Appeals Court Puts the Brakes on Amateur Litigator

For years, Utahn Holli Lundahl has flooded the courts with lawsuits full of "fanciful, implausible and bizarre factual assertions." At least one has cost her adversaries more than $1 million to defend.

A federal judge in Idaho already has declared her a "vexatious litigant." An appeals court in San Francisco, a federal judge in Utah, the Utah Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court each has imposed restrictions on her filings.

And now, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has had enough.

Saying her "litigiousness has resulted in an immense waste of judicial resources," the 10th Circuit has barred Lundahl and two of her co-plaintiffs from filing new federal suits or proceeding with appeals in pending cases unless they are represented by a licensed attorney or present an affidavit discussing the legal basis for their actions.

The court's opinion notes that Ms. Lundahl's complaints:

[a]re replete with fanciful, implausible and bizarre factual assertions. Her legal claims, including antitrust claims, are virtually all meritless. If there is a viable argument lurking within one of the claims, it is obscured by Ms. Lundahl's abusive litigation practices.

Lundahl has named opposing attorneys, judges, court clerks, and other court personnel as defendants, accusing them of joining in a massive conspiracy against her. In this court, she has requested, among other things, that oral argument be conducted on all pending motions and that a media consultant be present to videotape such oral arguments for purposes of broadcast. Her vexatious litigiousness has resulted in an immense waste of judicial resources. "The right of access to the courts is neither absolute nor unconditional, and there is no constitutional right of access to the courts to prosecute an action that is frivolous or malicious." Winslow v. Hunter (In re Winslow), 17 F.3d 314, 315 (10th Cir. 1994) (quotation omitted).

Details here from the Salt Lake Tribune. The 10th Circuit's opinion is here.