Arizona recently enacted A.R.S. § 23-941.02, which will help Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), and ultimately employers, address vexatious pro se litigants in workers’ compensation cases before the Industrial Commission.
A pro se litigant represents him or herself in a case before the Commission. The Chief Administrative Law Judge may impose the designation of “vexatious litigant” and thus prohibit the litigant from filing a new request for a hearing, pleading, motion or other document without prior approval from the ALJ. In order to receive this designation, the litigant must have engaged in any of the following conduct:
- Repeated filing of requests for hearing, pleadings, motions or other documents solely or primarily for the purpose of harassment;
- Unreasonably expanding or delaying Commission proceedings;
- Bringing or defending claims without substantial justification;
- Engaging in abuse of discovery or conduct in discovery that has resulted in the imposition of sanctions;
- A pattern of making unreasonable, repetitive and excessive requests for information; or
- Repeated filing of documents or requests for relief that have been the subject of previous rulings by the Commission on the same claim.
With this law, the Legislature has given ALJs some ability to address abusive conduct by litigants in workers’ compensation cases. Now if they could only do the same for other employment matters!