Pavilonis v. King, No. 79-1614

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore COFFIN, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL and BOWNES; BOWNES
Citation626 F.2d 1075
PartiesAnne M. PAVILONIS, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Edward J. KING et al., Defendants, Appellees.
Decision Date11 July 1980
Docket NumberNo. 79-1614

Page 1075

626 F.2d 1075
Anne M. PAVILONIS, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
Edward J. KING et al., Defendants, Appellees.
No. 79-1614.
United States Court of Appeals,
First Circuit.
Submitted March 14, 1980.
Decided July 11, 1980.

Page 1076

Anne M. Pavilonis on brief pro se.

Francis X. Bellotti, Atty. Gen., and Stephen S. Ostrach, Asst. Atty. Gen., Boston, Mass., on brief for appellees, Edward J. King, et al.

Jerome Medalie, Steven A. Cohen and Widett, Slater & Goldman, P. C., Boston, Mass., on brief for appellee, Kenneth G. Ryder.

Before COFFIN, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL and BOWNES, Circuit Judges.

BOWNES, Circuit Judge.

Anne M. Pavilonis appeals from the dismissal of two civil rights actions she filed against various people connected with the Boston schools. She also challenges the district court's entry of an order enjoining her from filing any lawsuit in the federal district court of Massachusetts and prohibiting the clerk of court from accepting for filing any paper submitted by her without authorization by a district judge.

Pavilonis' first lawsuit was commenced on December 9, 1977, by a complaint against the then Governor Michael Dukakis, Boston School Committee President Kathleen Sullivan, and Solomon Lewenberg School Principal William I. O'Connell. The body of the complaint read, in its entirety, as follows:

1. This is an action to redress the deprivation under color of a law of the state of Massachusetts of a right secured to plaintiff by Article V Amendment 14 of the Constitution of the United States. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by 28 U.S.C. Section 1343.

2. Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. Section 1986 to recover damages for defendant's failure to prevent a wrong mentioned in 42 U.S.C. Section 1985, which defendant knew was about to occur and which defendants had the power to prevent, as hereinafter more fully appears. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by 28 (U.S.C.) Section 1343.

The second complaint, filed on December 19, 1977, was nearly identical, but named

Page 1077

Northeastern University President Kenneth G. Ryder as an additional defendant. 1

When Pavilonis moved for appointment of counsel, these cases were referred to a magistrate. Consulting the district court docket, the magistrate found five other complaints filed by Pavilonis, against various defendants including Michael Dukakis and Kenneth Ryder, in which the same language contained in paragraph 2 of the instant complaints was used, apparently without significant elaboration. 2 Of the opinion that the two complaints before him, even read liberally, were "completely devoid of any information that would assist the defendants . . . (in) answer(ing)," were "completely violative of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," 3 and "appear(ed) frivolous," the magistrate denied the motions for appointment of counsel. Finding that Pavilonis had filed "numerous unsupported actions" that placed an undue burden on the court and deprived other legitimate litigants of a hearing, the magistrate also recommended that she be restricted from filing new actions without permission of a district judge.

Pavilonis filed objections to the magistrate's recommendation, stating that she found the "U.S.C.A. Procedure" for filing a complaint "vague," and indicating that she had interpreted Commentary 1 to Rule 8 as allowing specific facts to be furnished separately. She also asserted that, when served by certified mail, the defendants were furnished sufficient information to enable them to respond to the complaint. In the district court records are copies of letters sent by Pavilonis to the defendants, advising defendants Dukakis, Sullivan and O'Connell that they were being sued for denying her sons "due process of the (Massachusetts) Racial Imbalance Law" by failing to provide them transportation (and in the case of Dukakis, by failure to implement programs and services required by Massachusetts laws, chapters 622 and 636), and advising defendant Ryder that he was being sued for denying Pavilonis due process by withholding federal monies from her.

The district judge approved the magistrate's recommendation and, on April 12, 1978, issued an order enjoining Pavilonis from filing new lawsuits without permission of a judge of the District Court of Massachusetts, and ordering the clerk to refuse to file additional papers submitted by her without such permission. The district court, on September 25, 1978, refused to vacate its April 12 order. Thereafter, it denied Pavilonis permission to file two documents: (1) a "motion to dismiss" the city defendants' motion to dismiss, in which she alleged the defendants arbitrarily denied her equal protection of chapters 622 and 636 of Massachusetts law and demanded the implementation of a unitary school system and damages, and (2) a "motion to obtain a ruling" that forced bussing to an inferior school was a deprivation of equal protection of the right to property, assured by the above-cited Massachusetts laws. On September 11, 1979, the complaints were dismissed, and Pavilonis appealed. 4

Page 1078

We have little difficulty upholding the district court's dismissal of the complaints. Although pro se complaints are to be read liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 595-596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), these complaints are so hopelessly general that they could give no notice of Pavilonis' claims. Even if the letters sent...

To continue reading

Request your trial
146 practice notes
  • Greenstein v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (In re Greenstein), Case No.: 1:12–bk–15099–MB
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • October 25, 2017
    ...2007). Further, courts should exercise particular caution before using such measures against a pro se plaintiff. See Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir. 1980) (cited with approval in De Long, 912 F.2d at 1147 ). A court seeking to impose a pre-filing injunction on a party must:......
  • Caldwell v. Obama, Civil Action No. 13–1438 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 20, 2013
    ...measures against a pro se plaintiff should be approached with particular caution.’ ” Powell, 851 F.2d at 431 (quoting Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir.1980)). Fully cognizant of the impetus towards caution, the Court nonetheless finds that the thoughtful explanations provided......
  • Jordan v. State of Nevada on Relation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, 121 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 7 (NV 4/14/2005), No. 38189
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • April 14, 2005
    ...sanctions or is otherwise undeterred). 24. See NRCP 11(c)(1); In re Oliver, 682 F.2d 443, 445-46 n.5 (3d Cir. 1982); Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir. 1980) ("Generally, this kind of order should not be considered absent a request by the harassed defendants."). 25. Chambers, ......
  • Procup v. Strickland, No. 83-3430
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 2, 1986
    ...court has not prevented Procup from litigating this case to a conclusion. A situation precisely on point arose in Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 829, 101 S.Ct. 96, 66 L.Ed.2d 34 (1980). Pavilonis brought two civil rights suits against various officials c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
145 cases
  • Greenstein v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (In re Greenstein), Case No.: 1:12–bk–15099–MB
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • October 25, 2017
    ...2007). Further, courts should exercise particular caution before using such measures against a pro se plaintiff. See Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir. 1980) (cited with approval in De Long, 912 F.2d at 1147 ). A court seeking to impose a pre-filing injunction on a party must:......
  • Doe on Behalf of Doe v. St. Joseph's Hosp. of Fort Wayne, No. 85-1211
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • April 2, 1986
    ...v. Wometco de Puerto Rico, Inc., 695 F.2d 524 (11th Cir.1983); Franklin v. Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337 (9th Cir.1981); Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1078 & n. 6 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 829, 101 S.Ct. 96, 66 L.Ed.2d 34 (1980); Literature, Inc. v. Quinn, 482 F.2d 372 (1st Cir.1973); ......
  • Caldwell v. Obama, Civil Action No. 13–1438 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 20, 2013
    ...measures against a pro se plaintiff should be approached with particular caution.’ ” Powell, 851 F.2d at 431 (quoting Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir.1980)). Fully cognizant of the impetus towards caution, the Court nonetheless finds that the thoughtful explanations provided......
  • Jordan v. State of Nevada on Relation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, 121 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 7 (NV 4/14/2005), No. 38189
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • April 14, 2005
    ...sanctions or is otherwise undeterred). 24. See NRCP 11(c)(1); In re Oliver, 682 F.2d 443, 445-46 n.5 (3d Cir. 1982); Pavilonis v. King, 626 F.2d 1075, 1079 (1st Cir. 1980) ("Generally, this kind of order should not be considered absent a request by the harassed defendants."). 25. Chambers, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT