“A `fraud on the court’ occurs where it can be demonstrated, clearly and convincingly, that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party’s claim or defense.” Mt. Ivy Press v. Defonseca.
“[E]ntry of a default judgment for fraud on the court has been warranted for creating and presenting false evidence in support of a claim.” Rockdale Mgmt. v. Shawmut Bank (listing cases); Aoude v. Mobil Oil Corp. (fabricated document is a “near-classic example” of fraud on the court).
The Selectmen’s bad faith is manifest. See Aoude. They perpetrated a hoax of monumental magnitude upon, not only on the motoring public at large, but also upon the unsuspecting court. They systematically erected scores of phony speed limit signs, enforced them by issuing thousands of bogus traffic citations, and then proffered these as prima facie evidence. This deception lies at the center of the case. See Mt. Ivy Press.
The only conceivable reason for the Selectmen’s and their civil servants’ elaborate duplicity was to gain unfair advantage by either (1) tricking motorists to abide by phony speed limit signs, (2) conning motorists to simply pay fines to settle bogus Speeding citations and thereby keeping them out of court altogether, or (3) proffering fabricated prima facie evidence of Speeding to the court during the CMVI hearing. See Aoude.
These unscrupulous tactics plainly hindered motorists ability to prepare and present their defense. Id. It simultaneously threw a large monkey wrench into the judicial machinery so that it could not perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudging cases that are presented for adjudication. See Mt. Ivy Press.
Although fraud on the court typically involves officers of the court, pro se litigants are generally required to comply with the same rules as represented parties and their attorneys. Mt. Ivy Press. The procedure specified in G.L. c. 90C for the handling CMVI’s is essentially sui generis, and determining responsibility involves a proceeding between the State and the motor vehicle operator. Commonwealth v. Mongardi. In the administration of the law concerning CMVI’s, the police act as prosecutors as a practical matter in presenting such infractions to clerk-magistrates and to judges, such as an officer of the Police Department did in this case. See Cambridge v. Phillips. There is no reason to immunize the Selectmen from the consequences of the most egregious form of misconduct – an entire case buttressed by falsehoods. See Mt. Ivy Press (stated a claim for fraud on the court).