In earlier Blog articles we discussed the difficulty in causing the Court to throw out meritless lawsuits before trial. Procedurally, the deck is stacked against the Defense when it comes to forcing the dismissal of meritless lawsuits. A Plaintiff can survive Demurrer merely by alleging facts, even improbable “facts” of dubious veracity. Motions for Summary Judgment are easy to defeat and hard for the moving party to win as a matter of law because defeating the motion requires only a slight controversy concerning key facts. These Motions, particularly Summary Judgment motions, are expensive to bring. So the question becomes: what can best be done to force the earliest feasible and successful conclusion to a meritless, frivolous, or extremely weak lawsuit.
Buffington Law Firm’s civil trial dispute attorneys have a strategy. Often the best way to conclude a lawsuit, especially a weak or meritless one, is to diligently and conspicuously prepare for trial. This is often the most cost-effective litigation strategy that offers the most “bang for the legal buck.” Buffington Law Firm’s trust, business, and real estate litigation attorneys believe that most times, when the other side and its attorneys see that we are plain and simple preparing carefully for trial, this leads to an earlier conclusion of the case — often by settlement at a relatively early stage. When the other side sees that we are preparing for trial in a no-nonsense manner, this often forces a party with a weak or meritless lawsuit to “get real.” Even if the plaintiff him or her self is unrealistic about the lawsuit, this often motivates the plaintiff’s attorney to make the plaintiff see reality. Lawyers do not like to lose lawsuits and often they will view a low-dollar settlement as a good way to escape from one. Further, legal costs are not confined to the defense — plaintiffs are usually paying their attorneys as well; not many trust, real estate, or business litigation cases are brought on a contingent fee basis. Even if it is, when a lawyer being paid on a contingent fee basis for a weak or frivolous lawsuit sees that our side is prepared to take the case to trial, that lawyer is faced with the prospect of working for a year on a case and very likely not getting paid for the work. Settlement becomes his or her only successful strategy.
A successful defense approach to settlement of a weak or meritless lawsuit may involve a settlement that is far less than the cost of successfully defending it. While, for example, bringing a Summary Judgment motion is certain to cost money and uncertain of outcome, a successful low-dollar settlement may cost less than such a motion and offers certainty and finality of outcome. Buffington Law Firm has successfully concluded many vexatious lawsuits by negotiating below-cost-of-defense settlements for our clients. Remember that even actual trial always carries with it some uncertainty of outcome.
Thus, preparing for trial is often the best approach to force an early conclusion of a plaintiff’s weak or frivolous lawsuit. The other benefit of this “prepare for trial” strategy is that if all else fails and we must go to trial, we are ready and all of the legal costs in the case have been focused upon trial preparation. This inevitably lowers the overall cost of defense for our clients.
If you are faced with a trust, real estate, or business dispute, Buffington Law Firm’s trial attorneys have decades of experience in successfully handling such disputes. We invite you to contact us for a free legal consultation. In this consultation you will speak directly with one of our experienced trial attorneys. Attorney-client privilege and complete confidentiality apply, and there is never any obligation.