Tuesday, March 09, 2010

civil procedure - frivilous litigation - pro se plaintiff - Rule 233.1

Rule 233.1. Frivolous Litigation. Pro Se Plaintiff. Motion to Dismiss

(a) Upon the commencement of any action filed by a pro se plaintiff in the court of common pleas, a defendant may file a motion to dismiss the action on the basis that

(1) the pro se plaintiff is alleging the same or related claims which the pro se plaintiff raised in a prior action against the same or related defendants, and

(2) these claims have already been resolved pursuant to a written settlement agreement or a court proceeding.

(b) The court may stay the action while the motion is pending.

(c) Upon granting the motion and dismissing the action, the court may bar the pro se plaintiff from pursuing additional pro se litigation against the same or related defendants raising the same or related claims without leave of court.

(d) The court may sua sponte dismiss an action that is filed in violation of a court order entered under subdivision (c).

Note: A pro se party is not barred from raising counterclaims or claims against other parties in litigation that the pro se plaintiff did not institute.

(e) The provisions of this rule do not apply to actions under the rules of civil procedure governing family law actions

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http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Supreme/out/522civ.rpt.pdf

Explanatory Comment

It has come to the attention of the Supreme Court that certain litigants are abusing the legal system by repeatedly filing new litigation raising the same claims against the same defendant even though the claims have been previously adjudicated either through settlement or through court proceedings.

New Rule 233.1 provides relief to a defendant who has been subjected to this type of repetitive litigation.

While attorneys are subject to the rules of disciplinary procedure, no analogous rule exists to curb this type of abuse when done by a pro se party.

Upon the filing of an action by a pro se plaintiff, a defendant may file a motion to dismiss a pending action provided that (1) the pro se plaintiff is alleging the same or related claims against the same or related defendants, and (2) the claims have already been resolved pursuant to a settlement agreement or a court proceeding.

The new rule also gives the trial court discretion to bar the pro se litigant from filing further litigation against the same or related defendants raising the same or related claims without leave of court.

By the Civil Procedural Rules Committee

Stewart L. Kurtz Chair

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