In law, 'frivolous litigation' is the practice of starting or carrying on law suits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won. The term does not include cases that may be lost due to other matters not related to legal merit. While colloquially, a person may term a law suit to be frivolous if he or she personally finds a claim to be absurd, in legal usage "frivolous litigation" consists of a claim or defense that is presented where the party (or the party's legal counsel) had reason to know that the claim or defense was manifestly insufficient or futile. The fact that a claim is lost does not imply that it was frivolous.
Frivolous litigation may be based on absurd legal theories, may involve a superabundance or repetition of motions or additional suits, may be uncivil or harassing to the court, or may claim extreme remedies. A claim or defense may be frivolous because it had no underlying justification in fact, or because it was not presented with an argument for a reasonable extension or reinterpretation of the law. A claim may be deemed frivolous because existing laws unequivocally prohibit such a claim, such as a so-called Good Samaritan law.
In the United States, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and similar state rules require that an attorney perform a due diligence investigation concerning the factual basis for any claim or defense. Jurisdictions differ on whether a claim or defense can be frivolous if the attorney acted in good faith. Because such a defense or claim wastes the court's and the other parties' time, resources and legal fees, sanctions may be imposed by a court upon the party or the lawyer who presents the frivolous defense or claim. The law firm may also be sanctioned, or even held in contempt.
Read more about Frivolous Litigation: Statutes and Rules of Court Penalizing Frivolous Litigation, Court Treatment of Frivolous Arguments, Impact Upon Filing Attorney, Examples of Frivolous Court Filings
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Famous quotes containing the word frivolous:
“Woman has been systematically educated to spend her conversational ability upon the most frivolous topics. This has the effect to belittle her range of thought so that she can comprehend only superficialities.”
—Caroline Nichols Churchill (1833?)