Frivolous litigation is defined as the practice of starting or carrying on law suits that have little to no chance of winning. While a lawsuit may be coined frivolous by the judiciary of the United States, "frivolous litigation" is considered to consist of a legal claim or defense presented even though the party or the party's legal counsel had reason to know that the claim or defense was manifestly insufficient or futile, that is to say, had no legal merit and may also lack legal standing.
To deter frivolous law suits and save tax payers dollars along with controlling the waste of courts and other parties‘ time, the United States Court, created Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure stating that an attorney must perform due diligence investigation concerning the factual basis for any claim or defense.
If a court feels an attorney has not performed due diligence, the attorney or the attorney's firm can be held in contempt. Both could also be fined by the United States Tax Court for up to $25,000. In addition, the losing party must pay the prevailing party for damages.
While the United States judicial system is careful in deeming cases frivolous in order to remain open for all those who seek in good faith the protection of the law, many see such cases as a lottery ticket.
One example of a frivolous case that caused notoriety was in the Pearson vs. Chung. Washington, D.C. Judge Roy Pearson sued a dry cleaning business for $67 million (later lowered to $54 million), for losing his pants (which he brought in for a $10.50 alteration). Pearson believed that a 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' sign in the window of the shop legally entitled him to a refund for the cost of the pants, estimated at $1,000. The $54 million total also included $2 million in "mental distress" and $15,000 which he estimated to be the cost of renting a car every weekend to go to another dry cleaners.
The Chung's legal costs skyrocketed and eventually the Chungs had to sell their dry-cleaning business.
Other frivolous and notorious lawsuits such as those mentioned in an article in the Huffington Post include:
Michigan man sues Anheuser-Busch for failing to see two beautiful women after drinking a case of their beer, something their ad seemingly portrayed. The man sued the company for false advertising, asking for a sum in excess of $10,000. Oregon man Allen Heckard sued Michael Jordan and Nike due to the fact he looked a lot like Michael Jordan and felt they were stealing his identity. The man sued for $832 million for his "emotional pain and suffering." Lindsay Lohan sought $100 million from E-Trade for use of the name "Lindsay" in reference to a female baby in their Super Bowl ad. Her people claimed the public knows her by the singular name, like Oprah or Madonna, and that referring to the baby as a "milk-aholic" directly references her life. In 1995, Robert Lee Brock attempted to sue himself for $5 million claiming he violated his own civil rights by getting intoxicated and committing crimes. He was serving a 23 year prison sentence at the time and thought the state would have to pay because he was incarcerated. 52-year-old L.A. traffic cop, Macrida Patterson sued Victoria's Secret after a thong she purchased there broke and the rhinestone heart on the side flew into Macrida's eye and hurt her. Tomas Delgado was driving over the speed limit at night and hit and kiled a child on a bike. He was not accused of manslaughter due to the fact the child was not wearing safety gear or reflectors. Tomas Delgado then decided to sue the family of the boy for damages to his Audi car.
Steven Medvin is the Executive Director of SMP Advance Funding, LLC, which provides lawsuit funding to individuals who need a lawsuit loan for pending lawsuits. For more information please visit: http://www.smpadvance.com.
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