Lara’s Bill Curving Abusive Lawsuits Signed In to Law

September 21, 2012

AB 2274 ensures frivolous lawsuits made by vexatious litigants do not go unchecked

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – In a move that will save courtrooms and small businesses across the state time and money, today, Governor Jerry Brown singed in to law AB 2274, by Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).  AB 2274 closes a loophole in current law that allows for abusive lawsuits and filings by vexatious litigants – litigants who are not represented by counsel and repeatedly bring groundless lawsuits and unnecessarily delay court proceedings.

“AB 2274 will save California courts and small businesses time and money by ensuring meritless lawsuits don’t go unchecked,” said Lara.  “Frivolous lawsuits are a drain on our court system and our small businesses alike. This bill ensures our courts can use their scarce resources on legitimate cases and that our small businesses can focus on creating jobs, not fighting meritless lawsuits.”

Under current law, those designated as vexatious litigants are prohibited from filing new lawsuits if he or she doesn’t have an attorney or if he or she hasn’t received approval by a judge. However, a loophole in the law allowed for vexatious litigants to hire an attorney at the outset of his or her case, bypass a judge’s scrutiny, and then drop the attorney once the filing was complete.

AB 2274 closes the loophole by requiring vexatious litigants to obtain court approval for additional filings if they have fired their attorney before the case is over, allows a defendant to request that the judge review the merits of the lawsuit should a vexatious litigant represent him or herself at any time throughout the proceeding, and permit the judge, after reviewing the lawsuit, to dismiss it should he or she determine that it has no merit.