Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 5/3/2021

Rule 83. Vexatious litigants.

(a) Definitions.

(1) The courtmay find a person to be a "vexatious litigant" if the person, with orwithout legal representation, including an attorney acting pro se, does any ofthe following:

(A) In theimmediately preceding seven years, the person has filed at least five claimsfor relief, other than small claims actions, that have been finally determinedagainst the person, and the person does not have within that time at least twoclaims, other than small claims actions, that have been finally determined inthat person?s favor.

(B) After aclaim for relief or an issue of fact or law in the claim has been finallydetermined, the person two or more additional times re-litigates or attempts tore-litigate the claim, the issue of fact or law, or the validity of thedetermination against the same party in whose favor the claim or issue wasdetermined.

(C) In anyaction, the person three or more times does any one orany combination of the following:

(i) files unmeritorious pleadings or other papers,

(ii) files pleadings or other papers that contain redundant,immaterial, impertinent or scandalous matter,

(iii) conducts unnecessary discovery or discovery that is notproportional to what is at stake in the litigation, or

(iv) engages in tactics that are frivolous or solely for thepurpose of harassment or delay.

(D) The personpurports to represent or to use the procedures of a court other than a court ofthe United States, a court created by the Constitution of the United States orby Congress under the authority of the Constitution of the United States, atribal court recognized by the United States, a court created by a state orterritory of the United States, or a court created by a foreign nationrecognized by the United States.

(2) ?Claim? and?claim for relief? mean a petition, complaint, counterclaim, cross claim orthird-party complaint.

(b) Vexatious litigant orders. The court may, on its own motion oron the motion of any party, enter an order requiring a vexatious litigant to:

(1) furnish security to assure payment of the moving party?sreasonable expenses, costs and, if authorized, attorney fees incurred in apending action;

(2) obtain legalcounsel before proceeding in a pending action;

(3) obtain legalcounsel before filing any future claim for relief;

(4) abide by a prefiling orderrequiring the vexatious litigant to obtain leave of the court before filing anypaper, pleading, or motion in a pending action;

(5) abide by a prefiling orderrequiring the vexatious litigant to obtain leave of the court before filing anyfuture claim for relief in any court; or

(6) take any other action reasonably necessary to curb thevexatious litigant?s abusive conduct.

(c) Necessary findings and security.

(1) Beforeentering an order under subparagraph (b), the court must find by clear andconvincing evidence that:

(A) the party subject to the order is a vexatious litigant; and

(B) there is no reasonable probability that the vexatiouslitigant will prevail on the claim.

(2) A preliminaryfinding that there is no reasonable probability that the vexatious litigantwill prevail is not a decision on the ultimate merits of the vexatiouslitigant?s claim.

(3) The courtshall identify the amount of the security and the time within which it is to befurnished. If the security is not furnished as ordered, the court shall dismissthe vexatious litigant?s claim with prejudice.

(d) Prefiling ordersin a pending action.

(1) If avexatious litigant is subject to a prefiling orderin a pending action requiring leave of the court to file any paper, pleading,or motion, the vexatious litigant shall submit any proposed paper, pleading, ormotion to the judge assigned to the case and must:

(A) demonstrate that the paper, pleading, or motion is based ona good faith dispute of the facts;

(B) demonstrate that the paper, pleading, or motion is warrantedunder existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, orreversal of existing law;

(C) include anoath, affirmation or declaration under criminal penalty that the proposedpaper, pleading or motion is not filed for the purpose of harassment or delayand contains no redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous matter;

(2) A prefiling order in a pending action shall be effectiveuntil a final determination of the action on appeal, unless otherwise orderedby the court.

(3) Aftera prefiling order has been effective in apending action for one year, the person subject to the prefiling ordermay move to have the order vacated. The motion shall be decided by the judge towhom the pending action is assigned. In granting the motion, the judge mayimpose any other vexatious litigant orders permitted in paragraph (b).

(4) All papers,pleadings, and motions filed by a vexatious litigant subject to a prefiling order under this  paragraph(d) shall include a judicial order authorizing the filing and any requiredsecurity. If the order or security is not included, the clerk or court shallreject the paper, pleading, or motion.

(e) Prefiling ordersas to future claims.

(1) A vexatiouslitigant subject to a prefiling orderrestricting the filing of future claims shall submit an application seeking anorder before filing. The presiding judge of the judicial district in which theclaim is to be filed shall decide the application. The presiding judge mayconsult with the judge who entered the vexatious litigant order in deciding theapplication. In granting an application, the presiding judge may impose in thepending action any of the vexatious litigant orders permitted under paragraph(b).

(2) To obtain anorder under paragraph (e)(1), the vexatious litigant?sapplication must:

(A) demonstrate that the claim is based on a good faith disputeof the facts;

(B) demonstrate that the claim is warranted under existing lawor a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal ofexisting law;

(C) include anoath, affirmation, or declaration under criminal penalty that the proposedclaim is not filed for the purpose of harassment or delay and contains noredundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous matter;

(D) include a copy of the proposed petition, complaint,counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party complaint; and

(E) include the court name and case number of all claims thatthe applicant has filed against each party within the preceding seven years andthe disposition of each claim.

(3) A prefiling order limiting the filing of future claimsis effective indefinitely unless the court orders a shorter period.

(4) After fiveyears a person subject to a pre-filing order limiting the filing of futureclaims may file a motion to vacate the order. The motion shall be filed in thesame judicial district from which the order entered and be decided by thepresiding judge of that district.

(5) A claimfiled by a vexatious litigant subject to a prefiling orderunder this paragraph (e) shall include an order authorizing the filing and anyrequired security. If the order or security is not included, the clerk of courtshall reject the filing.

(f) Notice of vexatious litigant orders.

(1) The clerksof court shall notify the Administrative Office of the Courts that a pre-filingorder has been entered or vacated.

(2) TheAdministrative Office of the Courts shall disseminate to the clerks of court alist of vexatious litigants subject to a prefiling order.

(g) Statute of limitations or time forfiling tolled. Anyapplicable statute of limitations or time in which the person is required totake any action is tolled until 7 days after notice of the decision on themotion or application for authorization to file.

(h) Contempt sanctions. Disobedience by a vexatious litigantof a pre-filing order may be punished as contempt of court.

(i) Other authority. This rule does not affect theauthority of the court under other statutes and rules or the inherent authorityof the court.

(j)Applicability of vexatious litigant order to other courts. After a court has issued a vexatious litigant order, any other court mayrely upon that court?s findings and order its own restrictions against thelitigant as provided in paragraph (b). 

 

Effective May 1, 2021