Decision to Toss Abusive Inmate's Lawsuit Upheld

, New York Law Journal

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An inmate who made abusive attacks, slurs and insults to a magistrate judge deserved to have his federal lawsuit dismissed as a sanction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said Thursday.

Inmate Edward Koehl brought suit in the Southern District claiming officials at the Green Haven Correctional Facility violated his civil rights by not providing him necessary medical treatment.

Judge Sidney Stein directed Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein to handle pretrial matters, including making a recommendation on the state's motion to dismiss. But Koehl fired off a series of letters to Gorenstein attacking his character, his judicial fitness and his religion.

Koehl sent more abusive letters after Gorenstein warned him to stop in January 2012. When ordered to show cause why the action should not be dismissed three months later, Koehl made yet another vitriolic submission.

In August, Stein accepted the magistrate's recommendation that the suit be dismissed as a sanction, and on Thursday, Judges Pierre Level, Peter Hall and Raymond Lohier upheld that decision by per curium opinion.

While litigants have the right to accuse a judge of bias or misconduct, the court said in Koehl v. Bernstein, 12-3855-cv, that right "does not carry with it the right to abuse and insult."

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