What Can You Do About Frivolous Litigation in Massachusetts?

by | Jan 12, 2024 | Trial of Cases |

Massachusetts allows judges to discipline parties who file frivolous litigation. Judges can:

  • Dismiss the litigation
  • Order the party to pay additional fees and costs
  • Order the party to pay the other party’s costs

Judges may also enter orders that require the other party to give their complaints and motions to the judge for review before they can be filed. These are called gatekeeper orders.

The type of help you may be able to get depends on the case type and court department. Judges may enter some orders on their own, but you can also request orders. If you think you are experiencing frivolous litigation, you can ask for help from the court by filing a motion. You can’t file for help with frivolous litigation in a Boston Municipal Court or District Court under G. L. c. 231, § 6F.

Probate and Family Court

Here are some possible actions the judge can take in Probate and Family Court if they find that there is frivolous litigation against you:

  • Give you payment for what you spent on lawyer and legal fees and dismiss the frivolous claim or action under G. L. c. 231, § 6F.
  • File a gatekeeper order, or limiting order, to keep unnecessary complaints from being filed.

For attorneys

Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:07: Rules of Professional Conduct

  • Rule 3.1 Meritorious claims and contentions
    “A lawyer shall not bring, continue, or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous…”
  • Rule 3.4 Fairness to opposing party and counsel
    A lawyer shall not: “(d) in pretrial procedure, make a frivolous discovery request or fail to make reasonably diligent effort to comply with a legally proper discovery request by an opposing party; …”
  • Rule 4.4 Respect for rights of third persons

“In representing a client, a lawyer shall not: (1) use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, harass, delay, or burden a third person, …”

Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce or a paternity action, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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