Judges impose limits on frequent filer
LINCOLN, Neb. — A jail inmate who recently filed more than 60 lawsuits in a day will no longer be able to flood Lancaster County courts with lawsuits. All six Lancaster County District judges signed off on an order limiting Eric Lewis to six filings a year unless he can show he faces immediate harm.
Lewis, 36, has filed 149 cases since January 2007. Many of Lewis’ filings ask for protection orders against people who work at the jail or oversee his custody.
The judges said most cases can be denied without hearings, but the filings can create significant work for court clerks.
In their order, the judges said Lewis "has flagrantly and repeatedly abused the judicial process." There is precedent for such limits on court filings. Previously, three courts restricted the number of filings Billy Roy Tyler could submit while serving a seven- to 10-year prison term on drug charges.
In 1990, the Douglas County District Court said Tyler had filed 99 lawsuits in an eight-year period. The court limited him to filing just one a month unless he proved the likelihood of "immediate, extraordinary and irreparable harm." In 1998, the Lancaster County District Court limited the number of suits Tyler could file after he initiated 88 actions in one year.
Nebraska’s federal judges also limited Tyler in the number of actions he can file after he filed 113 lawsuits in U.S. District Court in 19 months.
Lewis won’t be able to file any more lawsuits in Lancaster County this year because he has already exceeded the yearly limit.
Lewis is awaiting trial for second-degree murder.
Authorities say Lewis attacked and killed Dr. Louis Martin last July at a Lincoln psychiatric hospital. Martin was pushed into a wall and then fell to the floor. The 78-year-old died Aug. 2.
Lewis had been placed at the hospital after a Douglas County District judge found him incompetent to stand trial on sexual assault charges.