Jordan v. State of Nevada on Relation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, 121 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 7 (NV 4/14/2005), 38189

CourtSupreme Court of Nevada
Citation121 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 7
Decision Date14 April 2005
Docket NumberNo. 39052.,No. 38189,38189,39052.

James Jacob Jordan, Lynnwood, Washington, in Proper Person.

John Luckett, Anaheim, California, in Proper Person.

Brian Sandoval, Attorney General, Carson City, for Respondents State of Nevada and Jimmie Jones.

Law Offices of Michael F. Bohn, Ltd., and Michael F. Bohn, Las Vegas, for Respondents Edward Doumani and La Concha Motel.




In addition to challenging district court dispositions, these proper person appeals involve first impression issues regarding orders that place permanent restrictions on the ability of proper person litigants with in forma pauperis status to access the Nevada state courts. As both appeals raise similar questions of substantial importance, we considered them together. We conclude that the district court has authority to limit the court access of a litigant proceeding in proper person with in forma pauperis status when certain guidelines, designed to protect important constitutional rights, are followed.


Docket No. 38189 (Jordan)

On a Sunday afternoon, respondent Capital Police Officer Jimmie W. Jones arrested proper person appellant James Jacob Jordan outside of the Nevada Supreme Court building for trespassing on state property in violation of NRS 207.200(1)(b), which prohibits people from willfully remaining on land after having been warned not to trespass. According to Officer Jones' arrest report, he and a Carson City Sheriff's Deputy were investigating complaints of a suspicious person when they located Jordan sitting on a bench within the building's grounds. Determining that Jordan matched the description of the person for whom they were looking, Officer Jones then identified himself, questioned Jordan's reason for being on state property, and told him to return on Monday if he had business with the State. After asking for identification, Officer Jones told Jordan that he was trespassing on state property and requested that he leave. Jordan refused and Officer Jones informed him that he would be arrested if he did not leave. Jordan again refused to move and was consequently arrested and booked at the Carson City Sheriff's Department's jail on one count of trespass.

The next morning, a justice of the peace reviewed the arrest and found probable cause to hold Jordan for trial. However, Jordan was apparently released the next day, and the trespass charge was dropped.

Jordan, in proper person, subsequently sued respondents Officer Jones and the Capitol Police Division of the Nevada State Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety (collectively, the State) for (1) oppression while using physical force, (2) malicious prosecution, (3) false imprisonment, (4) false lawsuit, (5) libel, and (6) perjury. To his complaint, Jordan attached copies of the arrest report and criminal complaint, the declaration of probable cause arrest form, and the Nevada criminal statutes from which he purported to derive his claims. Jordan was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

Jordan then obtained and submitted a letter from the State Buildings and Grounds Division administrator, stating that the supreme court building's grounds are continuously open to the public. During the suit's pendency, Jordan also filed numerous other papers, including various motions, requests for rulings and other actions. The purposes behind many of these papers are difficult to decipher or understand, and the papers are in many instances procedurally improper.

The district court issued an order reciting its difficulties in comprehending and responding to Jordan's filings and declaring that Jordan should not be allowed to abuse his proper person status to file "meritless ramblings." Further, the court found that another of Jordan's complaints was so long and incomprehensible as to be incapable of legal resolution. Consequently, the court restricted Jordan's court access, ordering that Jordan will "not be allowed to proceed in `pro per' with a waiver of fees" in "any new actions," and that Jordan must obtain leave of the court before filing any new action.

A few months later, a joint case conference report, apparently typed by Jordan but signed by both parties, was filed. The joint report acknowledges that Jordan's complaint essentially alleged that he was unjustly arrested and that Officer Jones lied about the alleged unjust arrest in the police report. The State then moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted based solely on its inability to decipher the meaning of Jordan's claims. Jordan timely appealed.

Docket No. 39052 (Luckett)

Proper person appellant John Luckett, a California resident, met "M.L.," an alleged con artist, during a trip to Las Vegas. Luckett alleged that M.L. made him multiple promises, including that he would give Luckett tickets to various casinos' shows and make a bet for him based on a "hot tip" that M.L. had received. Luckett then handed M.L. money to wager with. Luckett apparently never saw or heard from M.L. again.

According to Luckett, M.L. also introduced him to respondent Edward Doumani, owner of respondent the La Concha Motel, so that Doumani could counsel Luckett on a legal matter. Luckett alleged that Doumani falsely asserted his status as a practicing California lawyer and gave him legal advice in connection with a different Nevada case that Luckett was involved in. Moreover, Luckett asserted that Doumani allowed M.L. to live at the motel rent-free, despite being aware of M.L.'s alleged criminal record and having received many complaints from people whom M.L. had defrauded. Luckett asserted that the La Concha Motel serves as a front for M.L.'s scams, from which Doumani and the La Concha Motel are profiting.

Luckett filed a complaint in the district court, in proper person, against M.L.,1 Doumani, and the La Concha Motel. In it, he asserted that Doumani had a duty to warn him of M.L.'s tendencies to scam and, since Doumani did not warn him, that both Doumani and the La Concha Motel are responsible for M.L.'s injurious acts. The complaint asserted claims against Doumani and the La Concha Motel for the unlawful practice of law, negligence, conspiracy to commit and aid a fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In a district court order that expressly allowed him to proceed "without payment or fees or security therefor," Luckett was granted in forma pauperis status.

Doumani and the La Concha Motel then served Luckett with a demand for security for costs under NRS 18.130, which requires an out-of-state plaintiff to post security for any future adverse award of costs and charges. They later moved to dismiss the action based on Luckett's failure to post the requested security. The court orally advised Luckett that he had thirty days in which to post a security bond, or the case would be dismissed. Thereafter, Doumani and the La Concha Motel again moved to dismiss for Luckett's failure to post security costs and also moved to dismiss for his failure to state a claim. They did not, however, seek at that point to set aside the in forma pauperis order waiving security requirements.

The court conducted a hearing on the pending motions. During the hearing, the court notified Luckett of its intent to grant the dismissal motions. The court also indicated its intent to issue a restrictive order declaring Luckett a vexatious litigant. Luckett was granted three weeks in which to file an opposition and to provide the court with information as to any lawsuits he had filed in Nevada and California within the past five years. The next hearing was scheduled for December 20, 2001.

Luckett responded by filing two motions explaining his involvement in other cases and pointing out the previous district court order granting him in forma pauperis status and waiving security requirements. However, Luckett did not attend the December 20 hearing,2 and the district court subsequently entered a written order declaring Luckett a vexatious litigant and restricting his court access. In it, the court noted that Luckett was previously declared a vexatious litigant in California3 and that Luckett had filed at least five cases in the Eighth Judicial District Court, each with in forma pauperis status. Further, the court stated that he had repeatedly filed unmeritorious and often contradictory pleadings and papers in each of those cases, including several documents in which he simply deleted an original caption and inserted a new one in its place. Finally, the court noted that Luckett frequently referred to his ability to travel and gamble. Accordingly, the court declared that Luckett is not indigent, that he is a vexatious litigant, and that he may not file any new litigation in Nevada state courts in forma pauperis without first obtaining leave of the presiding judge of the court. In addition, the court directed Luckett to notify the Eighth Judicial District Court of any new litigation that he files in Nevada. Finally, the court admonished that any violation of the order could result in contempt of court punishable...

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