Canada: “Litigation Terrorism”

“The “Strawman” is therefore not merely a myth. It is litigation poison.”

– Fiander v Mills,2015 NLCA 31

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Extract from Rothweiler v Payette, 2018 ABQB 288: 

[1] ……. Reduced to its conceptual core, the ‘Strawman’ concept is one that alleges that the government exercises clandestine control over human beings via a non-corporeal legal entity, the ‘Strawman’. The ‘Strawman’ is purportedly attached to a human being when parents are tricked into signing birth documentation. That documentation is (supposedly) a concealed contract with the government.             

[2] Rothweiler called his ‘Strawman’ the “BRENDEN-RANDALL: ROTHWEILER ESTATE”, while he is a “living man” and “the Creditor of the estate”: Rothweiler #2, at paras 10-13. Rothweiler in his Statement of Claim complains he was injured when state actors engaged him, instead of his ‘Strawman’. He demands $22 million in damages: Rothweiler #2, at para 2.               

[3] In Fiander v Mills,2015 NLCA 31 (CanLII) at paras 20-21, 40, 368 Nfld & PEIR 80, the Newfoundland Court of Appeal concluded that anyone who uses the ‘Strawman’ motif in court is presumed to act in bad faith, and for a vexatious and abusive ulterior purpose. This decision provides that a court that encounters the ‘Strawman’ may act pre-emptively to terminate or restrict litigation abuse based on this notoriously false idea. This rule from Fiander v Mills has been subsequently adopted in many Alberta cases, including Re Boisjoli2015 ABQB 629 (CanLII)29 Alta LR (6th) 334Gauthier v Starr2016 ABQB 213 (CanLII)86 CPC (7th) 348Alberta v Greter2016 ABQB 293 (CanLII)Pomerleau v Canada (Revenue Agency)2017 ABQB 123 (CanLII)98 CPC (7th) 249; and Re Gauthier2017 ABQB 555 (CanLII), aff’d 2018 ABCA 14 (CanLII).

Extract from 1985 Sawridge Trust v Alberta (Public Trustee), 2017 ABQB 548:

[64] Another and very troubling class of abusive litigants are persons who are affected by querulous paranoia, a form of persecutory delusional disorder that leads to an ever-expanding cascade of litigation and dispute processes, which only ends after the affected person has been exhausted and alienated by this self-destructive process. Querulous paranoiacs attack everyone who becomes connected or involved with a dispute via a diverse range of processes including lawsuits, appeals, and professional complaints. Anyone who is not an ally is the enemy. This condition is reviewed in Gary M Caplan & Hy Bloom, “Litigants Behaving Badly: Querulousness in Law and Medicine” 2015 44:4 Advocates’ Quarterly 411 and Paul E Mullen & Grant Lester, “Vexatious Litigants and Unusually Persistent Complainants and Petitioners: From Querulous Paranoia to Querulous Behaviour” (2006) 24 Behav Sci Law 333.

[65] Persons afflicted by querulous paranoia exhibit a unique ‘fingerprint’ in the way they frame and conduct their litigation as a crusade for retribution against a perceived broad-based injustice, and via a highly unusual and distinctive document style. The vexatious litigants documented in McMeekin v Alberta (Attorney General)2012 ABQB 456 (CanLII), 543 AR 132, McMeekin v Alberta (Attorney General)2012 ABQB 625 (CanLII), 543 AR 11 Chutskoff v Bonora2014 ABQB 389 (CanLII), 590 AR 288, Hok v Alberta2016 ABQB 335 (CanLII), and Hok v Alberta2016 ABQB 651 (CanLII) all exhibit the characteristic querulous paranoiac litigation and document fingerprint criteria.

[66] Mullen and Grant observe these persons cannot be managed or treated: pp 347-48. Early intervention is the only possible way to interrupt the otherwise grimly predictable progression of this condition: Caplan & Bloom, pp 450-52; Mullen & Lester, pp 346-47. Disturbingly, these authors suggest that the formal and emotionally opaque character of litigation processes may, by its nature, transform generally normal people into this type of abusive litigant: Caplan & Bloom, pp 426-27, 438.

[67] A “persistent misconduct” requirement means persons afflicted by querulous paranoia cannot be managed. They will always outrun any court restriction, until it is too late and the worst outcome has occurred.

4. Litigation Abuse Motivated by Ideology

[68] Other abusive litigants are motivated by ideology. A particularly obnoxious example of this class are the Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument [“OPCA”] litigants described in Meads v Meads2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII), 543 AR 215. Many OPCA litigants are hostile to and reject conventional state authority, including court authority. They engage in group and organized actions that have a variety of motives, including greed, and extremist political objectives: Meads v Meads, at paras 168-198. Justice Morissette (“Querulous or Vexatious Litigants, A Disorder of a Modern Legal System?” (Paper delivered at the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, Banff AB (26-28 September 2013)) at pp 11) has observed for this population that abuse of court processes is a political action, “… the vector of an ideology for a class of actors in the legal system.”

[69] Some OPCA litigants use pseudolegal concepts to launch baseless attacks on government actors, institutions, lawyers, and others. For example:

  • ANB v Alberta (Minister of Human Services), 2013 ABQB 97 (CanLII), 557 AR 364 – after his children were seized by child services the Freeman-on-the-Land father sued child services personnel, lawyers, RCMP officers, and provincial court judges, demanding return of his property (the children) and $20 million in gold and silver bullion, all on the basis of OPCA paperwork.
  • Ali v Ford, 2014 ONSC 6665 (CanLII) – the plaintiff sued Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the City of Toronto for $60 million in retaliation for a police attendance on his residence. The plaintiff claimed he was a member of the Moorish National Republic, and as a consequence immune from Canadian law.
  • Bursey v Canada, 2015 FC 1126 (CanLII), aff’d 2015 FC 1307 (CanLII), aff’d Dove v Canada, 2016 FCA 231 (CanLII), leave to the SCC refused, 37487 (1 June 2017) – the plaintiffs claimed international treaties and the Charter are a basis to demand access to a secret personal bank account worth around $1 billion that is associated with the plaintiffs’ birth certificates; this is allegedly a source for payments owed to the plaintiffs so they can adopt the lifestyle they choose and not have to work.
  • Claeys v Her Majesty,2013 MBQB 313 (CanLII), 300 Man R (2d) 257 – the plaintiff sued for half a million dollars and refund of all taxes collected from her, arguing she had waived her rights to be a person before the law, pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Canada had no authority because Queen Elizabeth II was “… Crowned on a fraudulent Stone and … violated her Coronation Oath by giving Royal Assent to laws that violate God’s Law …”.
  • Doell v British Columbia (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General), 2016 BCSC 1181 (CanLII) – an individual who received a traffic ticket for riding without a helmet sued British Columbia, demanding $150,000.00 in punitive damages, because he is a human being and not a person, and the RCMP had interfered with his right “to celebrate divine service”.
  • Fiander v Mills, 2015 NLCA 31 (CanLII), 368 Nfld & PEIR 80 – a person accused of fisheries offenses sued the Crown prosecutor, fisheries officer, and provincial court judge, arguing he was wrongfully prosecuted because he had opted out of “having” a “person” via the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Isis Nation Estates v Canada, 2013 FC 590 (CanLII),the plaintiff, “Maitreya Isis Maryjane Blackshear, the Divine Holy Mother of all/in/of creation”, sued Alberta and Canada for $108 quadrillion and that they “cease and desist all blasphemy” against the plaintiff. [70] There is little need to explore why these claims are anything other than ridiculous.

[71] OPCA litigants have been formally declared vexatious, for example: Boisjoli (Re)2015 ABQB 629 (CanLII), 29 Alta LR (6th) 334; Boisjoil (Re),2015 ABQB 690 (CanLII)Cormier v Nova Scotia, 2015 NSSC 352,2015 NSSC 352 (CanLII), 367 NSR (2d) 295; Curle v Curle, 2014 ONSC; Gauthier v Starr2016 ABQB 213 (CanLII)2016 ABQB 213 (CanLII), 86 CPC (7th) 348; Holmes v Canada2016 FC 918 (CanLII)R v Fearn2014 ABQB 233 (CanLII), 586 AR 182; Yankson v Canada (Attorney General)2013 BCSC 2332 (CanLII).

[72] Judicial and legal academic authorities uniformly identify OPCA narratives and their associated pseudolegal concepts as resting on and building from a foundation of paranoid and conspiratorial anti-government and anti-institutional political and social belief. These individuals are sometimes called ‘litigation terrorists’ for this reason. They may act for personal benefit, but they also do so with the belief they are justified and act lawfully when they injure others and disrupt court processes. Persons who advance OPCA litigation to harm others have no place in Canada’s courts. The court’s inherent jurisdiction must be able to shield the innocent potential victims of these malcontents. Their next target can be anyone who crosses their path – government officials or organizations, peace officers, lawyers, judges, business employees – and who then offends the OPCA litigant’s skewed perspectives.

[73] These individuals believe they have a right to attack others via the courts, they like the idea of doing that, and they view their litigation targets as bad actors who deserve punishment. Waiting for these individuals to establish “persistent misconduct” simply means they just have more opportunities to cause harm. 

[74] The plaintiff in Henry v El was obviously an OPCA litigant engaged in a vendetta. Slatter JA in that matter did not wait for the plaintiff to establish a pattern of “persistently” misusing the courts to attack others. I agree that is the correct approach.

If a person uses pseudolaw to attack others as a ‘litigation terrorist’ then that should be a basis for immediate court intervention to prevent that from recurring. If the Judicature Act cannot provide an authority to do that, then this Court’s inherent jurisdiction should provide the basis for that step.

Extract from Gauthier (Re), 2017 ABQB 555: 

[77] First, Gauthier’s history establishes future abusive litigation is grimly predictable. He does not take “no” for an answer. His August 3/8/10, 2017 email is explicit: he intends to take procedurally abusive action against those he considers to be wrongdoers.

[78] His philosophy and animus to government means he plausibly will litigate against any government, law enforcement, or court actor who will or has crossed his path. In Crossroads-DMD Mortgage Investment Corporation v Gauthier he previously advanced OPCA concepts in an attempt to frustrate collection of mortgage debts due under contract. Given these facts I cannot identify a subset or category of potential litigation targets for Gauthier’s abusive court activities. He is a threat to every Canadian.

[79] Similarly, Gauthier’s misconduct spans everything from illegal defences to debt collection, to attempts to attack government workers engaged in their duties, to illegal claims on property, to springing a convicted drug trafficker from prison. I see no way to predict a focus or restriction on Gauthier’s misuse of courts. In fact, the opposite is likely, since he is so globally offended by what he (incorrectly) identifies as oppression and conspiracy.

[83] Given these facts, Gauthier’s history, and his clear animus to the persons he views as wrongdoers, I find that an additional and more unusual step is required to control his abuse of Alberta Courts. As in Re Boisjoli and Ewanchuk v Canada (Attorney General) I also order that Gauthier is prohibited from making any leave application to the Alberta Provincial Court, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, or Alberta Court of Appeal except where that filing is made by a member of the Law Society of Alberta. This will help screen Gauthier’s future court activities to minimize further abuse of the courts and other litigants.

[87] The Court will prepare, file, and serve (Gauthier at his email account) the appropriate order to reflect this decision. Gauthier’s approval is not required for the form of order.

Extract from DKD (Re), 2019 ABQB 26 (CanLII): 

II. BGD’s Written Submissions 

[9] BGD in his written submissions immediately and explicitly apologized for the “NOTICE”. He explained that he takes court processes seriously and that he meant no disrespect to the Court or to me by filing the “NOTICE”. BGD claimed he never intended to collect on the fee schedules he foisted on others; he recognized that this would create an unlawful hardship. 

[10] BGD then commented on my criticisms of the OPCA concepts and the guru I identified in relation to the “NOTICE”. It is clear to me that BGD investigated those criticisms, and he thanked me for pointing out that the people who teach OPCA concepts are grounded in falsehood. For example, in relation to Carl (Karl) Lentz, BGD wrote: 

As for Karl Lentz Yes He is a nut cake. I do realize that now. Thanks for pointing that out to me. A little late for me. But you know that. Just saying that. …

[11] BGD also identified the recently deceased self-proclaimed judge David Wynn Miller (see Knutson (Re),2018 ABQB 858 (CanLII)at paras 18-26, 72-80) as another pseudolegal influence on him. BGD explained in his submissions that he now sees how the manner in which these gurus teach what they say is the law is misleading: “… With all these ideas one only gets half the story. …”.

III.      Court Access Restrictions

[13] In most instances a person will be made subject to court access restrictions where that individual adopts OPCA concepts and then engages in “offensive” litigation, since that is “… a basis for immediate court intervention to prevent that from recurring….”: 1985 Sawridge Trust v Alberta (Public Trustee)2017 ABQB 548 (CanLII) at paras 74, 13 CPC (8th) 92, see also Gauthier (Re)2017 ABQB 555 (CanLII) at paras 77-78, 83, 87 CPC (7th) 555, aff’d 2018 ABCA 14 (CanLII)Rothweiler v Payette2018 ABQB 288 (CanLII) at paras 39-41, 46, result confirmed 2018 ABQB 399 (CanLII);d’Abadie v Her Majesty the Queen,2018 ABQB 438 (CanLII)at paras 5-7, 34; Alberta Treasury Branches v Hawrysh2018 ABQB 618 (CanLII) at para 29Potvin (Re)2018 ABQB 834 (CanLII)at para 14Knutson (Re),2018 ABQB 1050 (CanLII) at para 17.