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SUPERIOR COURT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA

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In re the Marriage of:

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KAMAL HIRAMANEK,

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Petitioner,

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and
ADIL HIRAMANEK,
Respondent

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Case No.: l -09-FL-149682


ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK
TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A
VEXATIOUS LITIGANT UNDER CODE OF
CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7

Dept. 72

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This matter came before the Court on April 22, 2010, at 1 :30 p.m. in Department 72 of

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the above-captioned Court, for hearing on the issue of whether a prefiling order should be

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entered against Respondent Adil Hiramanek as a vexatious litigant under Code of Civil

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Pr.ocedure 391.7. Theresia C. Sandhu, Esq., appeared with and for Respondent Adil

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Hiramanek (hereinafter "Respondent"). Christopher D. Hirz, Esq., appeared with and for

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Petitioner Kamal Hiramanek (hereinafter "Petitioner"). The Honorable L. Michael Clark

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presided. After hearing oral argument, the Court took the matter under submission. The Court

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has considered the moving and responding papers, the evidence and argument presented at the

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hearing, and the files herein.

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 39 1.7
Page 1 of 1 1

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CALIFORNIA JUDICIAL BRANCH NEWS SERVICE

CJBNS.ORG

INTRODUCTION
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On March 22, 2010, this Court filed its own Motion To Subject Respondent Adil

Hiramanek To A Pre-Filing Order As A Vexatious Litigant under Code of Civil Procedure

319.7 (henceforth, the "Court's Motion"), which included as Attachment A ("Court's

Attachment A") a list of Respondent's initial motion and OSC filings in this case. The Court

received briefs and reply briefs on this issue from both Petitioner and Respondent.
DISCUSSION

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The vexatious litigant statutes were established "to curb misuse of the court system by
those acting in propria persona who repeatedly relitigate the same issues."

(Bravo v. Ismaj

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(2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 211, 220-221, citing

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"These 'persistent and obsessive' litigants would often file groundless actions against judges and

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other court officers who made adverse decisions against them. Their abuse of the system not

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only wastes court time and resources, but also prejudices other parties waiting their turn before

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the courts."

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statutes also serve to protect the litigant who suffers the financial burden of responding to

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someone who files numerous, meritless actions.

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970-971, citing

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92 Cal.App.4th 780.)

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In re Bittaker (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 1004, 1008.)

(Id. at 221, internal citation omitted.)

In addition to protecting the courts, the

(Morton v. Wagner (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 963,

Wolfe v. Strankman (9th Cir. 2004) 392 F.3d 358 and People v. Harrison (2001)

Code of Civil Procedure 391.7(a) states in relevant part:


"the court may, on its own motion or the motion of any party, enter a

prefiling order which prohibits a vexatious litigant from filing any new

litigation in the courts of this state in propria persona without first

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obtaining leave of the presiding judge of the court where the litigation is

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may be punished as a contempt of court."

proposed to be filed. Disobedience of the order by a vexatious litigant

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A prefiling order applies to petitions, applications, and motions (other than discovery motions) in

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a case under the Family Code; it is not limited to newly-filed civil litigation. (Code of Civil

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CML PROCEDURE SECTION 39 1 7
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Procedure 391.7(d).) A prefiling order entails a finding that the litigant is vexatious, as defined
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by Code of Civil Procedure 391, which states that "vexatious litigant" means a person who: "In

any litigation while acting in propria persona, repeatedly files unmeritorious motions, pleadings,

or other papers, conducts unnecessary discovery, or engages in other tactics that are frivolous or

solely intended to cause unnecessary delay." (Code of Civil Procedure 391(b)(3).)

Respondent argues that the determination of vexatious litigant status must be analyzed on
v.

the factors of Riffin

985 A.2d 612. This Court does not believe that the Maryland state caselaw is controlling and

instead relies on California authority.

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Circuit Court for Baltimore County (Md.Ct.App. 2010) 190 Md. App. 11;

Designation of a vexatious litigant requires consideration of the quantity and quality of

(Morton v. Wagner, supra, 156 Cal.App.4th at p. 971 ["Only the quantity and quality

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litigation.

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of the litigation promulgated by respondent is relevant to that question"].) Respondent argues

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that in making a determination of vexatious litigant status, only his motions should be

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considered, and not other filings such as pleadings, requests, challenges, or other papers,

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although h e cites n o authority fo r that position. The Court does not believe that the statute is

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limited in this way, and notes that 39 l (b)(3) specifies the filing of "unmeritorious motions,

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pleadings, or other papers .... " Therefore, the Court will consider all of his filed motions,

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pleadings, and other papers.

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From the time this case was opened on March 5, 2009, until March 22, 2010, this case
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expanded to occupy twelve volumes of Court files.

In order to make a determination of the

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merits of filings, the Court has carefully reviewed all twelve volumes, and done its best to

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determine how many motions and OSCs (ex parte or not) were filed, and granted or denied, by

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both Respondent and Petitioner. The Court has not counted filings made by an attorney for

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The Court is counting only up to the date of its own motion seeking briefs on the issue of a prefiling order,
although the Court is not unaware that in the past two months the filings have filled a 13 th file and opened a 14 th .

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
Page 3 of11

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Respondent, it has only counted Respondent's filings in pro per. Motions and OS Cs requesting
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relief on more than one issue were counted as only one motion. 2 Due to the volume of

documents and the way that issues were continued over different hearings, the Court is not

certain that its count is perfect, but notes that neither Petitioner nor Respondent challenged the

court's total count in their briefs. However, the Court notes that Respondent does challenge the

Court's disposition count - Respondent believes that more of his requests were granted than the

Court does. The Court disagrees with Respondent's characterization of several items. For

example, when Respondent moved to quash a subpoena propounded by Petitioner, the Court

denied his motion to quash, but did allow that Respondent's address be redacted because there

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was still a CLETS order in place at that time. Respondent counts this as a granted motion for

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himself. The Court believes that although his address was redacted, this properly counts as a

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denial of his motion to quash.


Unlike the other parts of

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391, subsection (b)(3) does not define "repeatedly" or

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"unmeritorious." The trial Court has discretion to determine what constitutes "repeatedly" and

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"unmeritorious" under

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391(b)(3). (Morton v . Wagner, supra, 156 Cal.App.4th a t p . 971; Bravo

v. Ismaj, supra, 99 Cal.App.4th at p. 219.)


Analysis of Respondent's in pro per filings and their dispositions demonstrates their

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repetitive and meritless nature. In sum, the Court counts that in a one year period, Respondent

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filed i n pro per seventeen initial motions, OSCs, challenges, and requests for statement of

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decision, in addition to other non-initial-pleading documents he has filed. Respondent abused

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For example, counted as one motion is Respondent's motion dated October 15, 2009, where he sought the
following relief: "(1 ) motion for reconsideration under CCP I008, or (2) correct ruling under court's inherent
authority, or (3) vacate the current Order after Trial on personal property and enter a different order, under CCP 663,
or (4) correct mistake oflaw and mistake of facts, under Fam. C. 2120 to 2129 to set aside on equitable grounds, and
(5) grant sanctions, attorney fees and costs re. Petitioner misconduct." [sic]. Likewise counted as one motion is his
motion dated December 14, 2009, in which sought relief "including but not limited to I. Adopting FCS's interim
Child visitation orderes, 2. FMV watts rental to Respondent, 3. Joint Characterization of accounts in children's name
with Respondent as joint custodian, 4. Trial on Personal property disputed matters, or in alternative certification of
issues for appeal per Fam. C. 2025" [sic]. The Court is not counting any DV/CLETS matters.
ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT
UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
Page 4 ofl l

CALIFORNIA JUDICIAL BRANCH NEWS SERVICE

CJBNS.ORG

the ex parte process, filing eight ex parte motions or OSCs: seven were denied outright and one
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was granted an order shortening time, but denied substantive temporary orders. When his ex

partes eventually came on for regular hearing, they were again denied.

ex partes, Respondent filed four non-ex parte motions or OSCs: three were denied outright, the

fourth contained four issues: two were denied, one continued and one taken off calendar.

Respondent filed two

were denied by Judge Massullo of San Francisco County. Respondent objected to having Ed

Mills appointed as judge pro tern, then he later requested to have Mills appointed as case

manager. Respondent filed four requests for a statement of decision in a six week period, the

In addition to the eight

170.1 challenges for cause against Judge L. Michael Clark, both of which

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fourth of which was filed after the request had already been denied. The vast majority of

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Respondent's motions, OSCs and other requests have been denied.

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In contrast, Petitioner filed five ex parte requests with the Court in the same time period,

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of which three were granted outright and two were granted an order shortening time, but denied

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substantive temporary orders. Of Petitioner's ten total motions and OSCs, including ex parte, the

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Court granted eight in full, one in part, and denied one based on lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner

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has been represented by an attorney throughout the proceedings.

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In addition to the filings listed above, Respondent has filed well over a dozen

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"supplemental" documents, consisting of additional declarations, responses, and other requests.

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He has sometimes filed several "supplemental" documents for the same motion, and even filed

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them after a decision on the matter had been rendered.

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Respondent's filings have been repetitive. For example, on September

30, 2009,

Respondent filed his first challenge to disqualify Judge Clark under Code of Civil Procedure

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Respondent contests the denial of some of these, but the Court notes again that it disagrees with Respondent's
interpretation of the disposition of many items. The Court notes that Respondent's Exhibit A is filled with
conclusory statements that lack origin in the Court, such as "no hearing was held as the underlying Petitioner's Offer
was a 'Sham' offer" [sic]. The Court never made such a finding.

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
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170.1. This was denied by Judge Massullo of San Francisco County on November 20, 2009.
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Nonetheless, after his challenge was denied, Respondent filed two supplemental documents on

the issue. On December 2, 2009, Respondent filed a "Supplemental Statement I Respondent's

Declaration Re Disqualification for Cause; Request for Hearing." On December 9, 2009,

Respondent filed a "Respondent's Declaration Re Disqualification for Cause; Third Request for

Hearing I Written Arguments." On January 7, Respondent filed his second 170. l challenge

against Judge Clark, which was again denied by Judge Massullo. This is one example of his

repetitive, meritless filing.


The issue of using Kaiser as a provider of supervised therapeutic visitation for

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Respondent and his children provides another example of Respondent's repetitive, unmeritorious

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filing.

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therapeutic visitation for Respondent and his children.

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this in his ex parte OSC of July 8, 2009, filed while Respondent was represented by Thomas

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Bloom in limited scope. His motion was denied an order shortening time and temporary orders,

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and set for hearing. Respondent filed in pro per a reply brief with a supplementary declaration

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on September 1, 2009. On September 14, Respondent filed another supplementary declaration in

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pro per in support of using Kaiser for supervised therapeutic visitation. After hearing on

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September 15, Respondent's motion was denied because he failed to show that Kaiser offered

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court-ordered supervised therapeutic visitation.

After an emergency screening with Family Court Services, the Court ordered supervised
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Respondent first sought to use Kaiser for

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Supervised therapeutic visitation is not the same as therapy.


Order of the Court Pursuant to a Screening, filed March 17, 2009.
6 This OSC was not counted b y the court as one of Respondent's pro per filings, it is only mentioned here as the
foundation of what became repetitive pro per filings. Respondent initially raised the Kaiser issue while represented
but he then pursued it in pro per.
7 The Court's understanding is that historically Kaiser has never offered this service. Many prior litigants have had
Kaiser Insurance and been unable to use it for supervised therapeutic visitation because Kaiser does not offer this.
The Court has told Respondent this on more than one occasion.
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ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
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CALIFORNIA JUDICIAL BRANCH NEWS SERVICE

CJBNS.ORG

Undeterred by the denial of his motion, on September 22, 2009, Respondent filed in pro
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per another declaration in support of using Kaiser for supervised therapeutic visitation. He also

briefly mentioned the issue in his pro per December 14 declaration on another issue. On January

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despite the fact that his prior motion had been denied by Judge Clark. 8 Judge Johnson requested

copies of all previous orders and transcripts that addressed the visitation issue, the names of

possible therapeutic visitation supervisors, information on whether and to what extent Kaiser

might offer therapeutic visitation, and the costs of each of these options.

On February 1, Respondent in pro per filed a new ex parte OSC to use Kaiser for

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reconnection therapy, which was denied an order shortening time and substantive temporary

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orders. Respondent argued that this was different from supervised therapeutic visitation,

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although it is in fact the same.

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legal brief regarding child visitation and the use of Kaiser for reconnection therapy (further

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discussed below with regard to its length). At the hearing on February 16, Respondent had again

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failed to show that Kaiser offered supervised therapeutic visitation. Judge Johnson again

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informed him that historically Kaiser has never offered that service; she chose three possible

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supervisors for therapeutic visitation and instructed the parties to choose one. Again on February

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23, Respondent filed in pro per a reply brief for the use of Kaiser for reconnection therapy. On

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March 5, Respondent's current attorney, Ms. Sandhu, filed another ex parte OSC for supervised

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therapeutic visitation with Kaiser or a supervisor named Murchan. Not counting the very first or

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last filings, which were by Respondent's attorneys, it is still clear that Respondent has

On February 11, 2010, Respondent in pro per filed a 177 page

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After Respondent brought his second in pro per 170.1 motion to disqualify Judge Clark on January 7, 2010, his
case was moved temporarily to Judge Johnson's courtroom.
9 Family Court Services uses phrases such as "therapeutic supervised visitation," "supervised therapeutic
visitation," "reconnection therapy," "therapeutic parent-child supervision," and "parent-child interactive therapy" to
refer to the same basic service: a neutral third party supervising and attempting to foster positive interaction between
parents and children.

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
Page 7 ofl l

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repetitively, meritlessly litigated this issue, even after it has been decided against him by two
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different judges. Respondent has pursued other issues besides Kaiser in a similar manner.

In support of his position that he has not filed enough documents to be considered

vexatious, Respondent cites to cases where litigants with even more filings than he were declared

vexatious. On the other hand, Petitioner cites to cases where litigants with fewer filings than

Respondent were found vexatious. There is no magic number required before a litigant may be

found vexatious; the trial court has discretion to make that determination.

supra, 156 Cal.App.4th at 971.)

(.Morton v. Wagner,

Respondent's filings are often excessive in length. Respondent's Exhibit A to his

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opposition brief includes a page count of some of his initial pleadings, presumably in response to

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the Court's Motion, which stated that sometimes Respondent's filings are long and may include

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attachments that exceed one hundred pages. The Court notes that its statement was not limited to

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Respondent's initial pleadings, but was directed to all of his filings, which are often excessive in

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length. For example, as mentioned above, Respondent filed in pro per a "Legal Brief re Child

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Visitation" on February

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that it was filed in response to Judge Johnson's request for legal argument on that topic.

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However, the Court reviewed the minute order and the transcript of that hearing, and does not

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find that Judge Johnson requested legal briefs on that issue.10 Respondent's Legal Brief is an

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example of his excessive, inappropriate filing. His

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items the Judge did request. As is typical of Respondent, many of the exhibits are copies of his

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own emails and other personally drafted statements. In contrast, Petitioner's response t o Judge

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Johnson's request was

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information Judge Johnson requested.

11, 2010, which totaled 177 pages including exhibits. His brief stated

177 page brief was not tailored to include the

75 pages long, including exhibits of the transcripts, orders, and other

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As discussed above, Judge Johnson requested only that parties submit copies of previous orders and transcripts
addressing the use of Kaiser for visitation, information regarding to what extent Kaiser might offer supervised
therapeutic visitation, the names of possible therapeutic visitation supervisors, and the costs of each of these options.
ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT
UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
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II CALIFORNIA JUDICIAL BRANCH NEWS SERVICE

CJBNS.ORG

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Respondent has pursued this case primarily in propria persona, though he has
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occasionally employed an attorney, and he is presently represented by counsel. Respondent

argues that his filings while represented by an attorney should not be counted for the purpose of

vexatious litigant analysis. Respondent's argument that where he hired an attorney to appear

with him at a hearing, the related filings should also be counted as filed by the attorney, is

unavailing. Where Respondent filed documents in pro per, the fact that he may have hired an

attorney to appear with him does not change his pro per filing status. Likewise, where

Respondent may have paid an attorney to consult with him, the related pro per filing does not

become an attorney filing, even if Respondent includes an attorney declaration seeking fees.11

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The Court has not counted filings made by an attorney for Respondent; it has only counted

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Respondent's filings in pro per.


The Court notes that it has seen the same arguments, the same exhibits, and the same text

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recycled under Respondent's name as well as his attorneys' names, including his current

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attorney. Many of these filings appear to be penned by the same hand, and frequently make the

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same mistakes the Court hopes an attorney would not make, such as the hearsay problem of

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referring to an exhibit drafted by Respondent himself as "clear proof'' of a factual or legal

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assertion contained therein. It appears to the Court that Respondent has used his attorneys as

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"mere puppets" to pursue his obsessive litigating.

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1167.) While the Court is not imposing the prefiling order on Respondent while he is

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represented by counsel, the Court expects that future filings by Respondent's counsel will not

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follow the prior trend. If his attorney's filings continue to reflect Respondent's obsessive

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litigating, the Court will consider bringing another motion to have Respondent declared a

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vexatious litigant despite representation by counsel.

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puppets" for litigant, finding of vexatiousness only under pro per status would be ineffective to

(Jn re Shieh (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 1154,

(Ibid. [where attorneys act as "mere

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The attorney fee declarations are generally also filed by Respondent

in pro

per, although signed by an attorney.

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
Page 9 of 11

control litigant's behavior]; see also,

Muller v. Tanner (1969) 2 Cal.App.3d 438, 444 ["the use of

an attorney in this case should not deprive the court of the power to protect itself from abuse of

the judicial process"];

vexatious litigant can be barred from court, even if he uses a 'strawman' attorney"], criticized on

other grounds in PBA,

(1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 1004, 1006.)

Wolfgram v. Wells Fargo Bank (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 43, 58-59 ["The

LLC v. KPOD, Ltd. (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 965, 976, and In re Bittaker

In order to establish that a litigant is vexatious, "the trial court must conclude that the

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litigant[']s actions are unreasonably impacting the objects of [his] actions and the courts as

contemplated by the statute."

(Morton v. Wagner, supra, 156 Cal.App.4th at p. 971.) Petitioner

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has been forced to respond to the many meritless motions and other filings by Respondent.

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Petitioner has won Family Code 271 sanctions against Respondent on three occasions.12 The

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Court has expended considerable resources on Respondent's filings. The Court finds that the

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actions of Respondent have unreasonably impacted Petitioner and the Court as contemplated by

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statute.
The Court also notes the problems of Respondent's strong tendency while appearing in

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pro per to interrupt counsel, Petitioner, and the Court. Respondent also regularly attempts to

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argue off-topic issues - sometimes issues that were already decided against him - when in court

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for another matter, such as a case management conference or a motion on another issue.
The Court believes that Respondent's exemption from filing fees has helped to fuel his

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obsessive litigation, and that Respondent has abused his right to file in forma pauperis.

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Luckett (1991) 232 Cal.App.3d 107, 110.

(In re

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Family Code 271 reads in relevant part: "the court may base an award of attorney's fees and costs on the extent
to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of
litigation and, where possible, to reduce the cost of litigation by encouraging cooperation between the parties and
attorneys. An award of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to this section is in the nature of a sanction."
ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT
UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
Page 10 of11

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j)
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CONCLUSION
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Respondent has demonstrated that he is a persistent and obsessive litigant. The Court

finds that Respondent's filings in propria persona are repeated, and are devoid of merit such that

they lack probable cause for success and therefore constitute a flagrant abuse of the system.

(Morton

have unreasonably impacted both the objects of his actions and the court, as contemplated by the

statute. The Court concludes that Respondent Adil Hiramanek's filings in propria persona are

sufficient to qualify him as a vexatious litigant within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure

391(b)(3).

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v.

Wagner, supra, 156 Cal.App.4th at p. 972.) The Court finds that Respondent's filings

Code of Civil Procedure 391.7 allows a pre-filing order to be imposed on a litigant who

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has been found vexatious under 391. The Court will impose a prefiling order against

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Respondent to the extent that he proceeds in propria persona. Section 391.7(d) specifies that the

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definition of "litigation" includes "any petition, application, or motion other than a discovery

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motion, in a proceeding under the Family Code or Probate Code, for any order." Since

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Respondent's present case is a Family case, the prefiling order will apply to all new filings

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within this case, as well as applying to other new litigation, again, to the extent that Respondent

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proceeds in propria persona.

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Dated: May 28, 2010

] liowU

Hon. L. Michael Clark


Judge of the Superior Court

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CALIFORNIA JUDICIAL BRANCH NEWS SERVICE

CJBNS.ORG

ORDER SUBJECTING ADIL HIRAMANEK TO A PREFILING ORDER AS A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT


UNDER CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 391.7
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