What Happens to Vexatious Litigants in California?

The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) has a section on “vexatious litigants” in Title 3A of Part 2. Title 3A was added in 1963 by Chapter 1471. Section 391 of the CCP defines the term “litigation” , “vexatious litigant”, “security”, “plaintiff” and “defendant”.

The term “vexatious litigant” means a person who does any of the following:

  • In the immediately preceding seven-year period, you have commenced, prosecuted, or maintained on your own person at least five litigations other than in small claims court that have been (i) resolved adversely to the person or (ii) unreasonably permitted to remain pending for at least two years without being brought to trial or hearing.
  • After litigation against the person has been finally resolved, re-litigates or attempts to re-litigate repeatedly, in propria persona, either (i) the validity of the determination against the same defendant or defendants in respect of which finally determined the litigation or (ii) the cause of action, claim, controversy or any of the questions of fact or law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same defendant or defendants with respect to which the litigation was finally determined.
  • In any litigation, while acting in person, you repeatedly file meritless motions, pleadings or other documents, make unnecessary discoveries, or engage in other tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.
  • Has previously been declared a vexatious litigator by any state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding based on the same or substantially similar facts, transactions, or occurrences.
  • After being retained under a restraining order issued after a hearing under the Family Code, and while the restraining order is still in effect, commenced, prosecuted, or maintained one or more lawsuits against a protected person by the restraining order in this or any other court or jurisdiction that is found to be without merit and has caused the person protected by the order to be harassed or intimidated.

CPC Section 391.1 provides that, in any dispute pending in any court in this state, at any time until final judgment is entered, the defendant may apply to the court, upon notice and hearing, for an order requiring the plaintiff to provide a guarantee or an order to dismiss the dispute.

The motion for an order requiring the plaintiff to provide security must be based on the basis, and supported by a showing, that the plaintiff is a vexatious litigant and that there is no reasonable probability that it will prevail in litigation against the defendant in motion. .

CPC Section 391.2 provides that, at the hearing on the motion, the court must consider any evidence, written or oral, from witnesses or sworn statements, that may be important in supporting the motion.

Section 391.3 of the CCP provides that if, after hearing the evidence on the motion, the court finds that the plaintiff is a vexatious litigant and that there is no reasonable probability that the plaintiff will prevail in litigation against the defendant in motion, the The court is obliged to order the actor to provide security in the amount and within the term set by the court.

Article 391.4 of the CCP establishes that, when the guarantee that has been ordered to be provided is not provided as ordered, the litigation must be dismissed as to the defendant for whose benefit it was ordered to be provided.

Section 391.6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that, when a pretrial motion is filed, the litigation is stayed and the defendant need not plead guilty until 10 days after the motion is denied, or if granted, up to 10 days after the required guarantee has been given. has been provided and the defendant in motion gives written notice.

Section 391.7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that a court may, on its own initiative or at the request of either party, enter a prior production order that prohibits a vexatious litigant from filing any new litigation in the courts of this state in propria persona without first obtaining the permission of the president. magistrate or presiding judge of the court where the litigation is proposed to be initiated.

CPC section 391.8 provides that a vexatious litigant subject to a pre-appearance order may file an application to vacate the pre-appearance order and remove his or her name from the Judicial Council’s list of vexatious litigants subject to pre-appearance orders.

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