In a decision released in June 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declaring Mr. William Malamas to be a “vexatious litigant.”
Mr. Malamas is a former real estate agent who held a number of properties in the Danforth area of Toronto. Mr. Malamas’ property values were significantly affected by the recession of the late 1980s and early 90s and he was involved in decades-long litigation related to his properties, which was primarily unsuccessful, and which routinely involved re-litigating issues and attempting to re-open matters that had been fully and finally resolved by settlement agreements.
Later, between 2005 and 2011, Mr. Malamas sued 16 of the lawyers and law firms that had represented him in his 20 year long legal battle, seeking over $300 million in damages and alleging that his lawyers had deliberately caused him to lose his various legal cases. Mr. Malamas’ pattern was to ignore various procedural rulings that applied to him, commence claims that had little or no merit, and to refuse to pay costs orders that the courts had ordered him to pay.
In June 2012, twenty-seven parties who were being sued by Mr. Malamas brought a joint and omnibus application to the Superior Court of Justice, seeking that Mr. Malamas be declared a “vexatious litigant” by the court.
The court is authorized to declare a litigant to be “vexatious” in certain narrow circumstances, however the order is considered rare, as it results in restricting a person’s access to the courts and legal processes.
In Mr. Malamas’ case, the Superior Court Justice Newbould agreed that Mr. Malamas was a vexatious litigant, based on his pattern of re-litigating the same matters, commencing claims without merit, persistently pursuing unsuccessful appeals and ignoring court rulings and costs orders.
As a result of the order, Mr. Malamas is not entitled to pursue any further legal proceedings without permission of the court. If permission is granted by the court to pursue litigation, Mr. Malamas must pay any outstanding costs orders that apply to him, and post security for costs to the court, prior to being allowed to proceed with litigation.