Frivolous Cases

16 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009 Last revised: 15 Jun 2010

See all articles by Suja A. Thomas

Suja A. Thomas

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2009


The problem of frivolous cases is invoked in a variety of contexts. Although the term is used in the context of Rule 11, it is also used to justify many procedural and substantive changes to the law. For example, concern about frivolous cases is invoked to defend the use of procedural devices that limit litigants' access to courts, including summary judgment, motions to dismiss, heightened pleading, and caps, as well as to justify the narrowing of rights in substantive areas such as prisoner's cases and employment discrimination cases. This symposium essay argues for a different view of frivolous cases - a view that eschews the use of the term and instead proposes a new discussion of the relationship of cost to other rights, including the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.

Keywords: frivolous, jury trial, Seventh Amendment, trial, litigation, cost, Rule 11, summary judgment, motion to dismiss, caps, heightened pleading, prisoner, employment discrimination

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Suja A., Frivolous Cases (May 29, 2009). DePaul Law Review, Vol. 59, p. 633, 2010, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-36, Available at SSRN:

Suja A. Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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