OPINION and ORDER Granting 11 MOTION to Allow Appeal. Signed by District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. (DPar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
IN THE MATTER OF:
Case No. 2:15-cv-13383
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO ALLOW APPEAL 
Over an eight-month period, the Court rejected four of Debtor-Appellant Mark
Chaban’s bankruptcy appeals. See Case Nos. 2:14-cv-14559, 2:15-cv-11879, 2:15-cv12361, 2:15-cv-13383. The Court barred Chaban from filing further appeals without the
express, prior approval of the Court, and instructed the Clerk to reject any appeal filed
without the Court’s permission “lest [Chaban] continue to use the Court’s resources for
vexatious purposes.” No. 2:15-cv-11879, ECF 10, PgID 426, 428. The Court reminded
Chaban of this restriction in two subsequent orders, the latter of which contained a warning
that noncompliance may result in a finding of contempt. See No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20,
PgID 384; No. 2:15-cv-13383, ECF 9, PgID 103. In the instant motion, Chaban seeks the
Court’s permission to file a fifth appeal, and challenges the Court’s authority to bar the
appeal. ECF 11. He filed the fifth appeal before the Court addressed the instant motion.
See No. 2:17-cv-11139, ECF 1.
Federal district courts have a “constitutional obligation to protect their jurisdiction from
conduct which impairs their ability to carry out Article III functions.” In re Martin-Trigona,
737 F.2d 1254, 1259–61 (2d Cir. 1984) (affirming in part a district court’s injunction
prohibiting a party from, among other things, “filing an appeal from  bankruptcy
proceedings without first obtaining leave of the court in which he seeks to file the appeal”).
To exercise their inherent authority, federal courts may “‘impose carefully tailored
restrictions’ upon ‘abusive litigants.’” Scott v. Bradford, No. 13-12781, 2014 WL 6675354,
at *3 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 25, 2014) (quoting Cotner v. Hopkins, 795 F.2d 900, 902 (10th Cir.
1986)). Although a plaintiff may not be “absolutely foreclosed from initiating an action in a
court of the United States,” district courts may “require one who has abused the legal
process to make a showing that a tendered lawsuit is not frivolous or vexatious before
permitting it to be filed.” Ortman v. Thomas, 99 F.3d 807, 811 (6th Cir. 1996). “There is
nothing unusual about imposing prefiling restrictions in matters with a history of repetitive
or vexatious litigation.” Feathers v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 141 F.3d 264, 269 (6th Cir. 1998).
To determine whether a pre-filing injunction is appropriate, the Court considers:
(1) the litigant’s history of vexatious, harassing or duplicative lawsuits; (2) whether the
litigant has an objective, good-faith expectation of prevailing; (3) whether the litigant is
represented by counsel; (4) whether the litigant has caused needless expenses to other
parties or has posed an unnecessary burden on the courts and their personnel; and
(5) whether other sanctions would be adequate to protect the courts and other parties.
Tropf v. Fid. Nat. Title Ins. Co., 289 F.3d 929, 940 n.18 (6th Cir. 2002). If a litigant “is likely
to continue to abuse the judicial process and harass other parties,” then a pre-filing
injunction is warranted. Scott, 2014 WL 6675354, at *4 (quotations omitted).
Chaban has filed a series of appeals in the Court over the past few years, each of
which has been rejected by the Court, and one of which was rejected by the United States
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Chaban’s history of vexatious litigation began in state
court and proceeded through federal bankruptcy court. The Court has thoroughly
documented that history in Case No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20, and need not restate it here.
Chaban’s motives for filing these appeals are unclear, but his behavior shows that he
has no objective, good-faith expectation of prevailing. As stated earlier, “[t]he amount of
judicial time and resources wasted by Chaban’s vexatious litigation and the negative toll
that it has taken on the parties to Chaban’s harassment is an abuse of the judicial system.”
No. 2:15-cv-12361, ECF 20, PgID 383–84. Instead of wasting those resources on Chaban’s
appeals, the Court should be assisting parties who file legitimate claims in good faith,
supported by arguable bases in law and fact.
Chaban argues, however, that the Court exceeded its authority under Federal Rule
of Bankruptcy Procedure 8020 when it enjoined him from filing bankruptcy appeals. ECF
11, PgID 109–11. District courts have the authority to enjoin serial filers of bankruptcy
appeals. See, e.g., In re Martin-Trigona, 737 F.2d at 1259. But Chaban has yet to become
the kind of “serial filer” whose appeals should be enjoined, and the Court has yet to
consider “whether other sanctions would be adequate to protect the courts and other
parties” from Chaban’s habitual abuse of the judicial process. Tropf v. Fid. Nat. Title Ins.
Co., 289 F.3d at 940 n.18. Accordingly, the Court will allow Chaban to proceed with his
appeal in Case Number 2:17-cv-11139.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED that Chaban’s Motion to Allow Appeal  is
s/Stephen J. Murphy, III
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
United States District Judge
Dated: June 13, 2017
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties and/or
counsel of record on June 13, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/David P. Parker
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?