Stop Vexatious and Frivolous Litigation In California Courts
It’s easy to stop vexatious litigation and relieve court congestion in California. Simply amend California’s vexatious litigant statute (“VLS”) to delete the words “in propria persona” from Cal.Civ.Proc.Code, sec’s 391(b)1, 391(b)2, and 391(b)(3). That’s it!
The VLS targets only litigants in propria persona (“proper litigants” – those not represented by a lawyer). But they are the WRONG TARGET! The VLS, as it now stands, is clearly not effective. Court congestion has only gotten worse in the years since the VLS became law (in 1964 and amended in 1991). Making scapegoats of proper litigants serves to legitimize the truly vexatious and frivolous litigation filed by lawyer-represented litigants.
Most lengthy trials and frivolous claims are brought by lawyer-represented litigants – not by proper litigants. For example, out of LegalZoom’s “Top Ten Frivolous Lawsuits” (Oct 2009) only one was filed by a proper litigant (a prisoner). It’s the lawyers – not proper litigants – who make money – lots of money – by dragging out litigation and by filing claims and motions without merit. That’s their job. That’s what they do. On the other hand, a layman in propria persona (other than a prisoner) usually has many other things in life to do
Most proper litigants don’t even have the skill to properly harass the other side. They are, however, an annoyance to judges who don’t have patience for people who barely know the rules of the litigation game. It’s the laziness of judges that the VLS protects and it’s no wonder that judges make heroic efforts to support the constitutionality of the VLS.
In any case, litigation where one or both litigants are in propria persona are generally less time-consuming and less frivolous than litigation where both litigants are represented by lawyers.
The VLS should apply equally to ALL LITIGANTS, whether represented by a lawyer or not.