Abusive Pro Se Plaintiffs in the Federal Courts: Proposals for Judicial Control

This Note argues that a few courts have adopted lawful restraints and administrative procedures that, if uniformly adopted, would significantly improve protection of judicial resources while preserving access to the civil courts for legitimate claims. Part I identifies career plaintiffs and the burdens imposed on courts by excessive and abusive litigation. Part I also examines the source and scope of the right of access to the judicial process. Part II analyzes judicial responses to abuse in terms of their constitutionality and effectiveness at curbing such tactics. Part III advocates administrative procedures that would promote earlier identification of pro se career plaintiffs, including the use of special personnel and greater coordination among the courts. Part III further advocates requiring identified career plaintiffs to obtain prior leave of court before they may file complaints. For the most extraordinary cases of abuse, courts should enjoin plaintiffs from proceeding without representation by counsel.