Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's not frivolous if it's important to me!

GOP activists to sue over alleged double-counting in Senate race
A group of Republican activists announced today that they will file a lawsuit to eliminate alleged double-counting of votes in the U.S. Senate recount, and they invited Democrats and independents to join them in the interest of fairness.

Though the group acknowledged that it had few concrete examples of actual double-counting, its attorney said he believes there "could be hundreds" of double-counted votes.

Oh, goodness, where to begin? Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which has requirements designed to prevent the filing of lawsuits that have no factual support?
11.02 Representations to Court
By presenting to the court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,

* * *

(c) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(d) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.

How about Minn Stat. Section 549.211, which echoes the language in Rule 11 and requires that all attorneys acknowledge that they are subject to sanctions if the pleadings do not have have some basis in fact, not just speculation?

No, let's look at a better place, the Platform of the Republican Party of Minnesota, a long opponent of frivolous lawsuits!

Section 6 – Strengthening the Rule of Law
Republicans believe that our legal system has been subject to abuse in the form of frivolous lawsuits; excessive numbers of lawsuits; and lawsuits that are intended to advance a political agenda, rather than adjudicate real controversies. Therefore, we support:

C. Empowering juries to determine that a suit was without merit, and in such case requiring the plaintiff and his attorney to pay the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Frivolous being, it seems, in the eye of the beholder.

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