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What is a Frivolous Lawsuit?

To hear some tell it – everything is a frivolous lawsuit.

  • Employees poisoned by asbestos
  • Patients left permanently injured or dead because of medical negligence
  • Employees who want justice from corporate wrongdoers like Enron
  • Consumers who have been lied to about the safety of their prescription drugs

But none of these cases is frivolous. The truth is that data show there is no “explosion” of frivolous lawsuits. On the contrary, the legal system already takes a zero tolerance approach to cases without merit and federal rules exist to punish attorneys who bring them.

Our centuries-old legal system has multiple procedural safeguards to ensure defendants’ rights.

A certain amount of evidence must be present for any case to proceed. Judges monitor filings exclusively at every step and can dismiss a case at almost any time.

Frivolous Lawsuit

Punishment Already Exists for Attorneys

Known as “Rule 11” this federal act expressly provides sanctions for attorneys who bring frivolous claims, including:

  • Monetary damages to cover the cost of the disciplinary proceedings;
  • Monetary damages to penalize the offending attorney, law firm, or parties that have violated the rules;
  • Any directives of a nonmonetary nature the court sees fit.

Bringing Frivolous Lawsuits Is Bad Business

When an attorney takes a case on contingency, s/he only gets paid for winning. Spending valuable time and money filing frivolous lawsuits that are thrown out by the judge is no way to make a living.

There is No Avalanche of Frivolous Suits

Special interest groups have been criticizing a “litigation explosion” since 1986 and talk about lawsuits in general or with anecdotes, some of which are false. A look at the facts reveals a different view.

  • A Recent analysis by the National Center for State Courts found that tort filings have declined by 5% since 1993.
  • According to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of civil trials dropped by 47% between 1992 and 2001. The decrease was also reflected in a particular case types. The numbers of automobile cases dropped 15%, premises liability 52.1%, medical malpractice 14.2% and product liability by 76%.
  • The Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics also shows that the trend in award size was down.
  • The median inflation-adjusted award in all tort trials dropped 56.3% between 1992 and 2001 to $28,000.

We recommend you to consult to a paralegal before you plan to make a plea. They can advice you whether to hire a lawyer or it has a potential to be deemed as frivolous lawsuit by the court.