2009 California Code of Civil Procedure - Section 391-391.7 :: Title 3a. Vexatious Litigants

SECTION 391-391.7

391.  As used in this title, the following terms have the following
   (a) "Litigation" means any civil action or proceeding, commenced,
maintained or pending in any state or federal court.
   (b) "Vexatious litigant" means a person who does any of the
   (1) 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.
   (2) 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.
   (3) 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.
   (4) 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
   (c) "Security" means an undertaking to assure payment, to the
party for whose benefit the undertaking is required to be furnished,
of the party's reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees and not
limited to taxable costs, incurred in or in connection with a
litigation instituted, caused to be instituted, or maintained or
caused to be maintained by a vexatious litigant.
   (d) "Plaintiff" means the person who commences, institutes or
maintains a litigation or causes it to be commenced, instituted or
maintained, including an attorney at law acting in propria persona.
   (e) "Defendant" means a person (including corporation,
association, partnership and firm or governmental entity) against
whom a litigation is brought or maintained or sought to be brought or

391.1.  In any litigation pending in any court of this state, at any
time until final judgment is entered, a defendant may move the
court, upon notice and hearing, for an order requiring the plaintiff
to furnish security. The motion must be based upon the ground, and
supported by a showing, that the plaintiff is a vexatious litigant
and that there is not a reasonable probability that he will prevail
in the litigation against the moving defendant.

391.2.  At the hearing upon such motion the court shall consider
such evidence, written or oral, by witnesses or affidavit, as may be
material to the ground of the motion. No determination made by the
court in determining or ruling upon the motion shall be or be deemed
to be a determination of any issue in the litigation or of the merits

391.3.  If, after hearing the evidence upon the motion, the court
determines that the plaintiff is a vexatious litigant and that there
is no reasonable probability that the plaintiff will prevail in the
litigation against the moving defendant, the court shall order the
plaintiff to furnish, for the benefit of the moving defendant,
security in such amount and within such time as the court shall fix.

391.4.  When security that has been ordered furnished is not
furnished as ordered, the litigation shall be dismissed as to the
defendant for whose benefit it was ordered furnished.

391.6.  When a motion pursuant to Section 391.1 is filed prior to
trial the litigation is stayed, and the moving defendant need not
plead, until 10 days after the motion shall have been denied, or if
granted, until 10 days after the required security has been furnished
and the moving defendant given written notice thereof. When a motion
pursuant to Section 391.1 is made at any time thereafter, the
litigation shall be stayed for such period after the denial of the
motion or the furnishing of the required security as the court shall

391.7.  (a) In addition to any other relief provided in this title,
the court may, on its own motion or the motion of any party, enter a
prefiling order which prohibits a vexatious litigant from filing any
new litigation in the courts of this state in propria persona without
first obtaining leave of the presiding judge of the court where the
litigation is proposed to be filed. Disobedience of the order by a
vexatious litigant may be punished as a contempt of court.
   (b) The presiding judge shall permit the filing of that litigation
only if it appears that the litigation has merit and has not been
filed for the purposes of harassment or delay. The presiding judge
may condition the filing of the litigation upon the furnishing of
security for the benefit of the defendants as provided in Section
   (c) The clerk may not file any litigation presented by a vexatious
litigant subject to a prefiling order unless the vexatious litigant
first obtains an order from the presiding judge permitting the
filing. If the clerk mistakenly files the litigation without the
order, any party may file with the clerk and serve on the plaintiff
and other parties a notice stating that the plaintiff is a vexatious
litigant subject to a prefiling order as set forth in subdivision
(a). The filing of the notice shall automatically stay the
litigation. The litigation shall be automatically dismissed unless
the plaintiff within 10 days of the filing of that notice obtains an
order from the presiding judge permitting the filing of the
litigation as set forth in subdivision (b). If the presiding judge
issues an order permitting the filing, the stay of the litigation
shall remain in effect, and the defendants need not plead, until 10
days after the defendants are served with a copy of the order.
   (d) For purposes of this section, "litigation" includes any
petition, application, or motion other than a discovery motion, in a
proceeding under the Family Code or Probate Code, for any order.
   (e) The clerk of the court shall provide the Judicial Council a
copy of any prefiling orders issued pursuant to subdivision (a). The
Judicial Council shall maintain a record of vexatious litigants
subject to those prefiling orders and shall annually disseminate a
list of those persons to the clerks of the courts of this state.

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