Beware of Frivolous Litigation
Thomas W. Hartmann
The Hartmann Law Firm LLC
TheHartmannLawFirm.com; [email protected]; 908 769 6888
The Law Prohibits Frivolous Litigation. New Jersey prohibits frivolous litigation by statute (N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1) and rule of procedure (Rule 1:4-8). In essence, a party can only bring or pursue litigation in good faith – and not to harass, cause delay or increase the cost of litigation.
It is Not Frivolous Because It is Against You. This does not mean that all litigation which is against you is “frivolous,” simply because you disagree with it, have good defenses or counterclaims or think the opposition is just trying to hurt you. If the other side has a viable claim that can be reasonably argued, even if it is not iron clad, this is likely not “frivolous litigation.”
What Must You Do? Also, if you believe the litigation is frivolous, you must notify the opposition in writing and give the party 28 days to withdraw the offending pleading. If the party does not withdraw the pleading, you file a motion to notify the court of your claim of frivolous litigation. This usually stays on hold until the Court resolves the matter in issue and gives a final judgment. Then, within 20 days, you can file for sanctions.
How Do Courts Handle This? You must prevail in the litigation to seek the sanctions, which may include the costs of litigation and reasonable attorney fees. Courts do not lightly impose these or any sanctions. They require strong proof that there was simply no valid basis for the claim filed.
For example, in the case of Tanner v. iPacesetters, New Jersey Law Division, LLC 12-3- 7704, (Bergen Cnty, August 2015) (Wilson, J.S.C.) (7 pp.), the Court granted sanctions, but only after it found “absolutely no basis to assert personal jurisdiction” over a particular defendant and that claims against another party were “baseless.”
Act Reasonably and in Good Faith. The key is that litigation must be raised in good faith, based on the belief that the party suing really has a valid claim to assert before the courts. If not, one risks not only losing the case and spending money in that effort – but one may have to pay for the other side to defend the matter.
The Hartmann Law Firm LLC can assist in these matters to insure your business and your assets are protected. Beyond this, we can help guide businesses through issues ahead of litigation or aggressively advocate in litigation and business disputes should the need arise.