Many readers of this blog might perhaps be familiar with the term “frivolous litigation,” which denotes the idea that a petitioner before a court has not brought a claim worthy of merit that should command the court’s attention and energies.
Sometimes the term “bad faith” is added as a tandem phrase. Often an opposing party in a lawsuit will employ such terms in hopes of downplaying or defeating a claim.
Courts of course will consider such a charge, with one central and threshold duty of a judge being to determine whether a legal matter is properly before the court. Most legal filings qualify and move forward.
Some are in fact deemed to lack merit and never get through the courthouse door. And, in a few select cases, a Florida judge or his peer in another jurisdiction will take true exception to the filing of a lawsuit, finding that, indeed, it was commenced in bad faith.
In such an instance, judges are often justifiably piqued, since such sham litigation wastes time, energy and money, and also delays justice for other litigants with good-faith cases.
Pamela Smith recently found that out. Smith was the woman who filed a motion with an Atlanta court demanding that basketball legend Michael Jordan take a paternity test and pay child support for her teenage son, who she said was fathered by Jordan.
In fact, Smith knew that wasn’t true when she filed her motion, given that a paternity test taken years before had confirmed her ex-spouse as the boy’s father. She eventually withdrew her suit after filing it.
The judge in Smith’s case was far from amused by Smith’s antics, viewing her actions as “one big publicity stunt.”
Her faulty decision making will now cost her, since the court recently sanctioned her by ordering that she pay Jordan’s legal fees that he had to expend in defending himself against a false claim.
Smith is now on the hook for nearly $10,000.
Source: Huffington Post, “Michael Jordan paternity suit: Pamela Smith ordered to pay NBA legend’s legal fees,” Aug. 5, 2013