Vexatious Litigants

Mankaruse v. Raytheon Company, 20-2309 (Fed. Cir. 2021) (nonprecedential) [Raytheon Vexatious Litigant]

Nagui Mankaruse is a former Raytheon engineer and also a patentee. U.S.
Patent No. 6,411,512. While an employee, he sued Raytheon for employment discrimination and was later fired.  (“Laid off due to a workforce reduction”).  He later sued Raytheon in California state for various claims, including trade-secret misappropriation, breach of contract, discrimination, etc.  California Code allows for a litigant to be defined as a “vexatious litigant” and Mankaruse was so-named.  In one case he posted a $10,000 bond as required by the court (and lost the money after losing the case).

In the present case before the Federal Circuit. Nagui Mankaruse filed a pro se lawsuit against Raytheon alleging patent infringement and trade-secret misappropriation.  Raytheon asked the US District Court (C.D.Cal.) to deem Mankaruse a “vexatious litigant” under Federal Law and require a bond before he proceeds with the case.  The district court agreed and ordered Mankaruse to pay $25k bond and also seek pre-filing approval from the court of any future lawsuit.  He did not pay the money and the case was dismissed.   On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not speak to the “vexatious litigant” designation, but the courts have self-identified an inherent power to protect the judicial process that is also supported by the all writs act.  Further, courts have power to order litigants to pay a security-deposit associated with potential future costs or sanctions.

[T]he court properly declared Mr. Mankaruse a vexatious litigant. And the bond amount of $25,000 was not excessive. The purpose of the bond is to provide a defendant security that, if it were to prevail in defending against a suit, would enable it to recoup its costs from a plaintiff, and the parties here do not  meaningfully dispute that, at the time the bond was required, predicted costs of further litigation would have exceeded $25,000.

Slip Op.   Mankaruse argued that he does not have $25k and so the requirement of the bond effectively excludes him from the court.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit  found no abuse-of-discretion even if it priced Mankaruse out of the market.

3 thoughts on “Vexatious Litigants

  1. 2

    This is a scary case about denying access to court explicitly granted in the privileges and immunity clause as well as due process clause. Corporate America is shutting the doors of government to citizens by requiring an unaffordable bond to hear their complaints. The appropriate judicial remedy is summary judgement and not requiring an arbitrary and capricious bond. It is bad enough we have to jump through hoops just to vote, and most cases are now required to be heard only through arbitration. Now the US federal government has merged with the corporations and only serves the wealthy corporations interests just like in any fascist government. All my friends in grad school have left the US to live in other countries and my professors are even telling me there are no more opportunities in the US anymore. I think it is time to vote with my feet.

    1. 2.1

      “Now the US federal government has merged with the corporations and only serves the wealthy corporations interests just like in any fascist government.”

      Something also well on display in Congresses’ fealty to Big Tech . . . at the expense of small company and individual American inventors . . . with their refusal to restore patent protection to all areas of innovation.

      As China squeals in delight behind closed doors.

  2. 1

    I would not be so cavalier about, “ and was later fired. (“Laid off due to a workforce reduction”).

    Just saying – there is a world of difference between the two, even recognizing the abundance of euphemisms that get played out in workforce reductions.

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