Frivolous Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Frivolous, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Frivolous?

(Adj) Frivolous is used to qualify a law suit initiated solely with the purpose to harass, embarrass or otherwise put in to difficulty a person or entity with a baseless motion, contest, issues which the plaintiff knows are wrong, facts not opposed by defended etc.

History and Meaning of Frivolous

The term "frivolous" is typically used in the context of a lawsuit or legal action. The term has its origins in the Latin word frivolus, which means "trifling" or "silly." When applied to a legal action, frivolous refers to a lawsuit that lacks any legal merit and is brought solely to harass or annoy the defendant. Such lawsuits waste the time and resources of the court and do not serve any legitimate purpose.

In general, a frivolous lawsuit is one that cannot be supported by the facts or the law, or one that has no chance of succeeding. The term is also used to describe legal tactics that are employed solely to delay or obstruct the legal process.

Examples of Frivolous

  1. A plaintiff files a lawsuit against their former employer for unfair dismissal, but the case is completely baseless and lacks any supporting evidence.
  2. A tenant threatens to take their landlord to court for failing to provide hot water, but the landlord is not actually in violation of any laws or rental agreements.
  3. A lawyer files a lawsuit on behalf of their client against a celebrity for defamation, but the statements in question are clearly protected by the First Amendment.
  4. A plaintiff brings a lawsuit against their neighbor because the neighbor's tree is blocking the plaintiff's view, but the tree is on the neighbor's property and the plaintiff has no legal claim to it.

Legal Terms Similar to Frivolous

  1. Vexatious - this term describes a litigant who repeatedly files meritless lawsuits or motions, often with the intention of harassing or burdening the opposing party.
  2. Malicious - this term refers to a legal action that is undertaken with the intent of causing harm or injury to the defendant, rather than seeking a legitimate legal remedy.
  3. Baseless - this term refers to a claim or argument that has no supporting evidence or legal precedent. Like frivolous, it is used to describe a lawsuit that lacks any legal merit.