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Michael Dean Vaughan v. Ky Army National Guard

May 1, 2013



This matter is one in a series of suits filed by Plaintiff Michael Dean Vaughan concerning actions taken against him while a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard. This case was filed on March 5, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. [Record No. 1] The Kentucky Army National Guard and the United States Department of the Army are named as defendants. Vaughan's First Amended Complaint includes two counts for relief alleging violations of certain provisions of the Privacy Act. Because the defendants' use of records in litigation is permissible under the Privacy Act, Vaughan's claims will be dismissed.


It is necessary to summarize Vaughan's other civil actions to put this matter in proper context.

A. Michael Dean Vaughan v. Mary Elizabeth Brigham, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Ky., Central Div. at Frankfort, Civil Action No. 3: 10-005-DCR (filed February 16, 2010)

In this original action, Vaughan contended that Brigham had improperly contacted individuals with the Kentucky National Guard to accuse him of: (i) posting pornographic materials purporting to be Brigham on the internet; (ii) contacted "peers" within Brigham's workplace to harass her; and (iii) creating an online "persona" to harass Brigham. Based on these factual allegations, Vaughan asserted claims of defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Following a hearing on several motions held on September 10, 2010, the Court denied various items of relief requested by Vaughan. The matter was then held in abeyance for six months to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether Vaughan had committed criminal acts related to the litigation. [Civil Action No. 3: 10-005-DCR; Record No. 45]

More motions followed, with an evidentiary hearing held on June 28, 2011. By Memorandum Opinion and Order filed on July 5, 2011, the Court dismissed the action because Vaughan had acted in bad faith and committed perjury. In relevant part, the Court noted:

Vaughan was warned that perjury would have serious consequences. The Court verbally warned Vaughan before he provided any testimony in this case that false testimony would carry "serious penalties." Further, the Court provided Vaughan written notice, before the second hearing, that if he were found to have committed perjury, he would be subject to sanctions. Vaughan, therefore, was adequately warned that his continued reliance on his false statements and representations would have consequences.

Finally, considering Vaughan's conduct throughout this proceeding, the Court is convinced that no other sanction would appropriately deter the kind of conduct Vaughan has exhibited in this case. See Eppes v. H.E. Snowden, 656 F. Supp. 1267 (E.D. Ky. 1986) ("The remedy must serve as a deterrent to the defendant and all other that might be similarly tempted to [provide false testimony] . . . [and] must be sufficient to serve universal notice that this conduct will not be tolerated."). The Court has considered other sanctions, but finds that nothing short of dismissal would sufficiently make clear to Vaughan that his conduct will not be tolerated. [See June 28, 2011 Tr. ("I find that this defendant has presented false and perjured testimony to me, he doesn't seem to understand the significance of that, he doesn't seem to understand that he's lost on several motions that he's filed, that he keeps coming back with the same arguments that are unsuccessful. In short, I don't know that there's any other sanction that would be appropriate other than dismissal of this case.")] Perjury will not be tolerated. And using the federal court as a means for retaliation, harassment, and the fulfillment of personal vendettas will likewise not be tolerated. Vaughan has acted in bad faith and he has abused the litigation process. Under the circumstances, the only appropriate remedy is outright dismissal of his action. (footnotes and internal citations omitted) [Id.; Record No. 76]

This dismissal was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on May 9, 2012. [Id.; Record No. 87]

B. Michael Dean Vaughan v. Rodney Hayes, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Ky., Central Div. at Frankfort, Civil Action No. 3: 10-054-DCR (filed August 16, 2010)

Further angered by actions occurring in Civil Action No. 3: 10-005-DCR, on August 6, 2010, Vaughan sued Rodney Hayes, an officer with the Kentucky National Guard. In his official capacity as the Chief Information Officer for the Kentucky National Guard, Hayes*fn1 was involved in investigating Brigham's claims against Vaughan. Hayes also held the position as military staff officer in charge of communications and computers in a joint command involving both army and air force elements. Thus, he was responsible for all aspects of the Kentucky National Guard's computer systems. Hayes duties included exercising supervisory personnel management responsibilities. This required Hayes to initiate action to correct performance or conduct problems of employees directly supervised and reviews and/or approval of serious disciplinary actions involving non-supervisory subordinates such as Vaughan.

According to Vaughan, Hayes stated at a meeting on August 18, 2009 in which others were present, that he had conducted an investigation of Brigham's assertions and determined that they were correct. Vaughan contends that he was not allowed to rebut Brigham's allegedly defamatory statements. Vaughan sought both injunctive and monetary relief based upon claims of: defamation, slander and libel (Count One); invasion of privacy (Count Two); false light (Count Three); and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count Four). [Id.; Record No. 3]*fn2

This action was dismissed in accordance with the Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on December 5, 2012. [Id.; Record No. 53] The Court dismissed the claims asserted in this action due to Vaughan's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act and based upon the government's assertion of sovereign immunity. The Court did not reach the United States' argument that the claims should also be dismissed under the Feres doctrine of intra-military immunity.

Again, Vaughan appealed the Court's dismissal of his action. This appeal was dismissed on February 14, ...

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