A $20,000 Lesson

Attorneys have a duty to represent their clients to the best of their ability. However, some attorneys go too far.

Orly Taitz, an attorney in California, was sanctioned $20,000 by U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land for filing a motion for emergency stay in a frivolous lawsuit (the judge called it frivolous). It was an expensive lesson.

This got some additional publicity because the lawsuit questioned President Obama’s citizenship. But, the take-away should be: DON’T file frivolous lawsuits. Not only is it a waste of the client’s money and time, but the attorney can face disciplinary action and get a serious fine.

A lawsuit is frivolous, if the facts of the case don’t support a valid legal argument. I know lawyers are supposed to be able to argue anything, but, from one attorney to another, there comes a time when you should just avoid the temptation.

If you aren’t sure if something is ethical, check first! Local bar associations often have resources to help you make the right decision.

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