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Defined. A vexatious litigant is a person who does any of the following (Code Civ. Proc. §391(b)):

  • In the immediately preceding seven-year period has commenced, prosecuted, or maintained in propria persona at least five litigations other than in a small claims court that have been (i) finally determined adversely to the person or (ii) unjustifiably permitted to remain pending at least two years without having been brought to trial or hearing.
  • After a litigation has been finally determined against the person, repeatedly relitigates or attempts to relitigate, in propria persona, either (i) the validity of the determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined or (ii) the cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined.
  • In any litigation while acting in propria persona, repeatedly files unmeritorious motions, pleadings, or other papers, conducts unnecessary discovery, or engages in other tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.
  • Has previously been declared to be a vexatious litigant by any state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding based upon the same or substantially similar facts, transaction, or occurrence.

Relief. Courts may, upon motion of any party, prohibit a vexatious litigant from filing any new litigation without first obtaining permission from the court. (Code Civ. Proc. §391.7.) In addition, the person can be ordered to post a bond to cover the association's court costs. If the plaintiff fails to post a bond, the litigation can be dismissed. (Code Civ. Proc. §§391.1, 391.3, and 391.4; Kovacevic v. Avalon at Eagle’s Crossing.) However, a vexatious litigant defendant does not need the court's permission to appeal. (John v. Sup. Ct.)

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