generally “may
issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their
respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and
principles of law.” 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a). The All
Writs Act should be used “sparingly and only in the
most critical and exigent circumstances.” Wisc.
Right to Life, Inc. v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 542
U.S. 1305, 1306 (2004). As to a federal court's authority
to enjoin state court proceedings under the All Writs Act,
the Anti-Injunction Act provides that federal courts
“may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a
State court except as expressly authorized by Act of
Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or
to protect or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2283. The Sixth Circuit has held that the “in
aid of jurisdiction” exception applies only in
“two scenarios: where the case is removed from state
court, and where the federal court acquires in rem
or quasi in rem jurisdiction over a case involving
real property before the state court does.”
Martingale LLC v. City of Louisville, 361 F.3d 297,
302 (6th Cir. 2004). “[A] simultaneous in
personam state action does not interfere with the
jurisdiction of a federal court in a suit involving the same
subject matter.” Roth v. Bank of the
Commonwealth, 585 F.3d 527, 535 (6th Cir. 1978). Where a
case is “not an in rem action and was not
removed from state court, ” it is merely “a
parallel in personam action in state court.”
Sixth Circuit precedents “plainly prohibit injunctive
relief” in such a situation. In re Life Investors
Ins. Co. of America, 589 F.3d 319, 330 (6th Cir. 2009).
noted above, twenty-six cases were consolidated based on
similar complaints filed by various Plaintiffs who are former
patients of Dr. Pompy. Although the Court found in its
Opinion and Order that Plaintiffs' complaints failed to
state claims upon which relief may be granted, the Court will
not currently impose pre-filing restrictions on any new
Complaints involving Dr. Pompy's patients at this time.
Prior to the Court's Opinion and Order, there was no
ruling from the Court that the allegations related to the
closing of Dr. Pompy's office and/or the arrest of Dr.
Pompy failed to state any claim upon which relief may be
granted. Since the Court's ruling, the Plaintiffs and
potential Plaintiffs now have a ruling that those allegations
are not viable claims.
time, the Court will not enter an order imposing a prefiling
requirement on the current Plaintiffs or any potential
Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs are subject to Rule 11(b) of the Rules
of Civil Procedure which provides that an attorney or
unrepresented party certifies that a pleading,
written motion, or other paper filed “is not being
presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass ...,
are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument
..., [and] the factual contentions have evidentiary support
...” Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). Plaintiffs and potential
Plaintiffs are now on notice that any new complaints filed
before this Federal District Court related to Dr. Pompy's
arrest are subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.
any Complaints filed in State Court, the Court cannot enjoin
or place any limits on a plaintiff filing a case in the State
Courts if the case is not an in rem case involving
real property. Only when a defendant removes the matter to
federal court does the Court have any authority to review a
new Complaint, which may then be subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Enjoin Future
State and Federal Court Filings By Plaintiffs (ECF No. 556)
is DENIED without prejudice.