History Main / FrivolousLawSuit

9th Feb '16 8:28:57 AM R1ck
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* A similar story revolves around Radio/GlennBeck and the [[MemeticMutation memetic website]], "[[RefugeInAudacity Did Glenn Beck Rape and Murder A Young Girl in 1990?]]"

* While this is ''definitely'' the "will be laughed out of court ten seconds later" version, a guy in late 2007 who drove under the influence of booze, Xanax, and cocaine and killed three people (a couple and the wife's mom) on Christmas Day (a fourth, the wife's stepfather, died a few years later, and injuries from that accident ''did'' play some part) decided ''that'' wasn't bad enough and added epic douchebaggery to his rap sheet: Why not [[http://autos.aol.com/article/why-a-convicted-drunk-driver-is-suing-his-victims/?ncid=txtlnkusauto00000020 countersue the victims]] (which means the victims' families, since the victims are slightly ''dead'') for "pain and suffering," "mental anguish," and the "loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life" (y'know, 'cause you can't enjoy life while ''in prison'' for driving while hammered and stoned and killing three, now four, innocent people.) ** The drunk driver [[http://www2.hernandotoday.com/news/hernando-news/2012/jun/16/haobito1-settlement-doesnt-dull-the-pain-ar-416706/ lost his countersuit]] in 2012 when a jury found that he and he alone was responsible for the crash. Relatives of the victims settled their civil suit against the driver for $1 million.
1st Feb '16 7:15:56 PM dmcreif
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Added DiffLines:
*You get a $1.50 Kit Kat bar that happens to not have the wafers inside it, so you basically get a chocolate bar. What do you do? [[http://ibt.uk/A6SyH Demand a lifetime's supply of Kit Kat bars,]] that's what you do!
23rd Jan '16 4:02:11 PM nombretomado
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* The band The Romantics vs. {{Activision}} because "the cover band in ''VideoGame/GuitarHero Encore: Rocks the 80s'' sounds too good". The case got thrown out by the judge.
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* The band The Romantics vs. {{Activision}} Creator/{{Activision}} because "the cover band in ''VideoGame/GuitarHero Encore: Rocks the 80s'' sounds too good". The case got thrown out by the judge.
19th Jan '16 6:19:02 AM RobTan
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* [[HeManWomanHater "Men's Rights Activists"]] in California have filed numerous lawsuits against women-only events, professional groups and social clubs, [[http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/men-rights-unruh-act-women-discrimination ranging from]] mother's day promotions to networking events for female business owners. Unfortunately, since California's anti-discrimination laws are so broadly worded, they often win because the defendants technically are engaged in gender discrimination, and, since the law also forces unsuccessful defendants to pay plaintiff's legal fees, they've cost a lot of people a lot of money.
14th Jan '16 12:24:00 PM Luigifan
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Someone—usually a stranger, sometimes a friend—has decided to sue Alice in the wake of some minor accident. The plaintiff suffered no real injury, but is suing out of greed or perhaps a desire for revenge, often with the help of an AmbulanceChaser or otherwise AmoralAttorney. If the judge doesn't laugh the guy out of court, though, our hero must often resort to some variety of CourtroomAntic to discredit her adversary.
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Someone—usually Someone — usually a stranger, sometimes a friend—has friend, occassionally an enemy — has decided to sue Alice in the wake of some minor accident. The plaintiff suffered no real injury, but is suing out of greed {{greed}} or perhaps a desire for revenge, {{revenge}}, often with the help of an AmbulanceChaser or otherwise AmoralAttorney. If the judge doesn't laugh the guy out of court, though, our hero must often resort to some variety of CourtroomAntic to discredit her adversary.

Technically, a frivolous lawsuit is one brought in bad faith—i.e., brought with no intention, expectation, or ''chance'' of success. Within the legal system, calling an action frivolous is like calling the lawyer who brought it a certified loon, the legal equivalent of "not even wrong". Much more common are frivolous claims in otherwise reasonable lawsuits and frivolous courtroom motions that only serve to prolong the legal process and harass participants. Another common instance is the lawsuit that, while it is ''technically'' not frivolous because it is based on actionable legal fact, said actionable legal fact ''is'' hair-splitting, petty, and a ViolationOfCommonSense (e.g. a ten million dollar suit filed against a restaurant for not putting ketchup on a burger advertised as having ketchup on it - it ''is'' technically false advertising[[note]]In which the product you describe must accurately fit the product you sell, unless adequately disclaimed or clearly exaggerated[[/note]] and therefore legally factual and actionable,[[note]]It is also theoretically actionable under sales law, which is somewhat different from the false advertising laws; note that because the sale of a hamburger is a sale of goods and the purchaser of the hamburger is the end user (rather than a commercial reseller), the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_tender_rule perfect tender rule]] applies: if the seller's product diverges one iota from what the buyer can reasonably expect based on the seller's representations, the buyer is entitled to damages and to return the product. That said, you ''do'' have to return it in salable condition, i.e. intact, not with bites taken out, so this is purely theoretical unless you open your burger before eating it and also are enough of a dick to sue when you find no ketchup instead of going up to the counter and just asking for it. Even then, the seller will be able to argue--possibly successfully--that because you ''touched'' the burger you got whatever bugs or dirt you may have had on your hands on the burger, therefore making the sandwich no longer fit for resale and thus denying you that remedy. Additionally, although (again) you are technically entitled to damages, you are limited to the value of the burger as if it had been as warranted (which would be the amount you paid for it, at most) minus the value as delivered (without ketchup, so at much a few cents lower--ketchup is cheap), making it impossible to recover very much--less than the cost of filing a lawsuit in the first place.[[/note]] but is the lack of a free packet of ketchup you could apply yourself worth ten million dollars?). The majority of the truly outrageous examples you might have heard of are filed ''pro se'', without an attorney. That's because none want to touch the craziness with a ten-foot pole. If there's an actual attorney involved who isn't also their own client[[note]]"A man who is his own attorney has a fool for a client."[[/note]] the case might not be so frivolous as it first appears.
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Technically, a frivolous lawsuit is one brought in bad faith—i.faith — i.e., brought with no intention, expectation, or ''chance'' of success. Within the legal system, calling an action frivolous is like calling the lawyer who brought it a certified loon, the legal equivalent of "not even wrong". Much more common are frivolous claims in otherwise reasonable lawsuits and frivolous courtroom motions that only serve to prolong the legal process and harass participants. Another common instance is the lawsuit that, while it is ''technically'' not frivolous because it is based on actionable legal fact, said actionable legal fact ''is'' hair-splitting, petty, and a ViolationOfCommonSense (e.g. a ten million dollar suit filed against a restaurant for not putting ketchup on a burger advertised as having ketchup on it - -- it ''is'' technically false advertising[[note]]In which the product you describe must accurately fit the product you sell, unless adequately disclaimed or clearly exaggerated[[/note]] and therefore legally factual and actionable,[[note]]It is also theoretically actionable under sales law, which is somewhat different from the false advertising laws; note that because the sale of a hamburger is a sale of goods and the purchaser of the hamburger is the end user (rather than a commercial reseller), the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_tender_rule perfect tender rule]] applies: if the seller's product diverges one iota from what the buyer can reasonably expect based on the seller's representations, the buyer is entitled to damages and to return the product. That said, you ''do'' have to return it in salable condition, i.e. intact, not with bites taken out, so this is purely theoretical unless you open your burger before eating it and also are enough of a dick to sue when you find no ketchup instead of going up to the counter and just asking for it. Even then, the seller will be able to argue--possibly successfully--that argue -- possibly successfully -- that because you ''touched'' the burger you got whatever bugs or dirt you may have had on your hands on the burger, therefore making the sandwich no longer fit for resale and thus denying you that remedy. Additionally, although (again) you are technically entitled to damages, you are limited to the value of the burger as if it had been as warranted (which would be the amount you paid for it, at most) minus the value as delivered (without ketchup, so at much a few cents lower--ketchup lower -- ketchup is cheap), making it impossible to recover very much--less much -- less than the cost of filing a lawsuit in the first place.[[/note]] but is the lack of a free packet of ketchup you could apply yourself worth ten million dollars?). The majority of the truly outrageous examples you might have heard of are filed ''pro se'', without an attorney. That's because none want to touch the craziness with a ten-foot pole. If there's an actual attorney involved who isn't also their own client[[note]]"A man who is his own attorney has a fool for a client."[[/note]] the case might not be so frivolous as it first appears.

Often this trope is invoked to make an argument about Tort Reform, i.e. limiting the ability to file claims or capping the liable amount of damages. On the one hand, everyone can agree that there sure seem to be a lot of unnecessary cases brought to court which takes up both time and money that can be better spent. On the other hand, it's hard to argue that the mere fact that someone with an illegitimate claim asks for a ludicrous amount of money means that someone with a legitimate claim should have their legal recourse limited. Particularly since -- in the United States at least -- most defendants in tort cases insist on a jury trial, and the ''jury'' is responsible both for determining fault and deciding the amount of damages to award (if any). Furthermore, many 'outrageous' jury awards are reduced following the inevitable appeal.
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Often this trope is invoked to make an argument about Tort Reform, i.e. limiting the ability to file claims or capping the liable amount of damages. On the one hand, everyone can agree that there sure seem to be a lot of unnecessary cases brought to court court, which takes up both time and money that can be better spent. On the other hand, it's hard to argue that the mere fact that someone with an illegitimate claim asks for a ludicrous amount of money means that someone with a legitimate claim should have their legal recourse limited. Particularly since -- in the United States at least -- most defendants in tort cases insist on a jury trial, and the ''jury'' is responsible both for determining fault and deciding the amount of damages to award (if any). Furthermore, many 'outrageous' jury awards are reduced following the inevitable appeal.

* [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] once crashed a plane and a man who had nothing to do with this threw himself at the wreckage and sued Scrooge for [[EleventyZillion one "maximajillion"]] dollars. This is so large that it exceeds what Scrooge, who at one point had three cubic money bins each over 20 stories tall, expected to make ''over his lifetime''. Scrooge himself is portrayed in many stories as being ''the richest person in the world'', which makes the amount appear even more ludicrous.
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* [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] once crashed a plane plane, and a man who had nothing to do with this threw himself at the wreckage and sued Scrooge for [[EleventyZillion one "maximajillion"]] dollars. This is so large that it exceeds what Scrooge, who at one point had three cubic money bins each over 20 stories tall, expected to make ''over his lifetime''. Scrooge himself is portrayed in many stories as being ''the richest person in the world'', which makes the amount appear even more ludicrous.

** Another story had a burglar sue Archie's family after he injured himself tripping on Archie's skateboard ''while trying to burglarize the Andrews Home''. (Naturally, Archie's family was outraged) It took Dilton Doiley finding an obscure loophole in an very old, forgotten (But not repealed) law to pull the family out.
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** Another story had a burglar sue Archie's family after he injured himself tripping on Archie's skateboard ''while trying to burglarize the Andrews Home''. Andrews' home''. (Naturally, Archie's family was outraged) outraged.) It took Dilton Doiley finding an obscure loophole in an very old, forgotten (But (but not repealed) law to pull the family out.
11th Jan '16 8:12:11 PM karstovich2
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In real life, actual frivolous lawsuits will be over long before they get near an actual jury. Repeated filing of frivolous lawsuits, frivolous claims, and frivolous motions will often be met with "contempt of court" charges; and attorneys have been disbarred for excessive frivolous filings (granted, it takes a ''long'' history of accepting worthless cases, making pointless and abusive appeals, and generally pissing everyone off to make them even consider it; bar associations are fairly reluctant to go that far and will ''never'' jump straight to disbarment before making use of letters of reprimand, sanctions, and suspensions first). Likewise, litigants known for repeatedly bringing them can be labeled by the courts as "vexatious" and enjoined from ever filing another without getting court approval first (like disbarment, you ''really'' have to fuck up before they'll even consider labeling you as vexatious due to a general reluctance to keep someone from having their day in court; it takes a whole lot of abusive, ridiculous claims, worthless appeals, bad courtroom behavior, unpaid fines, and general egregious misbehavior to get them to even think about forcing you to permanently leave them alone). Even if none of this happens, the case (and others like it) can be banned from itself ever being filed again, at least in both the US and Japanese court systems, if it is dismissed "with prejudice," which may or may not go as far as the judge calling it frivolous, but is a strong warning to the parties and lawyers involved that trying it or a similar case again ''will'' put them at risk of the more severe consequences such as contempt charges, disbarring for attorneys involved, and the like.
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In real life, actual frivolous lawsuits will be over long before they get near an actual jury. Repeated filing of frivolous lawsuits, frivolous claims, and frivolous motions will often be met with "contempt of court" charges; and attorneys have been disbarred for excessive frivolous filings (granted, it takes a ''long'' history of accepting worthless cases, making pointless and abusive appeals, and generally pissing everyone off to make them even consider it; bar associations are fairly reluctant to go that far and will ''never'' jump straight to disbarment before making use of letters of reprimand, sanctions, and suspensions first). Likewise, litigants known for repeatedly bringing them can be labeled by the courts as "vexatious" and enjoined from ever filing another without getting court approval first (like disbarment, you ''really'' have to fuck up before they'll even consider labeling you as vexatious due to a general reluctance to keep someone from having their day in court; it takes a whole lot of abusive, ridiculous claims, worthless appeals, bad courtroom behavior, unpaid fines, and general egregious misbehavior to get them to even think about forcing you to permanently leave them alone). Even if none of this happens, the case (and others like it) can be banned from itself ever being filed again, at least in both the US and Japanese court systems, if it is summarily dismissed with prejudice[[note]]Dismissal "with prejudice," prejudice" simply means that as a matter of law, what you say in your complaint can't actually be used as the basis of a lawsuit. This is the usual way in which many lawsuits end for entirely non-frivolous reasons: if you're trying out a legitimate but untested legal theory, or if it turns out that the defendants have a defense of which you were unaware or which you were aware but weren't counting on the judge buying so quickly, your case will be dismissed with prejudice and there's no shame in it.[[/note]] which may or may not go as far as the judge calling it frivolous, but is a strong warning to the parties and lawyers involved that trying it or a similar case again ''will'' put them at risk of the more severe consequences such as contempt charges, disbarring for attorneys involved, and the like.
9th Dec '15 2:16:55 PM MightyKombat
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* [[http://gawker.com/aunt-loses-lawsuit-against-12-year-old-nephew-who-alleg-1736319076 A woman sued her then 12-year-old nephew]] for $127,000 in October 2015 for jumping into her arms and hugging her at his eighth birthday party, which broke her wrist. She claimed that it made it hard to have a social life by not holding hors d'oeuvres plates, and hard to get around Manhattan. It took the jury less than half an hour to rule against the aunt. ** Actually, her suit (and a lot of other cases of people suing family members) [[AvertedTrope wasn't frivolous]]. A lot of homeowners insurance includes "liability coverage," meaning that anything you have to pay in damages will come out of your insurance (sometimes they'll even hire their own lawyers to litigate the case for you). She needed the money to pay for her medical expenses.
9th Dec '15 1:14:19 PM Berrenta
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Nearly forgot the circular link
Finally, yet another common lawsuit confused with the FrivolousLawsuit that may or may not be ''technically'' frivolous is the SLAPP -- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation]], used to censor or intimidate people into withdrawing truthful accusations/statements, not releasing proof of corruption/wrongdoing, or otherwise silencing people. The ChurchOfHappyology is ''absolutely notorious'' for this practice (to the point that almost all parodies of it include it), and it's often a favored tactic of the CorruptCorporateExecutive and the occasional celebrity caught in major wrongdoing, where it may overlap with the StreisandEffect.
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Finally, yet another common lawsuit confused with the FrivolousLawsuit Frivolous Lawsuit that may or may not be ''technically'' frivolous is the SLAPP -- [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation]], used to censor or intimidate people into withdrawing truthful accusations/statements, not releasing proof of corruption/wrongdoing, or otherwise silencing people. The ChurchOfHappyology is ''absolutely notorious'' for this practice (to the point that almost all parodies of it include it), and it's often a favored tactic of the CorruptCorporateExecutive and the occasional celebrity caught in major wrongdoing, where it may overlap with the StreisandEffect.
9th Dec '15 1:13:22 PM Berrenta
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IUEO trope
* ''Film/TheRoom'' director Tommy Wiseau made a laughingstock of himself when he threatened lawsuits to various negative video reviews of the film, claiming that their use of clips from the film violated copyright (the use of short excerpts for the purpose of criticism is protected by the Fair Use section of the U.S. Copyright Act and backed up by extensive court precedent). Most notably, among his targets were two videos on Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, whose massive fanbase put Wiseau on the end of an InternetCounterattack of epic proportions. They eventually got him to back down, and the reviews are now back up.
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* ''Film/TheRoom'' director Tommy Wiseau made a laughingstock of himself when he threatened lawsuits to various negative video reviews of the film, claiming that their use of clips from the film violated copyright (the use of short excerpts for the purpose of criticism is protected by the Fair Use section of the U.S. Copyright Act and backed up by extensive court precedent). Most notably, among his targets were two videos on Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, whose massive fanbase put Wiseau on the end of an InternetCounterattack a counterattack of epic proportions. They eventually got him to back down, and the reviews are now back up.
7th Dec '15 12:21:09 PM Berrenta
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** They did use it to take ''Literature/SpotsTheSpaceMarine'' off Amazon, but a few months later the e-book was reinstated after massive InternetBacklash. And the revelation that their trademark is only for gaming material.
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** They did use it to take ''Literature/SpotsTheSpaceMarine'' off Amazon, but a few months later the e-book was reinstated after massive InternetBacklash.backlash. And the revelation that their trademark is only for gaming material.

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