PRESS

CLINTON & CLINTON PREVAILS ON APPEAL AGAINST VEXATIOUS LITIGANT

The California Court of Appeals upheld the lower Court's ruling dismissing a fraud and negligence case filed against Clinton & Clinton's client by a pro per plaintiff who Clinton & Clinton successfully had deemed a vexatious litigant. The client, a third party administrator of a purchase protection benefits plan, was named a defendant on the theory that the third party administrator had mistreated and misinformed plaintiff regarding his property loss claim. The third party administrator responded to plaintiff's complaint by filing a motion to have plaintiff declared a vexatious litigant and requiring plaintiff to post a security bond in order to maintain the litigation. The trial court ruled in favor of the third party administrator, and plaintiff was declared a vexatious litigant and ordered to post security. Following plaintiff's repeated and unsuccessful efforts over an eight month period to have the vexatious litigant rulings set aside or vacated, and after plaintiff's abusive discovery efforts, the trial court awarded sanctions against plaintiff. Additionally, the trial court granted the third party administrator's motion requiring plaintiff to post additional security. When plaintiff failed to post the additional security as ordered by the court, the third party administrator filed a motion to dismiss the case, which was also granted. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal challenging the trial court's ruling (1) declaring plaintiff a vexatious litigant and requiring plaintiff to post security, and (2) dismissing the case for failure to post security as ordered. The Court of Appeals panel of three justices assigned to the matter rendered an unpublished opinion concluding that the trial court's determination that plaintiff is a vexatious litigant under the Code of Civil Procedure Section 391(b)(1) was supported by substantial evidence; that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering plaintiff to post $10,000.00 in security under Sections 391.1 and 391.3 of the Code; and that dismissal was proper under 391.4 of the Code for plaintiff's failure to post security as ordered. By prevailing on appeal, Clinton & Clinton not only extricated its client from a case with high litigation cost potential, but it further prevented this particular plaintiff from continuing to file unmeritorious lawsuits against other potential defendants. David A. Clinton, Esq. and Adrienne M. Stover, Esq. were the managing and handling attorneys for this matter.


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