A frivolous lawsuit is any lawsuit that was filed to simply annoy or harass the defendant. It is called frivolous because it usually has no chance of succeeding in court. Ask any person with a paralegal degree in NYC or anywhere else in the country, and they know that frivolous lawsuits are just a waste of time.
If you have been put in this kind of situation, you know how demeaning and irritating it is to be sued for something ridiculous.
Examples of Frivolous Lawsuits
One particular example of a frivolous lawsuit is when a man sued beer manufacturing company Anheiser-Busch for false advertising. The plaintiff, Richard Harris, noted that the company showed ads where a guy drinking their beer always found the confidence to talk to the opposite sex. Not only did he get rid of his shyness, but the guy in those ads eventually ended up going out with the girl he was flirting with.
But according to Harris, the beers he drank did not make him irresistible to women. In addition to that, he often got sick after drinking too many of Anheiser-Busch’s beers. So, he filed a case in court and sued the beer manufacturer, saying it lied about the effect of its beers. The court, realizing that the plaintiff had no case, decided to trash his lawsuit.
This is one of several frivolous litigations that cause headaches to so many people. Unfortunately, some lawsuits, despite how ridiculous they sound, do win in court.
One particular example, which has become famous in legal circles, is about a woman who sued McDonald’s allegedly because their coffee gave her third-degree burns. Stella Liebeck said she bought coffee from McDonald’s and then, brought it to her nephew’s car where she decided to put in sugar into her hot drink. When she removed the lid, she accidentally spilled the contents of the cup onto her lap, which burned her legs.
She sued McDonald’s because there were no warning labels or notifications on the cup to inform her that the coffee was scalding hot. Despite the obvious notion that if you buy a coffee, it is supposed to be hot (therefore, you are supposed to handle it with care), the court still awarded Liebeck compensatory damages.
So like it or not, frivolous lawsuits exist, and sometimes, the defendant gets the short end of the stick. But if you want to avoid paying a huge amount of money to someone who is just out to annoy or harass you, there is a way to force that plaintiff to back off from pursuing a lawsuit against you.
What You Can Do
Section 128.7 of the California Code of Civil Procedure states that a defendant can file a motion to bar the plaintiff from pursuing a lawsuit if the latter is able to provide enough evidence that the plaintiff’s case is groundless. There has been a case wherein the defendant was able to throw the plaintiff’s case because the former was able to provide enough proof that the lawsuit had no grounds and was simply frivolous.
Even though some frivolous lawsuits do win in court, the judicial system is still stringent when it comes to weeding out baseless lawsuits from those with bearing. If you are in the midst of a frivolous lawsuit, do not hesitate to ask help from a lawyer and a paralegal team to build a case that the plaintiff’s lawsuit against you is completely baseless.