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 action or proceeding, including any appeal
7 from an administrative agency, any appeal of a referee order to the district court,
8 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 a civil
13 (2) is not warranted under existing law and cannot be supported by a good
14 faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal or existing law;
15 (3) is imposed solely for delay;
16 (4) hinders the effective administration of justice;
17 (5) imposes an unacceptable burden on judicial personnel and resources; or
18 (6) impedes the normal and essential functioning of the judicial process.
19 Section 3. Pre-filing Order.
20 (a) A presiding judge may enter a pre-filing order prohibiting a vexatious
21 litigant from filing any new litigation in the courts of this state as a self-
22 represented party without first obtaining leave of a judge of the court in the district
23 where the litigation is proposed to be filed. A pre-filing order must contain an
24 exception allowing the person subject to the order to file an application seeking
25 leave to file.
26 (b) A district judge or referee may, on the judge's own motion or the motion
27 of any party, refer the consideration of whether to enter a pre-filing order to the
28 presiding judge. The presiding judge may also consider whether to enter such a
29 pre-filing order on the judge's own motion or the motion of a party if the litigant
30 with respect to whom the pre-filing order is to be considered is a party to an action
31 before the presiding judge.
32 Section 4. Finding.
33 A presiding judge may find a person to be a vexatious litigant based on a
34 finding that:
35 (a) in the immediately preceding seven-year period the person has
36 commenced, prosecuted or maintained as a self-represented party at least three
37 litigations, other than in small claims court, that have been finally determined
38 adversely to that person; or
39 (b) after a litigation has been finally determined against the person, the
40 person has repeatedly relitigated or attempted to relitigate, as a self-represented
41 party, either
42 (1) the validity of the determination against the same defendant or
43 defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined; or
44 (2) the cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or
45 law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same
46 defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined; or
47 (c) in any litigation while acting as a self-represented party, the person
48 repeatedly files unmeritorious motions, pleadings, or other papers, conducts
49 unnecessary discovery, or engages in other tactics that are frivolous or solely
50 intended to cause unnecessary delay; or
51 (d) the person has previously been declared to be a vexatious litigant by any
52 state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding.
53 Section 5. Notice.
54 If the presiding judge finds that there is a basis to conclude that a person is
55 a vexatious litigant and that a pre-filing order should be issued, the presiding judge
56 must issue a proposed pre-filing order along with the proposed findings supporting
57 the issuance of the pre-filing order. The person who would be designated as a
58 vexatious litigant in the proposed order will have 14 days to file a written response
59 to the proposed order and findings. If a response is filed, the presiding judge may,
60 in the judge's discretion, grant a hearing on the proposed order. If no response is
61 filed within 14 days, or if the presiding judge concludes following a response and
62 any subsequent hearing that there is a basis for issuing the order, the presiding
63 judge may issue the pre-filing order.
64 Section 6. Appeal. A pre-filing order entered by a presiding judge
65 designating a person as a vexatious litigant may be appealed to the Supreme Court
66 by such person as a matter of right.
67 Section 7. Supreme Court Order.
68 The Supreme Court may, on the Court's own motion or the motion of any
69 party to an appeal, enter a pre-filing order prohibiting a vexatious litigant from
70 filing any new litigation in the courts of this state as a self-represented party
71 without first obtaining leave of a judge of the court where the litigation is proposed
72 to be filed. If the Supreme Court finds that there is a basis to conclude that a
73 person is a vexatious litigant and that a pre-filing order should be issued, the Court
74 must issue a proposed pre-filing order along with the proposed findings supporting
75 the issuance of the pre-filing order. The person who would be designated as a
76 vexatious litigant in the proposed order will have 14 days to file a written response
77 to the proposed order and findings. If no response is filed within 14 days, or if the
78 Supreme Court concludes following a response and any subsequent hearing that
79 there is a basis for issuing the order, the pre-filing order may be issued.
80 Section 8. Sanctions; New Litigation.
81 (a) Disobedience of a pre-filing order entered pursuant to this rule may be
82 punished as a contempt of court.
83 (b) A judge may permit the filing of new litigation by a vexatious litigant
84 subject to a pre-filing order only if it appears that the litigation has merit and has
85 not been 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 10. 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
103 ______________________. Idaho Ct. Admin. R. 59.