Frivolous Lawsuits

They’re few and far between in my experience. Good and successful lawyers pride themselves on avoiding them, and judges are quick to weed them out.

But the insurance industry has brainwashed us into thinking the very few actually frivolous lawsuits are the norm. That all lawsuits are frivolous. It used to be that when discussing the issue of frivolous lawsuits during jury selection that one or two earnest people would come forward to discuss their belief that there are too many frivolous lawsuits. Sometimes one of them actually would have had been sued themselves, but most of the time they just discussed a feeling (developed by watching and hearing and reading the “news”) that our courts are out of control and that runaway juries are assessing millions of dollars in damages in frivolous lawsuits. I assure you they are not.

In a trial last week I asked the venire panel of sixty-five potential jurors whether any of them believed there are too many frivolous lawsuits. Sixty-three of the sixty-five raised their hands. I then had to try to distinguish the people I was representing (who had lost a family member) and myself from those who would file a lawsuit over a trifle.

I urge you now to think about the ways our thoughts can be manipulated. Is it a frivolous lawsuit or an understandable dispute being resolved by the best dispute resolution method we’ve been able to develop in our democracy, the jury trial? If it were you needing justice, would you feel comfortable with jurors having the feeling that all lawsuits are frivolous?

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