[634J-1] Definitions. Unless otherwise clear from the context, as used in this chapter:

"Defendant" means a person (including a corporation, association, partnership, firm, or governmental entity) against whom litigation is brought or maintained, or sought to be brought or maintained.

"In propria persona" means on the person's own behalf acting as plaintiff.

"Litigation" means any civil action or proceeding, commenced, maintained, or pending in any state or federal court of record.

"Plaintiff" means the person who commences, institutes or maintains litigation or causes it to be commenced, instituted, or maintained, including an attorney at law acting on the attorney's own behalf.

"Security" means an undertaking to assure payment, to the party for whose benefit the undertaking is required to be furnished, of the party's reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, and not limited to taxable costs incurred in or in connection with a litigation instituted, caused to be instituted, or maintained or caused to be maintained by a vexatious litigant.

"Vexatious litigant" means a plaintiff who does any of the following:

(1) In the immediately preceding seven-year period has commenced, prosecuted, or maintained in propria persona at least five civil actions other than in a small claims court that have been:

(A) Finally determined adversely to the plaintiff; or

(B) Unjustifiably permitted to remain pending at least two years without having been brought to trial or hearing;

(2) After litigation has been finally resolved against the plaintiff, relitigates or attempts to relitigate in propria persona and in bad faith, either:

(A) The validity of the determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined; or

(B) The cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined;

(3) In any litigation while acting in propria persona, files, in bad faith, unmeritorious motions, pleadings, or other papers, conducts unnecessary discovery, or engages in other tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay; or

(4) Has previously been declared to be a vexatious litigant by any state or federal court of record in any action or proceeding based upon the same or substantially similar facts, transaction, or occurrence. [L 1993, c 124, pt of 1]

 

Case Notes

 

Trial court's declaration of plaintiff as vexatious litigant not abuse of discretion where plaintiff failed in separate incidents to serve and/or inappropriately served separate documents on defendant, failed to produce documents to defendant's attorney and committed inappropriate service of documents, and filed at least one motion that was without merit. 102 H. 289, 75 P.3d 1180 (2003).

As a vexatious litigant must be a natural person, given plaintiff's corporate status, trial court erred in determining that corporation was a vexatious litigant under this chapter; also, as only a plaintiff may be deemed a vexatious litigant, trial court erred in determining that attorney of record for plaintiffs was a vexatious litigant under this chapter. 98 H. 95 (App.), 43 P.3d 232 (2001).

Where Hawaii supreme court had opined in a previous case that plaintiff had "engaged in a pattern of frivolous and vexatious litigation" and that case and the present case were "based upon the same or substantially similar facts, transaction, or occurrence", trial court correctly determined that plaintiff was a vexatious litigant under this section. 98 H. 95 (App.), 43 P.3d 232 (2001).

 

 

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