Letter to the Editor: Dismissing Meritless Cases

Wall St. Journal
Friday, July 20, 2007

In regard to Jim Lewis's response to my July 7 letter ("Contingency Fee Cases Often Have No Merit1," July 11): The U.S. judicial system has a means of dealing with cases filed without merit -- they are quickly dismissed through a simple motion. It is quite misleading to state that cases without merit are settled due to the costs of defending them. A great majority of cases are settled prior to trial and both sides avail themselves of the settlement option, but these are usually cases that have survived a motion to dismiss and are moving through the stages of discovery or legal fact-finding. In other words, these cases have some merit.
In your scenario, public entities -- and perhaps all plaintiffs, public and private -- could only file lawsuits that they are absolutely sure to win. This forecloses just about all civil-rights and environmental cases, as well as any case where a less powerful or less well-funded entity wants to challenge a powerful entity.
Amy Widman
Policy Analyst
Center for Justice & Democracy
New York City

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us