What Is a Motion to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant?

General Definition

A motion to declare a plaintiff a vexatious litigant is a legal request filed by a party in a lawsuit, seeking to designate the plaintiff as one who repeatedly files frivolous or harassing litigation with the primary purpose of causing annoyance or financial burden to the opposing party. If a plaintiff is declared a vexatious litigant, the court may impose restrictions on their ability to initiate future legal actions or require them to obtain court approval before filing new cases. It is essential to acknowledge that the specific criteria and procedures for granting such a motion may vary among states, as each jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations governing the identification and management of vexatious litigants.

Overview of State Court Authorities


"The vexatious litigant statute authorizes a 'defendant' to bring a motion to require a 'plaintiff' to furnish security. Defendant must prove that the plaintiff is a 'vexatious litigant' and that there is no reasonable probability that plaintiff will prevail in the litigation. ([Code Civ. Proc.,] § 391.1.) The statute contemplates a hearing to determine whether the plaintiff qualifies as 'vexatious' ([Code Civ. Proc.,] § 391.2) and instructs the court to require security if it finds plaintiff has no reasonable probability…”


Under Florida Statute § 68.093(2)(d)(1), a vexatious litigant is defined by the statute as a person who, in the immediately preceding 5-year period, has commenced, prosecuted, or maintained, pro se, five or more civil actions in any court in this state, except an action governed by the Florida Small Claims Rules, which actions have been finally and adversely…

New York

In determining whether the conduct undertaken was frivolous, the court shall consider the circumstances under which the conduct took place, including the time available for investigating the legal or factual basis of the conduct; and whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent, should have been apparent, or was brought to the attention of…


Under chapter 11, a trial court may place limitations on the litigation activities of a person determined by the court to be a “vexatious litigant.” (See Tex. Civ. Prac. Rem. Code Ann. § 11.001-.055.) The purpose of chapter eleven is to restrict frivolous and vexatious litigation. (See Devoll v. State (2004) 155 S.W.3d 498, 501 [statute “provides a framework for courts and attorneys to curb vexatious litigation.”) It does not authorize courts to act arbitrarily, but permits them to restrict a plaintiff's access to the courts only after first making specific findings that…

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