Legal Ethics

Lawyer Who Harassed Another Not a ‘Vexatious Litigant’

A California appeals court has ruled that a lawyer who harassed another for 32 years is not a vexatious litigant.

An injunction against Walter Wagner is sufficient to address the problem of his behavior, California’s 6th District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. But the facts don’t support a finding that Wager is a vexatious litigant, the court said in its opinion (PDF).

The court said Wagner had filed only two lawsuits against Morton, both for defamation, the Recorder reports.

“There is no evidence of persistent or obsessive litigiousness by the appellant,” the court said. “There is no evidence that the litigation has caused respondent serious financial results or that his actions have placed an unreasonable burden on the courts.”

Wagner has been harassing Monterey, Calif., lawyer Gail Morton ever since the two were students at McGeorge law school in Sacramento, according to the court. Wagner was arrested in Monterey in 2001, and found to be carrying three knives and a list of employees in Morton’s office, the Recorder story says.

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