How to Respond to a Frivolous Lawsuit

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ve probably heard reports of at least one frivolous lawsuit in your lifetime. Some people today are quick to sue, even when a lawsuit is not warranted. If you have found yourself on the receiving end of a frivolous lawsuit and/or a litigious friend – you’re not the first. It has happened to many people before you. Although this may not bring you great comfort, just know that you are not alone, and you are not the first to be wrongfully sued.

If you have been sued for something that you ultimately didn’t do or aren’t responsible for, your first reaction may be to panic. Luckily, you can relax. It can be shocking and upsetting at first, especially if the plaintiff is (was?) a friend of yours. Once the initial shock wears off, you probably want to know what you should do.

First things first: It’s important for you to understand that if you’ve only been threatened with a lawsuit, the majority of these type of threats go unfounded and it’s likely that you will not end up being sued. If a lawsuit has been brought against you, it does not mean that you’re guilty of doing anything wrong.

What is a Litigious Person?

Litigious people react to situations that make them mad or upset by taking the offensive position. They are more likely to initiate lawsuits than the average person. Oftentimes, these people are found to be insecure and unsure of themselves. They may feel easily wronged or targeted. Conversely, some litigious people are full-grown versions of the bully that we all knew and avoided in elementary school.

As long as it remains simply a threat, you have nothing to worry about (legally), and the best advice would be to steer clear of this person indefinitely (if not permanently). However, if they have taken action and filed a lawsuit against you, it’s time for you to do something about it.

Again, remember to remain calm, especially if this is a lawsuit that you know developed out of frustration or desperation. Remind yourself that the person you’re dealing with is likely lonely and possibly deserves your sympathy. Make an attempt to settle out of court (if there is anything to settle); show this person that you regret any misunderstanding. That may be all it takes for them to drop the case.

What are my Options? I’ve Done Nothing Wrong!

On the other hand, if the person you’re dealing with is acting out in anger, aggression or vindication, it is probably a good idea to consult with a local attorney. If you know a NJ attorney who can give you some advice, ask to drop by his office one day soon for a consultation. Most NJ lawyers will give you a free one-time consultation.

If you don’t know any lawyers in New Jersey personally, perhaps a friend can refer you to an attorney they trust. Run the details of the lawsuit by the lawyer you decide to meet with. It is almost certain that you’ll be advised that this is a frivolous lawsuit. This means that it has no legal merit. Believe us when we say that no New Jersey court likes or caters to frivolous litigation.

Your attorney can help you get the case settled (with the help of mediation) or dismissed (via Motion to Dismiss). If the lawsuit truly has no legal basis, it will more than likely be dismissed by the court without the need for you to even file an Answer.

 

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