Martin v. Redden, No. 21-1937 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
The Southern District of Indiana imposed a filing bar against Martin for submitting false information in an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Martin subsequently filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that an Indiana State Prison guard sexually assaulted him. The defendants argued that Martin had forged the signature, date, and checkmark on a grievance form to avoid summary judgment for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Martin unsuccessfully moved to remove the allegedly falsified documents from the record and asked the court to appoint handwriting and computer experts; he alleged the defendants had tampered with the forms.
The district court found that Martin had knowingly submitted an altered form and, under FRCP 56(h), barred him for two years “from filing any document in any civil case in this court until he pays all fines and filing fees due in any federal court.” The bar does not apply to appeals or to habeas corpus petitions. The court dismissed all of Martin’s pending civil cases. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The evidence of Martin’s fraud was plain, and the court did not abuse its discretion in deciding that it did not need an expert to understand the evidence. The court reasonably concluded that a hearing would not aid its decision. “Martin’s conduct in this case and others cannot be tolerated.”