N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R.
RULE 58. VEXATIOUS LITIGATION
1 Section 1. Purpose.
2 This rule is intended to allow courts to address vexatious litigation, which is
3 an impediment to the proper functioning of the courts, while protecting the
4 constitutional rights of all individuals to access to the courts.
5 Section 2. Definition.
6 (a) Litigation means any civil or disciplinary action or proceeding,
7 including any appeal from an administrative agency, any appeal of a referee order
8 to the district court, and any appeal to the Supreme Court.
9 (b) Vexatious litigant means a person who habitually, persistently, and
10 without reasonable grounds engages in conduct that:
11 (1) serves merely to harass or maliciously injure another party in litigation;
12 (2) is not warranted under existing law and cannot be supported by a good
13 faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal or existing law;
14 (3) is imposed solely for delay;
15 (4) hinders the effective administration of justice;
16 (5) imposes an unacceptable burden on judicial personnel and resources; or
17 (6) impedes the normal and essential functioning of the judicial process.
18 Section 3. Pre-filing Order.
19 (a) A presiding judge may enter a pre-filing order prohibiting a vexatious
20 litigant from filing any new litigation or any new documents in existing litigation
21 in the courts of this state as a self-represented party without first obtaining leave of
22 a judge of the court in the district where the litigation is proposed to be filed. A
23 pre-filing order must contain an exception allowing the person subject to the order
24 to file an application seeking leave to file.
25 (b) A district judge or referee may, on the judge's own motion or the motion
26 of any party, refer the consideration of whether to enter a pre-filing order to the
27 presiding judge. The presiding judge may also consider whether to enter such a
28 pre-filing order on the judge's own motion or the motion of a party if the litigant
29 with respect to whom the pre-filing order is to be considered is a party to an action
30 before the presiding judge.
31 Section 4. Finding.
32 A presiding judge may find a person to be a vexatious litigant based on a
33 finding that:
34 (a) in the immediately preceding seven-year period the person has
35 commenced, prosecuted or maintained as a self-represented party at least three
36 litigations, other than in small claims court, that have been finally determined
37 adversely to that person; or
38 (b) after a litigation has been finally determined against the person, the
39 person has repeatedly relitigated or attempted to relitigate, as a self-represented
40 party, either
41 (1) the validity of the determination against the same defendant or
42 defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined; or
43 (2) the cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or
44 law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same
45 defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined; or
46 (c) in any litigation while acting as a self-represented party, the person
47 repeatedly files unmeritorious motions, pleadings, or other papers, conducts
48 unnecessary discovery, or engages in other tactics that are frivolous or solely
49 intended to cause unnecessary expense or delay; or
50 (d) the person has previously been declared to be a vexatious litigant by any
51 state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding.
52 Section 5. Notice.
53 If the presiding judge finds that there is a basis to conclude that a person is
54 a vexatious litigant and that a pre-filing order should be issued, the presiding judge
55 must issue a proposed pre-filing order along with the proposed findings supporting
56 the issuance of the pre-filing order. The person who would be designated as a
57 vexatious litigant in the proposed order will have 14 days to file a written response
58 to the proposed order and findings. If a response is filed, the presiding judge may,
59 in the judge's discretion, grant a hearing on the proposed order. If no response is
60 filed within 14 days, or if the presiding judge concludes following a response and
61 any subsequent hearing that there is a basis for issuing the order, the presiding
62 judge may issue the pre-filing order.
63 Section 6. Appeal. A pre-filing order entered by a presiding judge
64 designating a person as a vexatious litigant may be appealed to the Supreme Court
65 by such person as a matter of right.
66 Section 7. Supreme Court Order.
67 The Supreme Court may, on the Court's own motion or the motion of any
68 party to an appeal, enter a pre-filing order prohibiting a vexatious litigant from
69 filing any new litigation in the courts of this state as a self-represented party
70 without first obtaining leave of a judge of the court where the litigation is proposed
71 to be filed. If the Supreme Court finds that there is a basis to conclude that a
72 person is a vexatious litigant and that a pre-filing order should be issued, the Court
73 must issue a proposed pre-filing order along with the proposed findings supporting
74 the issuance of the pre-filing order. The person who would be designated as a
75 vexatious litigant in the proposed order will have 14 days to file a written response
76 to the proposed order and findings. If no response is filed within 14 days, or if the
77 Supreme Court concludes following a response and any subsequent hearing that
78 there is a basis for issuing the order, the pre-filing order may be issued.
79 Section 8. Sanctions; New Litigation.
80 (a) Disobedience of a pre-filing order entered pursuant to this rule may be
81 punished as a contempt of court.
82 (b) A judge may permit the filing in the courts of this state of new litigation
83 or any documents in existing litigation by a vexatious litigant subject to a pre-filing
84 order only if it appears that the litigation or document has merit and has not been
85 filed for the purpose of harassment or delay.
86 (c) If a vexatious litigant subject to a pre-filing order files any litigation
87 without first obtaining the required leave of a judge to file the litigation, the court
88 may dismiss the action. In addition, any party named in the litigation may file a
89 notice stating that the plaintiff is a vexatious litigant subject to a pre-filing order.
90 The filing of such notice stays the litigation. The litigation must be dismissed by
91 the court unless the plaintiff, within 14 days of the filing of the notice, obtains an
92 order from the judge permitting the litigation to proceed. If the judge issues an
93 order permitting the litigation to proceed, the time for the defendants to answer or
94 respond to the litigation will begin to run when the defendants are served with the
95 order of the judge.
96 Section 9. Roster.
97 The clerk of court must provide a copy of any pre-filing order issued under
98 to this rule to the State Court Administrator, who will maintain a list of vexatious
99 litigants subject to pre-filing orders.
100 EXPLANATORY NOTE
101 Rule 58 was adopted, effective___________________.
102 SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of May 12-13, 2016, pages
103 25-29. Idaho Ct. Admin. R. 59.