Chamber Joins Miss. Case against Frivolous Lawsuits Pre-Paid Legal Services Targeted Improperly

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Chamber Litigation Center – the public policy legal arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – filed an amicus brief in a Mississippi Circuit Court, supporting Pre-Paid Legal Services' motion to recover attorneys' fees and expenses following an earlier court victory.

"Efforts to end abusive lawsuits will not succeed until courts punish lawyers who file frivolous cases," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. "The case against Pre-Paid Legal Services is a clear example of the type of conduct that must be stopped in order for real reform to occur in Mississippi's legal system."

According to the Chamber's brief, in the earlier lawsuit filed against Pre-Paid Legal Services, plaintiffs' counsel utterly failed to make any reasonable inquiry about the basic facts before filing the Complaint in issue. They did not provide any responses to discovery requests until some two years after filing suit; the responses provided at that time were unverified and inaccurate; subsequent verified responses directly contradicted information provided in the original responses; the majority of plaintiffs were dismissed from the case before trial; and the only two cases that went to trial resulted in quick defense verdicts.

"Lower courts must impose sanctions against lawyers who abuse the court system," said Donohue. "Lawyers are not entitled to file frivolous cases with a hope of finding justification during discovery."

The Mississippi Supreme Court has specifically authorized lower courts to impose sanctions in cases involving mass-tort plaintiffs where complaints are filed without basic due diligence to ascertain whether each plaintiff has a viable claim, according to the Chamber's brief.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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