John v. Superior Court of Los Angeles CountyAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff initiated an unlawful detainer action against Defendant. The jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. Defendant’s attorney then substituted out of the case, and Defendant proceeded with self-representation. Plaintiff was awarded attorney fees. Defendant’s appeals from the underlying judgment and from the attorney fees award were consolidated. In a separately filed action in which Defendant was the plaintiff, the Court of Appeal declared Defendant a vexatious litigant plaintiff. Consequently, the presiding judge in the instant case directed Defendant to obtain permission to continue the Chan v. John consolidated appeal or to file a substitution of attorney before proceeding further. Defendant sought to vacate the prefiling order. The presiding judge declared that the court lacked jurisdiction to vacate the prefiling motion and dismissed Defendant’s consolidated appeals. The Court of Appeal vacated the appellate division’s order, holding that a defendant’s status as a vexatious litigant plaintiff in one matter cannot limit the same defendant’s ability to pursue her appeal in an action she did not initiate as a plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 391.7’s prefiling requirements do not apply to a self-represented vexatious litigant’s appeal of a judgment or interlocutory order in an action in which she was the defendant.