TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: April 29, 2016
RE: Rule 58, N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R., Vexatious Litigation
The Supreme Court has requested that the committee consider a new rule to address vexatious litigants. Clerk Penny Miller explains in the attached letter that the rule is necessary to deal with litigants who consume the state's judicial resources by filing non-meritorious litigation, burdening both the court system and opposing parties.
The Court has provided the committee with a copy of Idaho's vexatious litigation rule and their roster of vexatious litigants. The Court also provided copies of vexatious litigant rules from California, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Washington State for the committee's reference.
Staff has drafted a proposed new administrative rule, attached, which is based on the Idaho rule.
Under the rule, a presiding judge may issue a pre-filing order against a person found to be a vexatious litigant. A pre-filing order would typically require the person to obtain permission from a judge before filing anything with the court. In the Odyssey environment, this presents an problem because in order to get anything before a judge, it generally needs to be filed in Odyssey. The Ohio rule deals with this problem by specifically allowing a person subject to a pre-filing order to file an application to seek leave to file. Staff has included this exception in the rule. The committee may wish to discuss whether this is the best means to use to allow vexatious litigants to apply for leave to file.