Judges shut down serial filer, work to clear dockets of remaining suits

David Yates Aug. 30, 2010, 2:40pm

With 19 questionable lawsuits filed in the past two years, a pair of Jefferson County judges signed orders declaring Amy Modica a "vexatious litigant" Friday, effectively ending the serial filer's litigation spree in the state of Texas.

Both Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, and Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, signed the orders after Aug. 27 hearings. The rulings mandate Modica pay $5,000 securities in her pending litigation by Sept. 27 or else the suits will be dismissed.

Taking his judgment a step further, Judge Shuffield also ruled that Modica must now have permission from an administrative judge before filing a new lawsuit in any Texas courthouse.

"It's a statewide provision," Judge Shuffield told the Record, adding that although his order in theory should limit Modica's litigious tendencies, it "can be easily redone" since Texas Civil Law is "not entirely clear" when it comes to vexatious litigants.

Seeking to put an end to Modica's lawsuits, the city of Beaumont filed a motion to declare her a vexatious litigant on Aug. 18. A vexatious litigant is a repeat filer of civil actions shown to have been instituted maliciously and without probable cause.

Acting as her own attorney Modica, sued the city in June alleging Beaumont police Lt. Bowls harassed her by asking for custody paperwork.

Bowls was responding to a 911 call over an altercation between Modica's mother and daughter, court papers show.

In August, Modica filed a second complaint against the city, this time alleging Bowls hypnotized her and killed 14 people.

Several county officials and clerks who handle Modica's incoming lawsuits testified at the Friday hearing.

According to testimony and court records, more than half of Modica's suits have been dismissed or transferred to federal court.

Cases that have been transferred include Modica's suits against President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in which she alleges the defendants psychologically abused her.

On Aug. 19 Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, disposed of a suit against the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. Modica also alleged museum employees psychologically abused her in that case.

Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price represented the city throughout the Modica ordeal.

Case No. B187-073

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