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Akers v. University of Connecticut Law School

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford, Hartford

February 8, 2017

Dr. Geoffrey Akers
v.
University of Connecticut Law School

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION MOTION FOR NONSUIT #225

          A. Susan Peck, Judge Trial Referee.

         In the course of this extensive litigation pending in this court since June 2014, the plaintiff, who is self-represented, has repeatedly failed to comply with the Connecticut Practice Book § § 10-35, et seq., and General Statutes § 52-119, concerning requests to revise, and two very detailed orders of this court (docket entries # 197.86 and #221.86, dated 9/7/16 and 11/7/16, respectively). In particular, the referenced court orders afforded the plaintiff the opportunity, beyond the time allowed under the rules of court, to file a proper revised complaint to the defendant's requests to revise. Although the plaintiff has made numerous filings following the defendant's requests and motions seeking compliance and court action, and despite the court's orders on the subject, none of the plaintiff's filings have been compliant. As a consequence, the defendant too filed three motions for nonsuit, the third of which remains pending and is the subject of this memorandum of decision.

         The defendant's first motion for nonsuit (docket entry #196), dated August 15, 2016, was filed in response to the plaintiff's " Fifth (5th) Revision of Complaint and Claims of Plaintiff" (docket entry #195), filed on March 24, 2016. In response to that motion (denied by the court without prejudice), and the plaintiff's objection (see docket entries #196.86 and 197.86), the undersigned issued the following order, dated September 7, 2016:

The plaintiff is hereby ordered to file a proper revised complaint in accordance with Chapter 10 of the Practice Book in the form of a revised complaint, specifically § 10-20, § 10-21, and § 10-22 of the Practice Book. The plaintiff is hereby ordered to comply in accordance with the defendant's most recent request to revise (#194) to which the plaintiff did not file a proper and timely objection. Failure to comply with this order within 30 days may result in a nonsuit or dismissal of the plaintiff's case.

         The defendant's second motion for nonsuit, filed on October 14, 2016 (docket entry #218), was filed in response to the plaintiff's " Revised Complaint, " filed on September 19, 2016 (docket entry #212). In response to that motion and the plaintiff's objection, the undersigned issued the following order dated November 7, 2016 (docket entry #221.86):

It appears that the plaintiff either misunderstood this court's order of 9/7/16 (docket entry #197.86), or has deliberately chosen to ignore it. In any event, the referenced order (#docket entry #197.86), in significant part required the plaintiff to file a proper revised complaint that complied with the defendant's then most recent request to revise (docket entry # 194), the fourth request to revise filed by the defendant. By way of this order, the court hereby affords the plaintiff a final opportunity to file a compliant revised complaint.
Accordingly, the plaintiff is hereby ordered to file a revised complaint in accordance the defendant's fourth request to revise (docket entry #194), no later than 11/28/16 or a nonsuit shall be ordered upon the defendant's renewal of its motion for nonsuit (docket entry #218).

         The present motion for nonsuit (docket entry #225), is addressed to the latest version of the plaintiff's complaint entitled, " Timely filed Plaintiff's Revised/Amended Complaint Responding to Orders of Both 9/7/16 and 11/7/16 of Court, " filed on November 23, 2016 (docket entry #224), which adds new factual allegations, an additional count and a claim for $50, 000 in damages for " false light defamation." This complaint, subject of the motion, is at least the ninth complaint filed by the plaintiff since this lawsuit commenced on June 25, 2014, and, for reasons detailed by the defendant, is not compliant with either the defendant's original request to revise, filed on March 18, 2016 (docket entry #194), or the court orders recited above. On December 28, 2016, the plaintiff filed an objection to the defendant's third motion for nonsuit as well as what purports to be a supplemental objection to the defendant's third motion for nonsuit (docket entries #227 and #226, respectively). The objections focus on the plaintiff's efforts to obtain summary judgment, the need for the court to order alternative dispute resolution, the merits of the plaintiff's case and accusations against the defendant's attorney for alleged discovery abuses and " obfuscation, distractions, less than full truth and deflections and delays to suppress evidence . . ." and very little about the motions for nonsuit.

         The court notes that to date the electronic docket in this case reflects 228 entries, yet the pleadings have not progressed beyond the stage of a request to revise. In addition, thus far, the plaintiff has filed three motions for summary judgment, two of which have been denied. Pleadings addressed to the plaintiff's various efforts to file a compliant revised complaint and related matters have required the review of the extensive filings in this case by at least eight judges of the Hartford Judicial District, and numerous court orders rejecting improper requests or motions by the plaintiff.

         In the request to revise (docket entry #194), which remains at issue, among other things, the defendant has properly requested that the plaintiff delete allegations concerning his alleged American Indian heritage and proceedings purportedly conducted by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CCHRO), on that ground that such allegations were " irrelevant, " " immaterial" and " improper, " for the reason that on July 21, 2015, the court, Scholl, J., had previously granted a motion to dismiss the portions of an earlier revision of the plaintiff's complaint which sought to set forth a claim of race discrimination based on those allegations. See docket entry #130.86. Specifically, Judge Scholl found that the underlying complaint made to the CCHRO contained " only allegations of age discrimination, not race discrimination, as the foundation of the plaintiff's claim that the defendant rejected his application for admission, " and, therefore, because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedy regarding illegal race discrimination, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over that claim.

         Based the foregoing history of this case, the court finds that the numerous failures of the plaintiff to comply with the Practice Book and orders of this court are wilful in that they show a deliberate and repeated disregard for the rights of the defendant and the court's authority. The court finds further that dismissal is the only reasonable remedy to vindicate the legitimate interests of the defendant and the court. The defendant is entitled to rely on the court to enforce the rules of practice and its own orders and enter appropriate sanctions when the rules and the court's orders are repeatedly violated. When the defendant has scrupulously followed the rules of practice and the orders of the court, it may reasonably expect, pursuant to § 52-119, that justice requires that the plaintiff will follow them as well.

         The court is mindful of the plaintiff's status as a self represented party and the policy of our courts to be solicitous of such pro se litigants. However, the court also recognizes that " such policy is applicable only when it does not interfere with the rights of other parties. See Shah v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act, 114 Conn.App. 170, 968 A.2d 971 (2009). " For justice to be done . . . any latitude given to pro se litigants cannot interfere with the rights of other parties, nor can we disregard completely our rules of practice . . ." (Citation omitted.) Id., 177. In the present case, the egregious behavior of the plaintiff has resulted in unnecessary pleading and motion practice causing protracted litigation with no reasonable expectation of achieving a trial on the merits any time within the foreseeable future due to the plaintiff's wilful disregard of the defendant's rights and orders of the court.

         " Generally speaking, a nonsuit is the name of a judgment rendered against a party in a legal proceeding upon his inability to maintain his cause in court, or when he is in default in prosecuting his suit or in complying with the orders of the court." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Herrick v. Monkey Farm Café, LLC, 163 Conn.App. 45, 50-51, 134 A.3d 643 (2016). Unlike the nonsuited party in Herrick v. Monkey Farm Café, LLC, the plaintiff herein is himself responsible for the transgressions that provoked the defendant's three motions for nonsuit. Although the ...


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