Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc. announced that the National Chamber Litigation Center, the public policy legal arm of the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce have joined Pre-Paid in seeking attorney’s fees and expenses from plaintiffs’ counsel following an earlier court victory
On Nov. 12, 2004, in the Circuit Court of Wilkinson County, Mississippi, Pre-Paid filed a Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Expenses pursuant to the Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988 and Rule 11 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. Pre-Paid argues that no effort was made by plaintiffs’ counsel to determine the validity of their clients’ action, claim or defense before the lawsuit was asserted against Pre-Paid.
In the brief filed with the court, Pre-Paid asserts that plaintiffs’ counsel did not provide responses to discovery requests for more than two years after filing suit; that the responses actually provided were unverified and/or inaccurate and contrary to the plaintiffs’ own testimony; that the majority of plaintiffs were either dismissed or moved to other cases prior to trial; and when the remaining two plaintiffs went to trial, the jury found that none of the claims
had been proven and awarded no damages.
The National Chamber Litigation Center filed a request to file an Amicus Curiae brief in support of Pre-Paid’s motion. According to the Chamber’s brief, in the earlier lawsuit filed against Pre-Paid plaintiffs’, counsel utterly failed to make any reasonable inquiry about the basic facts before filing the Complaint.
In a motion filed last week in the Circuit Court of Wilkinson County seeking leave to file an Amicus Curiae brief, the NBCC stated frivolous lawsuits have a direct impact on the continued availability of affordable legal services in the African American community and “thereby affect substantial, legitimate, independent interests of the NBCC.”
“We are pleased to see the support of the U.S. Chamber and the National Black Chamber of Commerce on this critical issue for Pre-Paid, businesses and the African American community,” stated Pre-Paid Chairman and CEO Harland Stonecipher. “We believe it is time that plaintiffs’ attorneys be held accountable for the damaging financial and business impact that frivolous lawsuits can have on a business, and a community.”
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