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Hambolu v. Fortress Investment Group

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 8, 2017

BAMIDELE HAMBOLU, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FORTRESS INVESTMENT GROUP, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DECLARING BAMIDELE HAMBOLU A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT

          EDWARD M. CHEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Bamidele Hambolu and his mother, Lynn Gavin, initiated this putative class action in the Central District of California, see Docket No. 1 (Complaint), but it was subsequently transferred to this District. See Docket No. 9 (Order at 2). On April 19, 2017, the Court issued an order in which it barred Ms. Gavin from asserting her claims because they were, in effect, the same as those that had led Ms. Gavin to being declared a vexatious litigant and subject to a prefiling review. See Docket No. 16 (Order at 8). In the same order, the Court granted Mr. Hambolu's application to proceed in forma pauperis but dismissed his federal claims with prejudice and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state claims. See Docket No. 16 (Order at 8). The Court also ordered Mr. Hambolu to show cause as to why he should not be declared a vexatious litigant subject to the same prefiling order to which Ms. Gavin is currently subject. See Docket No. 16 (Order at 7).

         Mr. Hambolu has failed to timely respond to the Court's order to show cause (“OSC”). Based on the lack of an opposition, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court hereby DECLARES Mr. Hambolu a vexatious litigant. Future pleadings that Mr. Hambolu files shall be subject to a prefiling review by the general duty judge for this District, the terms of which are specified in this order below.

         I.FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The instant action is the seventh in a series of suits filed by Mr. Hambolu and his mother, Ms. Gavin, in this District. Each of these suits alleges that Mr. Hambolu and his mother were wrongfully evicted from the Parkmerced apartments in 2012, after the family failed to pay allegedly usurious utility bills.[1] Compl. ¶ 14, 49; see also Docket No. 16 (Ex. A) (listing cases). Plaintiffs' cases have been dismissed on various grounds, including failure to prosecute and failure to state a viable claim for relief. See id.

         In January 2016, this Court issued an order in one of the earlier cases in which it declared Ms. Gavin a vexatious litigant and thus imposed a prefiling requirement. See Gavin v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 15-CV-05202-EMC, 2016 WL 126937, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 12, 2016). But even after this order, Ms. Gavin - along with Mr. Hambolu - continued to file suits related to their eviction from the Parkmerced apartments, including the instant action.

         As noted above, in the instant case, this Court barred Ms. Gavin from proceeding with her claims based on its prefiling review. The Court also dismissed Mr. Hambolu's claims and further issued an order to show cause (“OSC”) to Mr. Hambolu as to why he should not be declared a vexatious litigant.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         District courts have the inherent power to enter prefiling orders against vexatious litigants under the All Writs Act. See 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a) (providing that “[t]he Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law”); Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., 500 F.3d 1047, 1057 (9th Cir. 2007) (stating that “[t]he All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), provides district courts with the inherent power to enter pre-filing orders against vexatious litigants”). The Ninth Circuit has cautioned, however, that “such pre-filing orders are an extreme remedy that should rarely be used” because of the danger of “tread[ing] on a litigant's due process right of access to the courts.” Id. Nevertheless, such prefiling orders are sometimes appropriate because “[f]lagrant abuse of the judicial power . . . enables one person to preempt the use of judicial time that properly could be used to consider the meritorious claims of other litigants.” De Long v. Hennessey, 912 F.2d 1144, 1148 (9th Cir. 1990).

         B. De Long Factors

         In De Long, the Ninth Circuit set forth the requirements for entering prefiling orders against vexatious litigants:

1. The litigant must be given notice and opportunity to be heard before the order is entered, see Id. at 1147;
2. The court must compile an adequate record for review, including a list of all cases and motions leading to the conclusion that an individual is a ...

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