Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Contributed by Jeff
Local thrill parks generate a ton of revenue for the community and lawsuits have become part of the cost of doing business. The majority of the lawsuits stem from injuries guests sustained on rides.
Read more from The Sandusky Register.
We already have a method of dealing with frivolous lawsuits. Rule 11 sanctions. Its just rarely used. We could go to the English model with loser pays the legal fees of the winning party. There are pluses and minuses with the English rule though.
Ifthe justice system is arbitrary enough for people to treat it like acasino, how will adding a "frivolous" outcome change that?
It would force the player (plaintiff's attorney) to actually play with his own money/reputation.
Considering that it takes a great deal of money in expenses to even bring a major civil case to the courthouse steps, and factoring in that most plaintiff attorneys work on a contingency fee-basis, I'd say that a considerable amount of money and reputation are at stake already.
In addition to Rule 11 sanctions, the defense has many opportunities to get a case dismissed. Civ R. 12 contains ways to derail a case with a simple Answer and Motion to Dismiss. Summary Judgment looms as a hurdle for plaintiffs at the close of discovery. A defendant can get a directed verdict at the close of plaintiff's case at trial. And even after an unfavorable verdict, one can still move the judge to overrule the jury's verdict if it could not, as a matter of law, be reached upon the evidence presented.
There's no legal definition of frivolous, and it certainly doesn't apply to all cases that lose at trial. The right to open access to the courts means that some silly stuff will get through, but the Civil Rules and jury process tends to do a good job, in my experience.
I'd also posit that there is such a thing as frivolous defense, and that it drives up costs just as much as anything that attorneys on my side of the aisle do.
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