NO WAY, PRO SE! The Consequences of Abusing the Judicial System as a Pro Se Litigant in Colorado

NO WAY, PRO SE! The Consequences of Abusing the Judicial System as a Pro Se Litigant in Colorado


Intolerable, vexatious, egregious, grievous. These are just some of the adjectives used by the Colorado Supreme Court to describe the actions of a now-disbarred attorney, in a 51-page opinion issued in GHP Horwath PC et al. v. Nina H. Kazazian.

In its lengthy opinion, the court dedicated 38 pages to the laundry list of wrongdoing by Kazazian. Kazazian abused the judicial system and harassed her opposing parties, GHP and Atrium, for eleven years, with “no fewer than ten lawsuits and twice as many appeals—most of which courts have found to be duplicative, meritless, or otherwise frivolous. Her actions . . . resulted in admonishment, sanctions, and ultimately her disbarment from the practice of law.”[i]

 Kazazian was disbarred during this litigation for committing fraud on the court.[ii] In November 2018, Kazazian formed an entity named GHP II with the intent to recover the attorney fees she was ordered to pay.[iii] She reached out to GHP’s real attorney, claiming she was GHP’s attorney and demanded that the real GHP give GHP II— i.e. Kazazian—what she had paid in attorney fees.[iv] Not even disbarment was enough to deter Kazazian. “[N]o longer constrained by the ethical obligations of attorneys, Kazazian persist[ed] as a pro se party, creating new proceedings or prolonging old ones to continue her fruitless attempts at relitigating long-decided issues.”[v] Consequently, the Supreme Court of Colorado intervened.


The Court’s Extraordinary Intervention

While extraordinary, “[i]n limited instances, [the court] can exercise [its] original jurisdiction to enjoin an individual from proceeding in Colorado courts without an attorney.”[vi] This power comes from Article VI, section 2(1) of the Colorado Constitution, which grants the court power to stop abuse of the judicial process.[vii]

“When a pro se litigant hampers the efficient administration of justice to an intolerable degree, it is [the court’s] duty to stop the abuse with an injunction.”[viii] Injunctions are appropriate when a pro se party (1) files a multitude of meritless claims, (2) files multiple, successive, duplicative claims, (3) uses a method of procedure that strains judicial resources, or (4) brings claims seemingly for the purpose of harassing opposing parties.[ix] Unsurprisingly, the court found Kazazian’s egregious behavior rose to the level of all four intolerable abuses.[x]

Kazazian brought a multitude of meritless arguments in three different counties and appealed the same on numerous occasions.[xi] The court counted at least fourteen times Colorado courts had found Kazazian’s arguments, actions, or claims meritless; accordingly, her actions rose to the level of intolerable.[xii]

Kazazian filed at least one duplicative lawsuit and inundated district courts with repetitive filings, as the Court noted:[xiii]

For example, Kazazian has repetitively filed motions or notices for satisfaction of judgment in the case concerning Atrium, to the point that a district court judge prohibited her from filing any more unilateral satisfactions of judgment, under penalty of contempt. The incessant level of filing by Kazazian led that same district court judge to later order that Kazazian’s opposers no longer needed to respond to Kazazian’s numerous motions. [xiv]

These actions were also intolerable.[xv]

Further, Kazazian abused legal procedure in terms of time by filing nonstop motions to continue and motions for extension of time.[xvi] While these kinds of motions are usually acceptable, Kazazian was relentless.[xvii] In its opinion, the Court noted that, “The occasions where Kazazian timely filed without an extension are grossly outnumbered by the opposite.”[xviii] Kazazian’s frivolous lawsuits coupled with her “excessive expansion of case timelines” seriously strained judicial resources, and as such, her method of procedure was again intolerable.[xix]

The Court relied in part on Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs of Boulder Cnty. v. Barday, an analogous case where a pro se plaintiff filed countless motions and counter-motions made up of “bald allegations,” the court held the plaintiff “either (1) ‘ha[d] no legal claim and [was] persisting in his lawsuits merely to harass … those who have found it in their judgment to oppose him,’ or (2) ‘need[ed] an attorney to structure his claims for him.’”[xx]

Applying the Barday standard, the Court here determined Kazazian either “needs an attorney to help her discern if her claims are meritorious, or she persists merely to harass her opposers.”[xxi] Kazazian deprived other members of the public of their access to precious judicial resources and hampered her own causes.[xxii] Whether Kazazian meant to harass or simply needed licensed legal advice, her actions were nonetheless inexcusable, and yes – intolerable.[xxiii]

Given Kazazian’s undeniably intolerable behaviors, to protect the courts and the public from future abuse, the court enjoined Kazazian from proceeding pro se.[xxiv] However, to protect Kazazian’s constitutional rights, she may still proceed in court through an attorney of choice.[xxv]


The Takeaway

The takeaway here is a simple one: respect the justice system and your opposing party. Whether you are a legal practitioner or a layperson representing him or herself pro se, it is imperative to be mindful of your actions in court.

There is also a takeaway for those represented by attorneys: do not push your attorney to do something frivolous, meritless, harassing, or vexatious. An ethical attorney will not engage in these practices because they will not advance your case, and you will likely be slapped with thousands of dollars in attorney fees.



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[1] GHP Horwath PC et al. v. Nina H. Kazazian, case no. 23SA146, at ¶ 2.

[1] Id. at ¶ 78.

[1] Id. at ¶ 23.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶ 2.

[1] Id. at ¶ 70.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶ 66.

[1] Id.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶ 69.

[1] Id. at ¶ 71.

[1] Id.

[1] Id.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶ 75.

[1] Id.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶ 76.

[1] Id. at ¶ 77 (quoting 594 P.2d 1057, 1059 (1979).

[1] Id. at ¶ 78.

[1] Id. at ¶ 79.

[1] Id.

[1] Id. at ¶¶ 80-81.

[1] Id. at ¶ 80.