Thursday, July 10, 2014

Show me the money

Stop with the stupid litigation, already

In other news is a story about a woman who was hired as a live-in nanny who stopped working as a live-in nanny, claimed some cockamamie story about being disabled, got fired as a live-in nanny, won't leave the houseonly comes out of her room to eat and poop, filed a lawsuit against the family to oust them from their home, is filing another series of lawsuits based on elder abuse and wrongful termination.  Bottom line, didn't anyone do a background check on this crazy lady?!

Funny thing but this post isn't about the live-in nannys.  Nope, this diatribe is about a little known legal device called the fee waiver.  Did you know that if you can show that you don't make a lot of money that you can file law suit after stupid/baseless lawsuit for free simply by filing a fee waiver?  I suspect initially the concept of a fee waiver was a good thing - to help out poor people - but like all things born out of government largess, it has become a MAJOR headache for anyone facing a pro per litigant.  I mean, look at it - people file the fee waiver and then start to file an avalanche of litigation for free.  FOR FREE!  

You think this is funny?!  Imagine if you're on the receiving end of a lawsuit against someone who can file legal paper after legal paper for free and you are having to pay for litigation out of your pocket.  It's impossible to keep up.  You'd be bankrupt inside of a week and the other side can keep filing legal documents because they have a fee waiver.  It's freaking insane!

A while back, I was at a conference where a judge was speaking about the lack of funding of California courts.  I stood up and asked why, instead of having a 100% fee waiver, that people aren't required to at least pay something.  So, instead of a $450 filing fee, they pay $5 each time they want to file something.  Some money comes into the court coffers and people feel like they have some responsibility about not filing frivilous legal actions.  The judge shot me down without hesitation because, I suspect, the issue (in her mind) isn't about money - because the courts are flush with it - as it is about the redistribution of resources.

Sad, that people are allowed to get fee waivers at the drop of a hat and screw hard-working people out of their hard-fought monies.  Sadder is that the court system which was initially set up to help people is orchestrating the biggest screw over history has ever seen with the use of baseless litigation.