Tag Archives: litigation

Frivolous Lawsuits

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

    Preparing For A Lawsuit

    If you are in a position where you need to vindicate your rights or receive compensation for your pain and suffering, knowing how to prepare for a lawsuit is important. Without properly organizing your claim or conveying important information to your lawyer, you could sabotage your own chances of succeeding.

    So what are the necessary steps in getting prepared?

    1. Get Organized. Pull together all your evidence, witnesses and other pertinent information before moving forward. Having all your documents, phone numbers, contacts and paperwork together is critical. Whether your claim is being filed in small claims court, or the local superior/municipal court, you should ensure that you have gathered as much evidence for your claim as possible. Doing so will also make your attorney happy and their job easier. The most common problem lawyers have in dealing with clients is the client’s failure to keep relevant details of their claim. While you may not have every piece of information, taking what you do have to your attorney will help them have it on hand when ready. By having access to this information, you allow your lawyer ample time to issue subpoenas and obtain necessary supporting documentation.

    2. Hire A Lawyer. Choosing the right lawyer is critical. You should set up meetings with a few different attorneys to ‘interview’ them. Many people can determine right away whether an attorney is honest and forthcoming. In personal injury and workers’ compensation matters, most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. You should discuss your case with the attorney the chance of success or failure. Know there are risks to every case and make sure the attorney you choose is honest with you in what those risks are. Ask your attorney whether they will be giving you periodic updates on the status of the case in writing or by phone. Also ask whether they will be your main point of contact or will communications be delegated to a paralegal or secretary. You will also want to know how the attorney will be charging you for his fees. Some are paid hourly while others will be entitled to a percentage of what they recover on your behalf (contingency fee). If you are being charged hourly, make sure you know the rate and if your attorney is working on contingency basis, make sure you know the percentage he is entitled to from your financial settlement or judgment. Try to obtain an estimate of what the case will cost to litigate. Ask your attorney what kind of experience he/she has in regards to your case. Also consider the size of the firm you will be dealing with. There are advantages and disadvantages to both big and small firms. Small firms can be more personalized and possibly have more time for your case but large firms are often more feared and are more reputable. Larger firms also have greater resources and manpower.

    3. Ask Your Lawyer The Right Questions – In addition to hiring the right attorney, your part is critical too in the relationship and the case. You don’t want to feel in the dark during your lawsuit, mostly because you haven’t asked the right questions. Remember that your attorney is working for you, if you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask your attorney to explain it to you. If the attorney isn’t willing to explain, you may have to retain a new one. Questions you will want to ask and be in the know about include:

    • What stage the litigation is in?
    • What are the court dates on calendar?
    • Is your appearance needed at court, or only your attorney?
    • What your possible recovery or remedies are? and
    • What are the possible “negative” outcomes of your action?

    While a lawsuit can be long and complicated, depending on your situation, the above three steps will help you get started in the process in a more successful way.

    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”