Friday, July 18, 2008


Serial Filer

I recently came across the expression serial filer, used to describe a litigious person, who files lots of lawsuits.

In the earliest examples, the expression referred to those who filed repeatedly for bankruptcy, e.g.
Unless the court reverses that result, lawyers generally would have every incentive to encourage — whether consciously or subconsciously — debtors to join the pattern of "repeat" or "serial" filers to maximize their own fees to the prejudice of creditors.
In re Mellard, 117 B.R. 716, 721 (Bankr. D.Fla. 1990); see also In re Huerta, 137 B.R. 356, 378 (Bankr. D.Cal. 1992) and In re Felberman, 196 B.R. 678, 681 (Bankr. D.N.Y. 1995).

The first example from a case not in bankruptcy or tax court seems to be the following:
That provision is intended to prevent serial filers of frivolous litigation like Luedtke from pursuing claims unrelated to the prevention of serious physical injury.
Luedtke v. Bertrand, 32 F. Supp. 2d 1074, 1077 (D.Wis. 1999).

The expression is becoming more frequent, as the practice becomes more common. LexisNexis has 17 examples in the decade before 2000 and 115 since 2000. The expression was probably influenced by serial killer.

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