The Vexatious Litigator
Just about every association has
that person, the person that has a complaint, comment, or critique to everything
the association does. For some associations this person may even take
matters to court on a very regular and excessive basis, notwithstanding
the fact that this same person has probably complained about the association's
For associations that have the person who is overly comfortable in the
court system and continues to seek court intervention for all his or her
groundless complaints, there might be a solution: the Vexatious Litigator
Motion. This motion was found to be useful by the Alders Maintenance Association.
Dinh Ton That was a homeowner in a common interest development run by the
Alders Maintenance Association. Dinh Ton That took issue with election policies that essentially made
him ineligible to run for or be elected to the Board of Directors. He
"filed a total of five superior court actions, one small claims action,
and three appeals;" and he cost the association and related parties
over $300,000 in attorney fees. The court found his actions to be without merit and a waste of time and
resources. He was uncooperative with the discovery process in many of his cases. And, he "attempted to relitigate issues repeatedly in subsequent
lawsuits after [the] issues had been decided in previous ones and he engaged
in frivolous tactics intended solely to harass." He was classified by the court as a Vexatious Litigator.
Once classified as a Vexatious Litigator, the litigant may be required
to furnish collateral prior to proceeding with ligation and/or the litigant
may be prohibited from filing new litigation without obtaining permission
of the judge. Essentially, this assists associations in preventing such continued and
frivolously litigation or at least having safe guards in place in the
event there is such litigation.
While having to file a vexatious litigator motion is not ideal as it mean
the association has likely already spent too much time and too many recourses
on litigating frivolous or repeated matters, it is a manner to deal with
Dinh Ton That v. Alders Maintenance Association (2015) 2015 WL 3760083, *1 (unpublished).
Id. at *3, *9.
Id. at *7.
Id. at *5.
Id. at *4.
Id. at *9.
Id. at *7 (citing Code of Civil Procedure § 391.1).