Vexatious Litigant

January 2020

Having a condo resident or owner deemed a vexatious litigant is a last resort for a condo corporation dealing with an unreasonable individual intent on legal proceedings.  Being deemed a vexatious litigant can deprive an individual of access to the legal system for addressing actions or concerns involving their condo corporation.

A condo owner or resident who initiates legal action with the intent to harass, which may include a frivolous lawsuit or unwarranted filing of meritless motions, can be deemed a vexatious litigant.  Other actions may include pursuing an unsuccessful appeal and failing to pay the costs of unsuccessful proceedings.

One Ontario condo owner deemed a vexatious litigant by the court was prohibited from initiating or continuing any actions against their Condominium Corporation, condominium manager or related individuals without permission from a judge.  This resulted from a Small Claims Court proceeding over three minor matters – size of her parking space, removal of a flowerbox and pruning of tree branches hanging over her unit.

A lien of $763 was filed to recover costs of having the flower box removed.  She filed in Small Claims Court for damages against the directors, condo corporation and condominium manager.  A separate Superior Court filing was filed to discharge the lien.  She unsuccessfully tried to appeal every decision against her.  She was ordered to have a capacity assessment to assess her mental capacity but failed to comply with this order.  She eventually sued condo corporation lawyers and filed Law Society complaints against them.

The judge dismissed all filings as “frivolous….and an abuse of process against the court”.

Litigation against the owner eventually cost the condo corporation more than $100,000.  The owner was ordered to pay condo corporation costs of $109,925 plus $2,000 for an unsuccessful appeal, to be secured by a lien on her condominium unit in priority over the bank holding her mortgage.  Costs were assessed to protect other unit owners from paying the cost of requiring an owner to comply with governing documents.