United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
ROBIN J. HILL, Plaintiff,
UNKNOWN NAMED POLICE OFFICER and RAPID CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE
Robin J. Hill, appearing pro se, filed a complaint
alleging violations of his constitutional rights. (Docket 1).
The court appointed Attorney James Leach for a period of
sixty (60) days to represent Mr. Hill and determine whether
he would represent Mr. Hill for the remainder of the case.
(Docket 11). The court vacated the order appointing Mr. Leach
to this case. (Docket 15).
this case was filed, the court has been informed that Robin
J. Hill is a false name and the plaintiff's real name is
Michael Howard Hunter. Mr. Hunter has filed multiple lawsuits
in the District of South Dakota and the District of North
Dakota. Mr. Hunter has filed six cases in the District of
South Dakota and 14 cases in the District of North
January 11, 2017, Mr. Hunter was arrested for a violation of
supervised release in a case from the District of North
Dakota. United States v. Michael Howard Hunter, CR.
13-00042 (Docket 318) (D.N.D. 2013).
a lawsuit under a false name is a serious act and courts do
not treat it lightly. In an analogous case where a plaintiff
brought a civil rights case under a false name, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stated:
Filing a case under a false name deliberately, and without
sufficient justification, certainly qualifies as flagrant
contempt for the judicial process and amounts to behavior
that transcends the interests of the parties in the
underlying action. . . .
We note that Rule 10(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure mandates that every pleading “shall include
the names of all the parties.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a)
(2002). In rare instances will we allow parties to proceed
under false names because the public has a right to know who
is using the courts. Doe v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield
United of Wis., 112 F.3d 869, 872 (7th Cir. 1997).
Sheppard's failure to proceed under his true name is also
a violation of Rule 10(a).
Dotson v. Bravo, 321 F.3d 663, 668, 669 n.4 (7th
Cir. 2003). The Dotson court found dismissal with
prejudice appropriate because of the plaintiff's acts.
Id. at 668-69. The United States Court of Appeals
for the Eleventh Circuit stated a similar view:
A trial is not a masquerade party nor is it a game of
judicial hide-n-seek where the plaintiff may offer the
defendant the added challenge of uncovering his real name. We
sometimes speak of litigation as a search for the truth, but
the parties ought not have to search for each other's
true identity. Rule 10(a) requires that the name of the
parties be disclosed in the complaint; Rule 11 forbids lying
in pleadings, motions, and other papers filed with the court;
and Rule 41(b) provides for dismissal with prejudice as the
ultimate sanction for violation of the rules. Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 10(a); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 11; Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 41(b).
Zocaras v. Castro, 465 F.3d 479, 484 (11th Cir.
2006). The Zocaras court dismissed the
plaintiff's complaint with prejudice. Id. at
court finds plaintiff's act of filing under a false name
violates Rule 10 and Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Zocaras, 465 F.3d at 484;
Dotson, 321 F.3d at 668.
deception in Zocaras and Dotson was more
extensive than it is in this case. In Zocaras, the
plaintiff “followed a pattern of deception for a period
of at least six years from the time he got the driver's
license in 1996 through multiple arrests, convictions, and
incarcerations, and filed more than thirty pleadings and
motions under a false name in [the] case.” 465 F.3d at
483. “At least some of those pleadings and motions were
filed under penalty of perjury. All of them hid his actual
identity. Not until the pretrial proceedings were completed
and a jury was in the box did the plaintiff finally own up to
who he really is.” Id. In this case,
plaintiff's deception is limited to five filings under a
false name. (Dockets 1, 3, 4, 8 & 10). But the court