The Indiana Supreme Court recently provided some guidance on how to deal with Pro Se litigants who are using the judicial system to abuse, harass or clog the system with frivolous claims. In Zavodnik v. Harper, 17 N.E. 259 (Ind. 2014), the court was dealing with a “prolific, abusive litigant” with 123 cases appearing under his name on the Odyssey system (almost all were filed since 2008) in addition to 34 cases at the appellate level. The Court discussed the ways trial courts have been left to address abusive litigation in the past (i.e. attorney fees awards, sanctions, damages), but ultimately determined these remedies where useless against many Pro Se litigants who are essentially judgment proof. The Court stated that “the Courts of this state, after due consideration of an abusive litigant’s entire history, may fashion and impose reasonable conditions and restrictions, guided by those in the statutes, rules, and cases outlined above, on the litigant’s ability to commence or continue actions in this state that are tailored to the litigant’s particular abusive practices.” The court then detailed restrictions they believe are justified such as:
Because Indiana doesn’t have a Vexatious Litigator statute, this case should prove to be very useful to anyone dealing with a Pro Se litigant who is not playing by the rules.