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Friday, October 15, 2004

Frivolous Lawsuits 

With Bill O'Reilly heroically filing a pre-emptive complaint against the woman he had been masturbating at for several months, I feel it's my duty to take on the issue of frivolous lawsuits.

Nobody is denying that the tort system needs some tweaking, but with the recent rollbacks of vast swaths of business and industry regulatory structure, there needs to be something to catch those unfortunates who slip through the cracks. It's a fine line to walk and nobody is saying it's an easy job. I think damage caps are a bad idea because they are wholly arbitrary. I think penalizing attorneys heavily who bring frivolous suits might help, but you have to do something to penalize the client as well...lawyers can be good filters, but they can also be manipulated.

Well...I'm not going to come up with a full answer this early in the morning (and before my coffee), so I'll just mention the fact that
American businesses file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, and they are penalized by judges much more often for pursuing frivolous litigation, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.
What about those nasty trial lawyers and their heartless wasting of judicial resources again?

UPDATE: For those of you who are not either lawyers or in law school and who don't immediately get the point of this post, it's simple. More judicial resources are being wasted by the filing of frivolous lawsuits in the commercial (i.e., Company X v. Company Y) context than in the individual tort victim context (i.e., medical malpractice, products liability, etc.). Note that nobody is defaming commercial litigators, it's those damn "trial lawyers" (i.e., personal injury, med. mal.) who have to go. But in reality, they are less a drain on the system.

Now if you want to argue about magnitude of liability, punitive damages, etc., there's something to be discussed there. If you want to talk about frivolous suits wasting judicial resources, check your facts before you start blaming the "trial lawyers."

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