Frivolous Lawsuits: Getting Paid

Frivolous lawsuits: getting paid

You’ve been sued…and you have no idea why. There’s been some sort of mix-up: either they didn’t give you credit for your last payment, or they have the wrong person. Luckily, you’ve saved all of your receipts, and you’ve got solid evidence that the lawsuit has no basis. You contact the party who initiated the lawsuit and even send the party your documentation, but the party won’t back down. The lawsuit is still there, and the legal world is complicated. Oh, you could probably defend the lawsuit on your own, but we’re talking big-time consequences if you mess up. So you make the prudent decision and hire me to help.

Count your blessings

I charge you a (very) reasonable rate for my services, but you are still out-of-pocket through no fault of your own. How is that fair? How is it fair that someone can sue you with no basis and yet you have to spend money? You should first count your blessings that you live in Indiana. In some states, you have to pay the court to respond to a lawsuit. That isn’t the case in Indiana, but you do have to (or at least should) pay for an attorney.

The “American Rule” and its exceptions

Unfortunately, the so-called “American Rule” is that each person pays her attorney fees regardless of how the lawsuit turns out. This isn’t always the case; for example, it can be modified by agreement (most leases have provisions regarding attorney fees in, say, the event of an eviction or damage to the premises). And, luckily for you, Indiana has a statute that can do away with the American Rule in your situation, too. Ind. Code § 34-52-1-1(b) essentially states that if a party brings a claim or continues a claim that is clearly frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless, the defendant can recover costs (generally, money paid to the court) and attorney fees.

Justice restored

So you hire me to defend the lawsuit. I do my thing. You (hopefully; there are rarely any guarantees) win. And you get a judgment against the other party for the fees that you paid me. Justice is restored to the world. In all seriousness, these matters are complex, and they are exactly the reason you should turn to me for help. I’ll do my best to get you everything you are entitled to, even if that includes the very fee that you paid me.

–Joel Dendiu