If someone needs to use the court system, it can sometimes feel like the courthouse is a prison. There are so many details that need attention for cases that seem like they should be simple. But this confinement can be close to literal if someone is subject to actions brought by a controlling or harassing person.
When does litigation become excessive?
A recent case in a Connecticut family court involved two judges agreeing that a series of 56 legal actions brought by the father of a woman's 4-year-old son rose to the level of harassment over four years. The legal concept of lawsuits brought to maintain control over a person's life is called "vexatious litigation."
What are the laws against vexatious litigation?
Several states, including Massachusetts, have passed laws against stacks of harassing lawsuits since the 1990s. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence is advocating for a similar law in the Constitution State, on the basis that spousal abuse may extend into vexatious litigation. State court rules in the Connecticut Practice Book already forbid the practice.
How does this apply to probate law?
Relatives and other people snubbed by last wills and testaments may press an argument for a bequest from a person's estate based on specific claims. If these claims become vague or continuous after a probate court has ruled on an issue, the defendant of those claims may build a case against vexatious litigation.
How can I fight vexatious litigation?
An attorney is always a good idea during probate proceedings and other legal actions. Consider a lawyer if it is likely you will need to spend time in a probate court.