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Taal v. St. Mary's Bank

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

February 14, 2017

Baboucar Taal
v.
St. Mary's Bank, Ronald Covey, Gregory Uliasz, and Gillian Abramson Opinion No. 2017 DNH 025

          ORDER

          LANDYA MCCAFFERTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Appearing pro se, Baboucar Taal asserts six claims against four defendants: St. Mary's Bank (“SMB”); SMB's president, Ronald Covey; SMB's attorney, Gregory Uliasz; and Judge Gillian Abramson, who has presided over a case Taal brought in the New Hampshire Superior Court. Under the aegis of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Taal asserts that defendants violated his rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution (Counts I and III), and that they conspired to violate his constitutional rights (Counts II and IV).[1] In his remaining two claims (Counts V and VI), he asserts that defendants are liable to him for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (“RICO”) violations. See 18 U.S.C. § 1962. Before the court are two motions to dismiss, one filed by Judge Abramson, the other filed by SMB, Covey, and Uliasz (hereinafter “the SMB defendants”). For the reasons that follow, those two motions to dismiss are both granted.

         I. Background

         The facts recited in this section are drawn largely from Judge DiClerico's January 20, 2014, order on preliminary review in Taal v. Uliasz, No. 13-cv-545-JD, a case that Taal brought in this court several years ago.[2]

         Taal and his wife, Guylaine, once received a loan from SMB that was secured by a mortgage. They have also received other loans from SMB, including at least one that was unsecured, and have had other accounts with SMB. In 2009, SMB received a judgment against Taal in an action in the Merrimack District Court to collect an unsecured debt. Thereafter, Taal surrendered a recreational vehicle to SMB, which the bank was supposed to sell to satisfy its judgment. Subsequently, Taal sued SMB in the Hillsborough County Superior Court. In that action, 11-C-741, Taal claimed, among other things, that SMB had not disposed of the RV in a commercially reasonable manner.

         Judge Abramson, a defendant in this case, dismissed 11-C-741 on res judicata grounds. And, in her order of dismissal, she

extended a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction . . . against Taal which enjoined Taal from contacting [SMB] employees and agents directly, rather than through counsel, and further enjoined him from harassing and intimidating certain individuals, including Uliasz's spouse.

Taal, slip op. at 4. Taal appealed the order of dismissal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court (“NHSC”). The NHSC reversed the dismissal, and remanded, but it also affirmed Judge Abramson's extension of the injunction against Taal.

         On remand, Taal moved for the recusal of Judge Abramson. She denied his motion. Then, when Taal failed to appear at a final trial management conference and failed to file a pretrial statement, Judge Abramson dismissed 11-C-741 again, in an order dated April 2, 2013.

         Later in 2013, after Taal contacted various SMB employees, SMB moved for contempt in 11-C-741. This is what happened next:

On October 18, 2013, the superior court found that Taal had violated the [injunction against contacting SMB employees], which remained in effect despite the dismissal of Taal's case, by contacting Ronald Covey, the CEO of [SMB], and accusing [SMB] of several violations of the law. The court ordered Taal to pay [SMB] $1, 825 in attorneys' fees incurred in filing the motion for contempt . . . and in attending the hearing. After Taal failed to pay the fees, the court scheduled a show cause hearing to address Taal's failure to obey the court order, which [was] scheduled for January 15, 2014.

Taal, slip op. at 6. After that hearing was scheduled, SMB filed a second motion for contempt.

         “On December 20, 2013, apparently in response to [SMB]'s two motions for contempt, Taal filed [an] action against Uliasz and the firm for which he works.” Taal, slip op. at 7. That action was Judge DiClerico's case, 13-cv-545-JD. Then:

On December 30, 2013, Uliasz, on behalf of [SMB], mailed Guylaine [Taal] a notice of mortgage foreclosure sale, which sale [was] scheduled to occur on January 31, 2014. On January 3, 2014, Taal filed a motion for an emergency preliminary injunction [in 13-cv-545-JD], seeking to enjoin the foreclosure.

Id.

         On preliminary review, Judge DiClerico dismissed Taal's case, explaining that due to the pendency of Taal's state court action, i.e., the hearing in 11-C-741 that was scheduled for January 15, dismissal was required by the Younger abstention doctrine. SeeYounger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-44 (1971). And, because he was dismissing Taal's case, Judge DiClerico also denied Taal's request for an ...


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