A couple of weeks ago I had a post about who you can't sue. It was more about tort immunity, but the comments to the post also dealt with people complaining about frivolous lawsuits.
This can be a maddening topic for me. Some people, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe that our court system is filled with people making money off of bogus lawsuits. I know I can't convince people that there aren't hoards of frivolous lawsuits. But that won't stop me from making two points.
1. The thing I hear the most is that there should be a law that penalizes you if you file a frivolous lawsuit. Guess what, there is. A Judge can sanction an attorney, a plaintiff, make them pay defense costs, order damages and in an extreme circumstance, an attorney could lose their license. Now of course defendants win cases all of the time and often as lawyers we find out that the facts aren't what we thought they were. But that doesn't make the lawsuits frivolous. And if they are frivolous there is a law in place to punish them.
2. The biggest bogus complaint is that doctors are being run out of town by frivolous lawsuits. Again, I'm not saying there has never been a b.s. malpractice lawsuit. But if you ever want to conduct a social experiment, Google Chicago medical malpractice lawyers and call the first 20 law firms you see that do malpractice cases in Chicago. Present to them over the phone a situation you think is frivolous and see if they even ask you to come in for a meeting. I'll bet all 20 won't waste their time. Most will tell you that they reject 19 out of 20 cases for med mal that come to them. A typical malpractice case costs an attorney $100,000 in expenses. Doctors win 80% of the time in Cook County. So unless a firm is willing to go banrupt, they can't file frivolous lawsuits.
Ok, I'm ready for the backlash. Bring it on, but if you say there are frivolous lawsuits, please explain how they were frivolous. Telling me that you won the case as a defendant or that your relative was sued for something they felt was bogus doesn't make it frivolous.
Legal Tip Of The Day from Chicago attorney Kevin Dixler on immigration: If you become a conditional or lawful permanent resident, then treat the U.S. as your permanent home. If you stay outside the U.S. for 180 days, ignore filing tax returns, or otherwise ignore civil immigration laws, you can lose your green card.
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