It is tempting to assume that another party’s claim lacks merit, especially in a highly contentious dispute. However, a claim might have more strength than you might realize at first.
When a customer, vendor, partner or employee pursues litigation, a business must respond carefully. Do not assume that a lawsuit has no merit without qualified legal guidance. However, also avoid offering a quick settlement until you have clear insight.
How does the court decide whether a lawsuit is frivolous?
While courts sometimes qualify a lawsuit as frivolous or groundless, it is important to note that these terms have a specific legal meaning.
A court may determine that a lawsuit is frivolous when:
- There are no factual or reasonable grounds for the claim
- The plaintiff initiated the lawsuit as a tool to harass or divert the defendant
In Colorado, attorneys can face penalties for advocating for claims in bad faith. Therefore, attorneys are likely to only accept cases that they believe have merit. The court may also order the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s expenses related to the case.
Your attorney will be able to evaluate the strength of the claim against you. Regardless, preparation is critical to defending against the claim whether it has merit or otherwise.
Due diligence is essential
Making light of a claim that initially seems frivolous might not be the best option. Whenever litigation may be a possibility, treating the situation seriously can help you cover your bases for any potential outcome.
Even if you believe that a claim lacks merit, it is advisable to review the case with a trial lawyer. An attorney can gather evidence, build an argument to highlight flaws in the other party’s rationale and file for dismissal. If the court does not dismiss the case as a frivolous lawsuit, you will be well-positioned for the next steps.