Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Veterans Club Declared Vexatious Litigator

Huber Heights Veterans Club (HHVC) has been declared a vexatious litigator and cannot file a lawsuit challenging that designation unless it is granted permission by a court, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.

After being declared a vexatious litigator by a Montgomery County trial court, HHVC sought a writ of mandamus from the Second District Court of Appeals claiming the vexatious litigator law violates the Ohio Constitution, which guarantees access to courts. The HHVC did not seek Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Skelton’s permission before filing the case in the Second District.

The Second District dismissed the case, and HHVC appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Analyzed Club’s Right to Challenge Designation
HHVC admitted that having been declared a vexatious litigator, it needed court permission to initiate its lawsuit in the Second District. The group argued the restriction did not apply because HHVC did not file the complaint, but rather an attorney filed the complaint on its behalf. The group cited R.C. 2323.52(A)(3), which states that the term “vexatious litigator” does not include a person authorized to practice law unless that person is representing himself.

The Court rejected the argument that the law does not pertain to the lawyer’s ability to file when the client has been declared a vexatious litigator. HHVC cannot “avoid the restrictions placed on it simply by having an attorney initiate a legal proceeding its behalf,” the opinion stated.

The Court wrote that HHVC failed to request permission to file the lawsuit against Judge Skelton without first seeking permission as required by R.C. 2323.52. Because it did not follow the process, the law requires the case to be dismissed.

The Court also rejected the group’s challenge to the law on constitutional grounds. It cited its 2000 Mayer v. Bristow decision, which found R.C. 2323.52 “constitutional in its entirety.”

2022-0677. State ex rel. Huber Hts. Veterans Club, Inc. v. Skelton, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-485.

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