The state Senate Judiciary Committee today rejected a bill that would have expanded the definition of vexatious litigants to include plaintiffs who have lawyers.
On a party line vote, majority Democrats on the committee said Senate Bill 603 was unnecessary because existing sanctions already serve as adequate deterrents for lawyers who might take on the questionable cases of frequent-filing litigants. Currently, courts can only affix the vexatious litigant label to pro per plaintiffs.
Proponents, including the Civil Justice Association of California and the state Chamber of Commerce, said the bill was needed to protect defendants from scurrilous plaintiffs who are willing to drag out litigation in hopes of securing a profitable settlement.
The Consumer Attorneys of California and California Rural Legal Assistance opposed SB 603, arguing that it went too far and was premature given a related, pending case now before the state Supreme Court.