Monday, July 10, 2017

No Writs for the Vexatious

Ogunsalu v. Superior Court, No. D071323 (D4d1 Jun. 7, 2017)
 
A school teacher who has also been previously declared to be a vexatious litigant is a party to an ALJ case over a credentialing suspension. When the ALJ denied a continuance, Teacher petitioned for a writ of mandate from the superior court. The trial court imposed the prefiling requirements for vexatious litigants and refused to permit Teacher to file his writ. Teacher took his writ to the Court of Appeal, which also denied based on a lack of merit to get through pre-filing review. Teacher then sought review of that, and the Supreme Court granted and transferred the case back for reconsideration in light of its recent decision in the John case, which held that the pre-filing review requirements d
don’t apply to appeals were a vexatious pro per was appealing as a losing defendant.

The court notes the case is generally moot, because the ALJ proceeding is already over. But it reaches the merits anyway. The court finds John to be distinguishable. Although Teacher is a defendant in the ALJ proceeding, he is essentially a plaintiff in the writ case he filed in superior court. According to the Court, a writ like Teacher’s isn’t an appeal akin to John because an administrative ALJ hearing is not “litigation” as defined under Code of Civil Procedure § 391. Which means the writ petition is not an appeal but a new litigation initiated by Teacher, which makes Teacher effectively a plaintiff to whom the vexatious litigant pre-filing rules apply.

Affirmed.

2 comments:

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  2. I am the teacher in this case and it is clearly obvious that the Court of Appeal's interpretation of the Code of Civil Procedure § 391 has lead to an unconstitutional outcome. Hopefully,, the California Supreme Court will correct this erroneous interpretation and depublish the opinion.

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