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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Basically, the loser of a civil case has to pay for the winner's legal fees. Any thoughts or comments?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:34 pm 
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Would it apply to the people who did not initiate the case? E.g. if someone is sued and loses, do they have to pay the winner's legal fees in addition to the fines they already likely have to pay? If so, that seems to be rather unbalanced...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:14 pm 
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marinadelayne wrote:
Would it apply to the people who did not initiate the case? E.g. if someone is sued and loses, do they have to pay the winner's legal fees in addition to the fines they already likely have to pay? If so, that seems to be rather unbalanced...

Most Western countries other than the United States have it both ways, but the proposal I've read about being floated in the US is only for plaintiffs - i.e., if a plaintiff brings a suit and loses, they'll have to pay all the legal fees. The intent is to significantly curtail frivolous litigation, which is great and something the English Rule probably does well [citation needed]. However, the disadvantage is that the rule may deter potential plaintiffs with legitimate claims from seeking remedy from the court if they think their case isn't strong enough.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:26 pm 
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But, those other countries also have LEI (Legal Expenses Insurance.) This allows legitimate claims to be made without the fear of losing and having to pay.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:05 pm 
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Alec The Thinker wrote:
But, those other countries also have LEI (Legal Expenses Insurance.) This allows legitimate claims to be made without the fear of losing and having to pay.


Then how does the English rule help deter frivolous cases if there is insurance?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:41 pm 
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Define Frivolous. Can you put into numbers how many suits are actually frivolous? And how many of those suits actually occur on the federal level?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:18 pm 
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The Invisible Hand wrote:
Alec The Thinker wrote:
But, those other countries also have LEI (Legal Expenses Insurance.) This allows legitimate claims to be made without the fear of losing and having to pay.


Then how does the English rule help deter frivolous cases if there is insurance?


Well, in Europe, the Insurance companies raise rates and charge differently depending on how frivolous they think the case is.

Rutgers University puts it better. "Litigation insurance protects the viability of strong cases while discouraging weak ones by denying coverage or charging higher rates. Insurance coverage spreads the cost of losing a good case across many legitimate claimants, while careful underwriting keeps poor cases from being filed."

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:21 pm 
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Voice of Reason wrote:
Define Frivolous. Can you put into numbers how many suits are actually frivolous? And how many of those suits actually occur on the federal level?


As for a definition: Try Wikipedia :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frivolous_litigation

There's a lot of evidence talking about how it's not just a statistical problem, it's also a principle. All of the cases that are frivolous are taking up the time that legitimate claims deserve. Therefor, decreasing justice. But as for how many, I think I've heard something like 10% of all Civil cases are frivolous.

As for the number of cases, here are the stats from the US courts Website. (This was for 2013) http://www.uscourts.gov/statistics-repo ... stics-2013

District Courts
Civil filings in the U.S. district courts is at 271,950.

Appellate Courts
Civil appeals are at 30,035.

So.... It's a fairly high number....

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:59 pm 
marinadelayne wrote:
Would it apply to the people who did not initiate the case? E.g. if someone is sued and loses, do they have to pay the winner's legal fees in addition to the fines they already likely have to pay? If so, that seems to be rather unbalanced...


Why is this necessarily unbalanced? I can think of several instances I've personally witnessed in the past few years where "legal fees" would probably dwarf the damages awarded. (Somebody totals your car and his insurance seriously undervalues it when they compensate you. A company reneges on a warranty and you have to pay for a repair. A company reneges on a contract, after you paid them.) It's simply not worth it in time/costs to sue somebody to recover one or two thousand dollars, even if your case is bullet-proof.

Having the "loser" pay when he is the plaintiff discourages frivolous lawsuits (and lessens their negative impact on the defendant). This guards against people being taken advantage of in the courtroom. Having the "loser" pay when he is the defendant lowers barriers (increases accessibility) for a plaintiff to make a legitimate lawsuit. This guards against people being taken advantage of outside the courtroom. Doesn't it say something about the state of our legal system, when preventing our legal system from causing injustice seems a bigger deal than helping our legal system fix injustice?


Of course the loser pay rule assumes that American law/jurisprudence is clear enough for there to be an objective winner and loser in any civil dispute. And that our judicial system will consistently/correctly identify the winners and losers. Both of which are questionable (which is a far bigger deal than who pays for legal fees).

/ends rant


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:12 pm 
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Caleb wrote:
Having the "loser" pay when he is the plaintiff discourages frivolous lawsuits (and lessens their negative impact on the defendant). This guards against people being taken advantage of in the courtroom. Having the "loser" pay when he is the defendant lowers barriers (increases accessibility) for a plaintiff to make a legitimate lawsuit. This guards against people being taken advantage of outside the courtroom. Doesn't it say something about the state of our legal system, when preventing our legal system from causing injustice seems a bigger deal than helping our legal system fix injustice?

What about disproportionate sentencing that is sure to result from people having to pay outrageous amounts for small civil disagreements once you factor in the legal costs from both sides in addition to whatever restitution the loser is already required to pay? It would seem that in many situations it would result in excessive punishment.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:07 pm 
Hammy wrote:
What about disproportionate sentencing that is sure to result from people having to pay outrageous amounts for small civil disagreements once you factor in the legal costs from both sides in addition to whatever restitution the loser is already required to pay? It would seem that in many situations it would result in excessive punishment.


Faced with that situation, the person in the wrong would probably settle out of court and make the problem right, rather than going to court and having to make the problem right + pay both sides' legal fees. And if the party in the wrong refuses to make it right, until the plaintiff goes through court to force them to do so, it is fair that they pay for all the trouble they caused (both the original problem and the unnecessary court case).

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