Legal Ethics: What Is a Frivolous Lawsuit and How Do You Avoid One?

A federal district court imposed a fine of $91 million to two Florida firms for filing frivolous lawsuits. The two firms filed over 1,000 frivolous claims in over 3,700 lawsuits. These cases have no legal basis and only served to clog the judicial system.

You should avoid filing frivolous claims, or you too could face a hefty fine. Follow this guide to ensure you understand what a frivolous claim is and how to avoid filing one.

What Is a Frivolous Lawsuit?

Any lawsuit that is filed with the sole intent to annoy, disturb, or harass the opposite party is frivolous. It can also be a lawsuit that has no legal basis, or one that the plaintiff knows has little to no chance of succeeding in court.

The most common type of frivolous lawsuit is in the personal injury area of law. You may also hear of this practice as “frivolous litigation”.

Is Your Lawsuit Frivolous?

The best way to determine if your lawsuit is frivolous is to speak with a local injury lawyer. They will be able to discuss the circumstances surrounding your injuries and if you have a possible viable claim.

Possible Consequences for Filing a Frivolous Lawsuit

You can avoid frivolous lawsuit penalties by only filing a lawsuit in good faith with an honest belief that it is to protect your rights or receive compensation for injuries. If you get caught filing a frivolous lawsuit, then you face fines, contempt charges, and possible criminal charges.

Fines

The court determines the fine you have to pay, and as the first paragraph of this article indicated, it can be up to millions of dollars. You’ll also have to pay for the other party’s expenses in responding to the lawsuit.

Contempt

A contempt order dictates that you must follow the court’s direction or face jail time. If you face a contempt charge, then it’s best to consult an attorney to ensure you follow all of the court’s directives.

Criminal

If your frivolous lawsuit causes excessive harm to the other party or the court system, then you could face criminal charges. Your attorney can further explain these charges.

Why Are Frivolous Lawsuits Filed?

Despite the possible penalties, people and attorneys still file frivolous lawsuits. Sometimes the lawsuit gets filed because the person isn’t satisfied with a product or they are holding a grudge against someone.

Another common reason is to delay another legal proceeding. You can delay some real estate actions by forcing the property owner into another type of litigation, for example.

Avoid Filing a Frivolous Lawsuit

If you have any doubt about your claim being a frivolous lawsuit, then the best thing to do is speak with an attorney. They can help advise you and determine if your claim is one that gives you a possibility of recovery.

You can also sit down and think about why you want to file a lawsuit. Are you doing it to seek compensation for damages or injuries? Or are you filing your lawsuit because of a grudge or to manipulate the legal system?

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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