Trials & Litigation

4th Circuit rejects Posner appeal, says judge saw futility in client's bid to amend suit

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Richard Posner. Photo by chensiyuan, via Wikimedia Commons.

A federal appeals court decided it didn’t need oral arguments to dispense with an appeal filed by former Circuit Judge Richard Posner on behalf of a one-time pro se litigant.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals needed only seven pages to reject the appeal filed on behalf of William Bond, a former pro se litigant who alleged that three federal judges conspired to throw a federal case.

The appeals court ruled Thursday that a federal court did not abuse its discretion by denying Bond’s second motion to amend his tossed complaint. Above the Law has coverage of the unpublished, per curiam appeals court opinion.

Posner had accused a federal judge of laziness for rejecting Bond’s initial complaint in an opinion that partly copied and pasted from a government motion. Posner contended the district court then issued two orders that didn’t provide an adequate explanation for rejecting two requests by Bond to amend the complaint.

The appeals court acknowledged that the district court didn’t explicitly state “whether Bond’s second motion to amend was being denied for prejudice, bad faith or futility.”

But the order did say Bond’s second motion was being dismissed for reasons stated in an initial dismissal of the suit. Given the reference to the prior opinion, the appeals court said, “we conclude that the only relevant basis for its decision was a determination that the proposed second amended complaint was futile.”

The court rejected other arguments and said oral argument was unnecessary because the facts and contentions were adequately presented in materials. Argument “would not aid the decisional process,” the appeals court said.

Bond had contended three federal judges conspired to throw a federal case and misused federal agents in an attempt to subvert his planned demonstrations. Among the defendants was then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, currently the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel investigation.

Posner is a former judge with the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has said he resigned from the court after being rebuffed in efforts to give pro se litigants a better shake by reviewing the memos of 7th Circuit staff attorneys who evaluate appeals.

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