Frivolous lawsuits are the last thing any small business wants to deal with. Unfortunately, any owner can be susceptible to them – and it can be a big headache for everyone involved. It just goes to show that no matter how strategic and careful an organization is, it can still be subject to petty litigation.
Luckily, most frivolous litigation cases are empty threats. The people filing suit are often dissatisfied customers acting like yard bullies who are just looking to pick a fight. However, that doesn’t mean they will not win the case.
Handling these lawsuits
When a small business owner is charged with a frivolous suit, there are strategies for dealing with the situation appropriately:
- Remain calm: If a small business owner is served, courts understand that some people try to abuse the system and may not even take on the case at all.
- Be civil: The person filing suit may try to simply get a reaction so it’s best not to push back and give them the reaction they want.
- Dismiss the motion: If the plaintiff’s claim has no legal or factual merit, the business can file a motion to dismiss. Those who wait or miss deadlines to do so could face additional expense, so it is best not to wait. However, it is best to do this sooner rather than later as default costs can be expensive.
- Pursue Vexatious Litigants: If a business has been put through multiple lawsuits by the same person or entity, they can be labeled as a “Vexatious Litigant” by the state of California. This label would require the person or entity to get a judge’s approval before filing more lawsuits against the business.
- Take these suits seriously: It may seem ridiculous or a waste of time for business owners to address these matters, but it is a mistake to assume being in the right means the dispute will go away on its own.
These types of lawsuits are commonplace
Frivolous lawsuits are quite common and often result in wasted time, unnecessary legal expenses for those involved and can be a distraction to owners and employees. In many cases, small business can file a counterclaim against the original plaintiff for abuse of process or fraud.