Posts Tagged ‘commanding or preventing an action’

A Federal Magistrate May Issue An Injunction So Long As He Does Not Call it An Injunction

April 21, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham

Who Are the Defendants?

The Defendants in this matter is the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and its employees. The Highlands County Board of County Commissioners is a local government and political subdivision within the state of Florida located in Sebring, FL. The king, “teflon don”, Judge Donald L. Graham is located in Miami, FL about 158 miles from Sebring, FL.

Federal Magistrate May Not Issue an Injunction, 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(a)

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary—
(A) a judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, except a motion for injunctive relief,..
.” 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(a).

On June 20, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:
[I]t is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED…Plaintiff shall be prohibited from contacting any of the Defendants, including their supervisory employees and/or the individual Defendants, regarding any matter related to this case.” See Docket Entry No. 201

On July 25, 2000, Federal Magistrate Frank Lynch Jr. issued the following order:

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED… Plaintiff shall correspond only with Defendants’ counsel including any requests for public records.” See Docket Entry No. 246.

Communications Judge Graham Deemed Unlawful

Judge Graham dismissed a lawsuit because out of court communications. See Report and Recommendation, “R&R”,(DE #766); Order Adopting R&R, (DE #791). Highlands County filed motions for sanctions in the form of dismissal for the following conversations.

During the week of February 5, 2001, Plaintiff knowingly violated this Court’s Orders of June 19, 200 and July 25, 2000. Plaintiff appeared at the office of Fred Carino, Human Resource Director of Highlands County and a supervisory employee of a named defendant in this action, and demanded to view his personnel file. This request was made directly to Mr. Carino’s office and not through Defendant Highlands County’s counsel.

D.E. 511, ¶6, PG.3).

Plaintiff sent e-mail communications directly to supervisory employees of the Defendants, which discussed the “no trespass warnings” that were issued against Plaintiff,...

D.E. 646, ¶10, PG.3). Judge Graham was adamant that Mason not talk to the Highlands County Government. As a matter of fact, three months after the case was closed, Judge Graham said:

[I]ncluding continual attempts to directly communicate with the Defendants rather their attorneys, the Court enjoined Mason from any further contact with the Defendants or Defendants” employees. Mason, however, ignored the Court’s order and continued to contact the Defendants…On June 20, 2001, in view of Mason’s repeated refusal to comply with the Court’s rules and orders, the Court dismissed case number 99-14027.

See Docket No. 878, pgs. 4-5. God damn it, I told you not to talk to the government!

Mere Technicalities

Assuming a federal magistrate may issue an injunction, a mere technical obstacle exists called the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

These orders are classical prior restraints on pure speech. “Prior restraint has traditionally been defined as a “predetermined judicial prohibition restraining specified expression … A prior restraint is generally judicial rather than legislative in origin” Bernard v. Gulf Oil Co., 619 F.2d 459,467 (C.A.5 (Tex.), 1980). “Pure speech is “[t]he communication of ideas through spoken or written words or through conduct limited in form to that necessary to convey the idea… Pure speech is accorded the highest degree of protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” Based on Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law ©2001. The U.S. Supreme Court has said: “Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this Court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.” Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58, 71 (1963). “[T]the Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint, even faced with the competing interest of national security or the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.” Procter & Gamble Co. v. Bankers Trust Co., 78 F.3d 219, 227 (C.A.6 (Ohio), 1996). “In its nearly two centuries of existence, the Supreme Court has never upheld a prior restraint on pure speech.” Providence Journal Co., Matter of, 820 F.2d 1342, 1348 (C.A.1 (R.I.), 1986)

Judge Graham’s Opinion

Judge Graham has backed his Magistrate to the hilt and said that these orders are not “clearly erroneous nor contrary to law”.

June 19, 2000, the Honorable Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch entered an Order granting Defendants a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants in this action…On July 25, 2000, Magistrate Judge Lynch entered an Order granting Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction, once again prohibiting Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants in this action or their supervisory employees. After careful review of the file and the pertinent portions of the record, the Court finds that Magistrate Judge Lynch’s ruling is not clearly erroneous nor is it contrary to law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; see also Cooper-Houston v. Southern Railway Company, 37 F.3d 603 (11th Cir. 1994).

See Docket Entry 407.

Definition of Injunction

“A prohibitive or preventive injunction commands a person to refrain from doing an act and necessarily operates on unperformed acts and prevents a threatened but nonexistent existent injury.” State of Ala. v. U.S., 304 F.2d 583, 597 (C.A.5 (Ala.), 1962). According to Black’s Law Dictionary, an injunction is a “court order commanding or preventing an action.” Black’s Law Dictionary, pg. 800, 8th Edition, Bryan A. Garner, Editor in Chief, @ 2004 West Publishing Company. The Magistrate’s orders, among other things, commands that “Plaintiff shall correspond only with Defendants’ counsel including any requests for public records.” The Magistrate’s orders prohibits or prevents “contacting any of the government Defendants, including their supervisory employees and/or the individual Defendants…”. Even more compelling support that these orders are really injunctions comes from the Highlands County’s attorneys themselves who specifically entitled their motion as Defendants Motion For Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 199). Moreover, in their prayer for relief the Defendants requested “an injunction prohibiting Plaintiff from contacting any of the Defendants…” (Doc. 199, pg. 4). “An injunction is a coercive order by a court directing a party to do or refrain from doing something, and applies to future actions.” Ulstein Maritime, Ltd. v. United States, 833 F. 2d 1052, 1055 (1st Cir. 1987). “When a decree commands or prohibits conduct, it is called an injunction.” Gates v. Shinn, 98 F. 3d 463, 468 (9th Cir. 1995); Zetrouer v. Zetrouer, 89 Fla 253 (Fla. 1925)(“A prohibitory, sometimes called preventive, injunction is one that operates to restrain the commission or continuance of an act and to prevent a threatened injury). “The term ‘injunction’ in Rule 65(d) is not to be read narrowly but includes all equitable decrees compelling obedience under the threat of contempt.” Consumers Gas & Oil v. Farmland Indus., 84 F.3d 367, 370 (10th Cir. 1996). See United States v. Santtini, 963 F. 2d 585, 590 (3rd Cir. 1992)(court of appeals not constrained by district courts characterization of its order). “Ordinarily, since an injunction is defined not by its title but by its effect on the litigants, …, it would be assumed that an order that has the practical effect of an injunction is an injunction for the purposes of Sec. 1292(a)(1).” Abernathy v. Southern California Edison, 885 F.2d 525, 529 n.14(C.A.9 (Nev.), 1989). Some well-known cliches might be appropriate at this junction. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Appellate Oddessy and Gauntlet

These orders have run an incredible odyssey and gauntlet of appellate attacks, however, the Eleventh Circuit has managed to avoid reviewing these orders for validity. See posting this site,”Eleventh Circuit Repeatedly Refuses To Review Orders For Validity“. The Eleventh Circuit has made some incredible rulings and done some amazing things with these orders or injunctions without reviewing them for validity.

  • Case No. 01-11305. The Eleventh Circuit denied a mandamus petition or interlocutory appeal to review these orders. For you legal types, a mandamus petition maybe construed as a direct appeal. In Re Bethesda Memorial Hospital Inc., 123 F.3d 1407, 1408 (11thCir. 1997)( ”[P]recedent permits us to treat the petition for the writ of mandamus as a direct appeal..”); Yates v. Mobile County Personnel Bd., 658 F.2d 298 (11th 1981)(“A petition for mandamus filed in this court, however, may also satisfy the notice of appeal requirement, especially when the appellant is proceeding pro se…”). An Interlocutory appeal of an injunction is permitted. See Delta Air Lines v. Air Line Pilots Assoc., 238 F.3d 1300, 1308 (11thCir. 2001)(“ We have jurisdiction to hear this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292, which permits appeals from interlocutory orders of district courts ‘granting, continuing, modifying, refusing or dissolving injunctions.’.”). However, the Eleventh Circuit declined to review these orders while stating: “With regard to his requests for relief from the order granting the defendants’ motions for preliminary injunction, which the court construed as preliminary discovery motion, Mason has alternative remedy. He may either comply with the district’s courts discovery order and challenge it on appeal from the final judgment, or refuse to comply with the order and challenge its validity if cited for contempt.” See Order Dated April 26, 2001. Judge Ed Carnes wrote this unpublished opinion. Judge Carnes’s opinion advances the absurd notion that a litigant should wait until the lawsuit is finished in order to get appellate review of orders that violate the First Amendment. However, absurd legal advice notwithstanding, Mason followed this advice and did just what Ed Carnes said. Hence, the direct appeal, Case No. 01-13664-A.

    Case No. 01-13664-A

    The panel that sat for this appeal included: Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr., Judge Stanley Marcus, and Judge Susan Black. The Eleventh Circuit pulled very some very dishonest acts of trickery and chicanery in this unpublished opinion and appeal. One of these acts was stating that Marcellus Mason violated these injunctions and that Judge Graham was justified in dismissing the lawsuit based upon these alleged violations, but the Eleventh Circuit absolutely refused to review these same orders for validity. The appellate review consisted solely of the following acknowledgment: “On appeal, Mason argues that the magistrate’s discovery orders enjoined him without legal authority and violated his First Amendment and Florida state-law rights to petition Florida government officials and to request public records…” See Case No. 01-13664 Opinion, Pg. 9. In this very verbose and prolix opinion, there is no other discussion about the validity of these orders. When told that they had “overlooked” or “forgot” to test the very validity of the orders they claimed that Mason had violated, Judge Stanley F. Birch and the Eleventh Circuit replied: “The petition(s) for rehearing filed by Appellant, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr., is DENIED“. See Order. Perhaps the most egregious act of dishonesty that the Eleventh Circuit pulled in this appeal was that they struck Mason’s brief for arguing against a sua sponte issued prefiling injunction because it was “beyond the scope of appeal”; and when the Eleventh Circuit rendered its opinion, it used the very same sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction or vexatious litigant injunction, that it claimed was “beyond the scope of appeal”to affirm “teflon don”. See “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal“.

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