The idea that some folks may use frivolous lawsuits to harass you can be infuriating. It's important to do more than get mad, though. You need to understand what the available tools are to stop frivolous lawsuits. Here are five of your biggest weapons.
Not Humoring Anyone Who Hasn't Filed a Serious Suit
Lots of folks love to talk a big game about suing individuals and organizations. That's not the same as pursuing a lawsuit. If the other party refuses to go ahead with lawsuit threats, you shouldn't treat them as serious. It costs money to file a suit, and frankly, the willingness to put up filing fees to start a suit is the measure of a person's intent. As long as they don't have the spine to move forward with a lawsuit, don't waste your mental or emotional energy on them.
Okay, you've run into someone interested in filing a suit. Now it's time to think about how to stop the thing in its tracks. The first order of business is to find a lawyer who focuses on ways to stop abusive lawsuits.
Handle the Simple Things Well
If the other party is suing you, then they'll have to send you some form of paperwork. You want to make copies of all of it and save the originals in a secure location.
Especially with an abusive litigant, it's a good idea to start a file just for them. It can be helpful down the road if you need to show a court that a litigant has a pattern of abuse.
Respond to Court Requests
Even when people are trying to stop frivolous lawsuits, they have to respond to requests from the court. You should have retained counsel by this point so share all court paperwork with your attorney. A lawyer will provide an itemized response to the court's requests and indicate their belief the litigation is abusive.
Move to Dismiss
A judge will schedule an initial hearing to figure out whether there's a case worth pursuing. This is your best opportunity to stop a frivolous case if the defendant hasn't already quit.
You have every right to move for the court to dismiss the case. Your attorney will show the judge the evidence of any harassing behavior. Likewise, they'll provide a legal argument for why the case is bunk. The judge will then determine if the case is valid. If the judge decides it is frivolous, the court will dismiss the case with prejudice. This means the plaintiff won't be able to file it again.