A Madison-area entertainer known for filing frivolous lawsuits could be barred from taking additional legal action in federal court.
According to court documents (PDF) filed March 10, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has ordered Catherine Conrad, who performs as a character named the “Banana Lady,” to present arguments for why she should continue to be allowed to file federal suits in federal court while she still owes large debts to the courts. Conrad had until March 25 to file a response. Court records show she had not submitted an answer by Monday afternoon.
Crabb’s order stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Conrad and her two partners, Quincy Neri and Rodney Rigsby. Besides admonishing Conrad, the judge granted summary judgment to the defendants in the suit.
The suit partly alleged that a former business partner owed Conrad, Neri and Rigsby the damages that the partner had received from a settlement over a car accident.
Judge Crabb wrote that there was no evidence to support the allegations. The business partner had settled for $5,000 and, according to a previous agreement, paid Rigsby exactly half that amount. There was no such agreement with Conrad and Neri, according to Crabb.
In the order, Crabb noted that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had directed the lower court to take this action in Conrad vs. AM Community Credit Union, and that Conrad should take the order as a sign that “she was skating on thin ice and needed to stop filing vexatious, frivolous lawsuits in federal court.”
Crabb also wrote that the order was a warning to Neri and Rigsby.
More recent filings show that on March 24, the defendants filed a motion (PDF) seeking compensation for attorney’s fees. They had asked for more than $11,025 against Rigsby alone and a separate $48,735 against Rigsby, Neri and Conrad. The trio filed a motion (PDF) on Monday objecting to the claim for those fees.
If Crabb approves the motion, that will add another chunk to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid judgments, sanctions and court costs the three have racked up.
Conrad, Neri and Rigsby have made a name for themselves by filing more than 20 lawsuits against more than a hundred defendants. Many of the parties have been sued more than once in state and federal courts.