An Alberta judge says the courts should publicly post a database of “vexatious” litigants after a man flagged for abusing the court system was somehow able to file a lawsuit.
Ade Olumide, a man who several Canadian court systems, including Alberta’s, have deemed a vexatious litigant, launched a lawsuit in 2018 claiming Alberta’s Human Rights Commission breached the charter by not addressing his complaint about alleged racial discrimination in Alberta elections processes.
Vexatious litigants are people whose court access has been restricted due to past abuses of the court system — such as persistently launching meritless legal proceedings as a means of punishing the other side.
Alberta courts have deemed nearly 240 people to be vexatious litigants.
In a strongly worded March 15 decision, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Denny Thomas threw out Olumide’s latest lawsuit and placed additional restrictions on his access to the courts.
“Olumide may not be the worst vexatious litigant in Canada, but he is the worst I have ever encountered,” Thomas wrote.
In June 2017, an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench justice declared Olumide a vexatious litigant, requiring him to seek permission from the court’s chief justice to file any applications or civil proceedings. Restrictions were also placed on his use of the provincial court of appeal.
Other jurisdictions have taken similar steps. According to Thomas, Olumide has been deemed a vexatious litigant by the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, where he filed a total of 34 proceedings and appeals between 2013 and 2017.
His decision goes on to list proceedings Olumide has launched in courts across Canada that were dismissed as vexatious. In one notable case, Olumide alleged racism in Quebec’s election legislation because the Conservative Party of Canada rejected him as a candidate.
Thomas wrote that the cases were likely the “proverbial tail bones of a much greater skeleton,” which he brought up “to warn the reader that the waste and damage which Olumide has caused is probably far, far greater than what this review has identified.”
Despite being deemed a vexatious litigant, Olumide somehow managed to file a 29-page lawsuit against the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Nov. 23, 2018.
Thomas wrote that the lawsuit is “difficult to summarize,” but said Olumide appears to claim that the commission was wrong not to pursue a complaint he made alleging Alberta’s elections processes “cause racist discrimination.”
“The refusal of administrative service because I am not Aboriginal and because of hatred and disrespect because the black boy does not know his place violates … (the) Alberta Human Rights Act,” reads a section of Olumide’s claim included in Thomas’s decision.
The human rights commission applied to have the suit thrown out in December 2018, saying it was frivolous and vexatious.
A February hearing on the matter grew “increasingly tense,” Thomas wrote, saying Olumide repeatedly interrupted the court master and opposing counsel with loud interjections and allegations of racial discrimination. The master eventually called security to attend the hearing, which Olumide claimed was racially motivated.
Among other things, that hearing heard Olumide had begun “essentially identical” human rights commission complaints in each province, which he then pursued in court.
In his March 15 decision, Thomas threw out Olumide’s lawsuit and appeal documents, saying it should not have even been before the court. He also ruled that in addition to needing the chief justice’s OK to begin litigation, Olumide can now only communicate with the court through a lawyer.
“The waste of resources which has occurred cannot be undone,” Thomas wrote. “The most I can do is terminate this litigation immediately, and that is exactly what I now do.”
He called the volume of “bad litigation” launched by Olumide “astonishing,” adding it was “unpleasant to contemplate how much waste of court resources has resulted from Olumide’s post-2013 court and tribunal activities.”
Thomas said it was unclear how Olumide was able to file his latest court action. To prevent similar cases, he recommended Alberta Justice create a website where the public can access information from the province’s existing vexatious litigant and restricting orders database.
By Jonny Wakefield
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019
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