In a week long continuing education conference for attorneys, judges, and law school students this past January, the Tennessee Bar Association discussed, among other topics, the problem with abusive civil actions (https://www.tba.org/?pg=CLESki2023). Monday, January 23rd’s afternoon session featured discussion of two cases of abusive litigation, one of which was the abusive lawsuit filed by my cult leader brother Ken Parks, aka Ken Max Parks, Max Parks, Pastor Ken Max Parks, Pastor Max, etc., (Click here to see the TBA educational presentation ; Click here to see Judge Stanley’s ruling and supporting documentation ).
Included in the 2023 TBA’s continuing education conference in their Monday, January 23rd presentation was my brother Ken Parks’ 2018 Washington County, Tennessee, meritless claim against me and my husband and Judge Jean Stanley’s order designating him to be an abusive litigant, placing a 6-year pre-filing injunction against him, and ordering him to pay attorney fees. As a side note, in 2020 we were awarded a permanent pre-filing injunction and civil contempt of court decrees against my brother Ken Parks because of his defiance of this 2018 court order when he continued to file lawsuits (always self-represented) not only against us but against our attorneys in three states, the judges in three states, and against a federal judge as well; that lawsuit was dismissed with pre-filing restrictions by Georgia Northern District Federal Court Judge Eleanor Ross in 2021.
For the past few years we have been in contact with the Tennessee Bar Association, and especially with their liaison to the Tennessee legislature, and we have obtained their full support that our legislators and our judges need to do more so as to prevent the financial damage caused by abusive litigants (who usually file pro se / self-represented as my brother Ken Parks does). The tragic and sick-joke reality of decreed monetary awards is that the courts very rarely order a specific payment plan that the losing party must adhere to in order to pay restitution to the innocent party or face prison time until they do repay their victims. The attorneys we’ve spoken to and worked with in the Tennessee Bar Association likewise support our efforts to get judges to screen every pro se lawsuit for merit and issue an immediate dismissal without need of the opposing party even being notified of the lawsuit or filing any motion to dismiss the lawsuit (this is called a sua sponte ruling in which the judge takes the initiative to dismiss a case without motions needed by the parties). A few “old school” judges we’ve spoken to uphold the dignity, integrity, and fairness of the court system by doing just that so as to prevent abusive, meritless lawsuits from ever going forward and causing intended harm to innocent parties named in the lawsuit.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Victims must continue to speak up about the hell and abuse they’ve been put through not only by their mentally unstable abuser but also by an enabling court system that their abuser weaponizes to cause financial and emotional abuse, as well as potentially endangering their victims, their victims’ attorneys, and the entire court staff. Making a difference by consistently raising our voices may take years, but, as in the case of this year’s TBA session highlighting the abusive and meritless nature of my brother Ken Parks’ lawsuit against me and my husband, our voices can make an impact. So keep up the good fight!
This year’s Tennessee Bar Association’s continuing education session on abusive civil actions would have been more thorough in its discussion of the problem of abusive litigants if the presenters had included the cold hard reality that it is virtually impossible for parties awarded monetary judgments to collect those monies from abusers. What should have also been discussed is the duty and responsibility all judges have to exercise sua sponte dismissals of obviously meritless lawsuits or at bare minimum impose a bond requirement on suspected abusive litigants that would cover innocent defendants’ legal fees. Nonetheless we will update our legislators regarding the TBA session on abusive civil actions as we continue our efforts to strengthen Tennessee’s Abuse of Civil Action law on these issues, as well as creating a state-wide abusive litigant list so that abusive litigants cannot defy court orders by filing subsequent lawsuits in other counties.
In a related topic to damage done to victims of abusive litigation, I will discuss in my next blog the creative and successful ways that victims of abusive litigants can financially recover their legal expenses after their abusers have weaponized the court system.