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Encyclopedia > Frivolous lawsuit

In courts, a defense or claim is termed frivolous if it is presented in spite of the fact that both the party and the party's attorney knew that it had no merit and it did not argue for a reasonable extension or reinterpretation of the law or no underlying justification in fact based upon the lawyer's due diligence investigation of the case before presenting the position (e.g., the well known U.S. Federal Rule 11). Jurisdictions differ on whether a claim or defense can be frivolous if the attorney acted in good faith. Because a frivolous defense or claim wastes the court's and the other parties' time, resources and legal fees, it may result in sanctions being levied by a court upon the party or the lawyer who presents the frivolous defense or claim. Law (from the late Old English lagu of probable North Germanic origin) in politics and jurisprudence, is a set of rules or norms of conduct which mandate, proscribe or permit specified relationships among people and organizations, intended to provide methods for ensuring the impartial treatment of such people, and provide... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with duty of care. ... The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ... For the practice in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Assume good faith. ... Sanctions are usually monetary fines, levied against a party to a legal action or his attorney, for violating rules of procedure, or for abusing the judicial process. ...

Lawyer Daniel B. Evans writes:

[W]hen a judge calls an argument "ridiculous" or "frivolous," it is absolutely the worst thing the judge could say. It means that the person arguing the position has absolutely no idea of what he is doing, and has completely wasted everyone's time. It doesn't mean that the case wasn't well argued, or that judge simply decided for the other side, it means that there was no other side. The argument was absolutely, positively, incompetent. The judge is not telling you that you were "wrong." The judge is telling you that you are out of your mind. [1]

Litigants who represent themselves (in forma pauperis and pro se) often make frivolous arguments due to their limited knowledge of the law and procedure. The particular tendency of prisoners to bring baseless lawsuits led Congress to pass and Bill Clinton to sign the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which strictly limits the ability of prisoners to bring actions. In Forma Pauperis is a legal term derived from the Latin phrase in the form of a pauper. ... Pro se is a Latin adjective meaning for self, that is applied to someone who represents themselves without a lawyer in a court proceeding, whether as a defendant or a plaintiff and whether the matter is civil or criminal. ... Congress in Joint Session. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ...

The more common use of the term "frivolous" in political discourse refers to lawsuits that are based on a theory that seems absurd, where there is no link between the conduct of the defendant and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, or where the claim results in damages that greatly exceed what one would expect from a brief summary of the case. Awards for medical malpractice are frequently derided as frivolous. However, if a jury and a judge decided in favor of the plaintiff in such cases, the plaintiff's claim was technically not frivolous, though it might be considered frivolous colloquially. Because of the ambiguity in the term, calling these lawsuits "frivolous" can lead to confusion because opposite sides of the tort reform debate can both say they oppose "frivolous" suits, with the tort reform supporters referring to the colloquial understanding, and tort reform opponents referring to the narrower technical definition.[2] The basic definition of medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community causing injury to the patient. ... The term tort reform is used by supporters of the controversial contention that reform of the American civil justice system to reduce litigations adverse effect on the economy is desirable to describe those proposed and enacted changes. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
frivolous lawsuit Class Action Lawyer (628 words)
Introducing the Stella Awards for the most frivolous lawsuits in the U.S., purportedly named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who was awarded damages for injuries sustained after spilling...
The reaction was in response to a Nov. 30 lawsuit filed in Berlin by...
If they do and the court deems the lawsuit frivolous in nature, then make that lawyer pay the legal costs of the person or company they sued.
  More results at FactBites »



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