San Mateo County is asking a judge to prohibit a Menlo Park man from continuing his litigious ways after filing dozens of “incoherent” lawsuits over two decades that the County Counsel’s Office says tie up the courts and keep attorneys from handling other work.
The County Counsel’s Office filed a petition seeking to have Harvey Blight deemed a “vexatious litigant” which would prohibit him from filing any new lawsuits without first getting San Mateo County Superior Court approval. To do so, a judge must find that Blight either began or maintained at least five lawsuits for at least two years without a trial or hearing; relitigates matters after a case has been decided; repeatedly files frivolous motions and requests; or has been previously declared vexatious by a court.
Blight more than meets the threshold, said County Counsel John Beiers.
“It’s at a point where a line has been crossed. An enormous amount of resources have been spent dealing with Mr. Blight over the decades,” Beiers said.
Within the last seven years, Blight has filed at least 10 lawsuits in state and federal courts that have either remained pending at least two years without a hearing or trial or that he didn’t win. He has relitigated issues after final judgment and, in one case, filed 16 documents after the Court of Appeals dismissed it including copies of correspondence to U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, then-attorney general Jerry Brown and other notices. The judge finally blocked Blight from filing any further documents.
Beiers said his office’s action is “extraordinarily rare” and he can only recall one other similar petition in his 30 years. The challenge is not only the amount of lawsuits but the content, he said.
“Most of the time we can’t decipher what he’s seeking. They are often handwritten and incoherent,” Beiers said.
The suits keep county counsels from focusing on other tasks and prevents others from having their turn in the court, he said.
The petition cites several of Blight’s suits in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and in the federal and state courts. Among them is a 2008 suit against the California Judicial Council and Commission on Judicial Performance over an unsuccessful earlier San Mateo County Superior Court case and petitions to administer the estates of two different men. In February 2012, he sued San Mateo County over an alleged $1,000 refund from property tax and trash collection fees. In January 2014, a judge dismissed the suit with prejudice. In February 2012, he also sued San Carlos Computer, Inc. and Hasan Farran, a case which has sat for two years without progress. He also filed a trespassing and defamation suit in October 2012 that was dismissed the following year. In September 2013, he sued San Mateo County and Action Towing but the case was dismissed.
Blights filings are “especially taxing because it is unclear as to what [he] is filing or what is he requesting (if anything), thus wasting significant time of the clerk, the judge and the opposing parties,” the petition stated.
Blight also filed numerous motions to challenge an inspection warrant and abatement warrant in 2012 and 2013 stemming from two unpermitted sheds on his Eleventh Avenue property which had been declared an unsafe public nuisance. When county employees came to the property last fall to remove the structures, Blight was reportedly verbally abusive and threw objects at the workers.
Blight could not be reached for comment.
A hearing is set for June 25.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102