The American legal system is built around the idea that all sides should have adequate time and ability to be heard. The greatness of this system is that everyone can truly have their “day in court” if they really want it. The disadvantage, though, is that everyone can get their day in court even if they don’t necessarily deserve it.
The meritless lawsuit in America has an unusual sticking power because using the legal process to prove that it is indeed meritless is often time more expensive than merely paying such a lawsuit to go away. There are, however, several motions that can be filed early on in proceeding which are able to quickly dispose of certain kinds of meritless suits.
For example, the function of the demurrer (California Code of Civil Procedure 4310.10) is to test the legal sufficiency of the pleading. In ruling on a general demurrer, the court will consider the face of the pleading and facts of which it may take judicial notice. Thus, if a lawsuit on it’s face shows that it is legally without merit, then the pleading itself can be thrown out. This attack though only works when the lawsuit itself states that the alleged harm occurred beyond the statute of limitations, then the lawsuit may be attacked by a demurrer.
On the other hand, if a demurrer is successful most courts will allow the party in question to simply fix their pleadings (if possible). Thus, when improperly used, a demurrer may only serve delay the entire lawsuit. It is for this reason that the use of legal tools must be tempered with common sense to assure the best use of your time and money. The San Francisco bay area attorneys of Jones & Devoy make it a point to offer practical legal solutions whenever possible.