We often hear that there are “too many frivolous lawsuits” burdening our court dockets. This is just overblown media hype; truly frivolous claims are prohibited under Ohio law, and are very rare. It is true that we are a litigious (sue-happy) society, but the courts should be able to adapt to a large volume of cases.
RC 2323.51 (effective 2001) prohibits frivolous conduct of any kind in the filing of a civil action. “Frivolous conduct” is defined in the statute as follows:
· Conduct that serves merely to harass or maliciously injure another party, or is for another improper purpose;
· Conduct that is not warranted under existing law, cannot be supported by a good faith argument for a change of existing law, or for the establishment of new law;
· Allegations that have no evidentiary support or are not likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.
So the next time someone tells you that we need to crack down on frivolous lawsuits, tell them we already did, about twenty years ago.
Jeffrey Beausay (February 2019)