SECTION 1. Chapter 231 of the general laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 59H. Any person who commences any civil action or complaint against another person or entity in his or her own name or in the name of another without probable cause shall pay the other person double damages, costs and reasonable attorneys fees should a court find at any stage of the civil action, or in a separate action commenced by the defendant in the underlying action, that such conduct amounted to vexing, or should a court find at any stage of the civil action that the action was commenced without probable cause and with malicious intent to vex the defendant, treble damages.
There shall be a presumption that a person who has commenced multiple prior actions against the defendant is acting to vex, and if it so alleged in the defendant’s answer, the court in its discretion may hold a preliminary hearing and should it find probable cause for the allegation of vexing, shall require the plaintiff to post a pre-trial bond in an amount that the court determines in its discretion to be reasonable based upon the circumstances.
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