Friday, August 27, 2010

Northern District of California Judge denies Mandamus in ADA case

Some cases are odd. This is one of them.

Phillip Stimac is an unhappy camper. On June 28, 2000 the California Supreme Court disbarred him for filing a series of frivolous lawsuits against an assortment of public officials. He claims that the Court disbarred him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which should be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California who is now Melissa Haag. He seeks a writ of mandamus to compel her to meet with him about it. He has also submitted (but then abandoned) a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain documents about prosecution of ADA cases.

A writ of mandamus is an interesting legal device. Under the Mandamus Act, a person can compel a federal official to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff. However, U.S. Attorneys have very broad discretion to choose the cases they prosecute. Here, Judge Susan Illston found that success in an ADA action was "far from 'clear and certain'" and that Ms. Haag has the discretion not to pursue the case.

Judge Illston dismissed the case.  The case is Stimac v. Haag, No. C 10-02216, and the opinion is below the jump.

Here is the opinion:

Stimac v. Haag MTD

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