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Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988

I didn’t find any Internet articles on the Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988, so I am providing this information on Chapter 55 of Title 11 of the Mississippi Code, cited by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Obama for America in their answer to Orly Taitz’s first amended complaint in the case of Taitz v. Democrat Party of Mississippi in their request for fees and costs to be assessed against Taitz. Here’s the Act:

§ 11-55-1. Title
   This chapter may be cited as the "Litigation Accountability Act of 1988."

§ 11-55-3. Definitions
   The following words and phrases as used in this chapter have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
   (a) "Without substantial justification," when used with reference to any action, claim, defense or appeal, including without limitation any motion, means that it is frivolous, groundless in fact or in law, or vexatious, as determined by the court.
   (b) "Person" means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company or any other entity, including any governmental entity or unincorporated association of persons.
   (c) "Action" means a civil action that contains one or more claims for relief, defense or an appeal of such civil action. For the purposes of this chapter only, an "action" also means any separate count, claim, defense or request for relief contained in any such civil action.

§ 11-55-5. Assessment of attorney fees and costs against attorney or party for meritless action, claim or defense, unwarranted delay, or unnecessary proceedings
   (1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, in any civil action commenced or appealed in any court of record in this state, the court shall award, as part of its judgment and in addition to any other costs otherwise assessed, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs against any party or attorney if the court, upon the motion of any party or on its own motion, finds that an attorney or party brought an action, or asserted any claim or defense, that is without substantial justification, or that the action, or any claim or defense asserted, was interposed for delay or harassment, or if it finds that an attorney or party unnecessarily expanded the proceedings by other improper conduct including, but not limited to, abuse of discovery procedures available under the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) No attorney’s fees or costs shall be assessed if a voluntary dismissal is filed as to any action, claim or defense within a reasonable time after the attorney or party filing the action, claim or defense knows or reasonably should have known that it would not prevail on the action, claim or defense.
(3) When a court determines reasonable attorney’s fees or costs should be assessed, it shall assess the payment against the offending attorneys or parties, or both, and in its discretion may allocate the payment among them, as it determines most just, and may assess the full amount or any portion to any offending attorney or party.
(4) No party, except an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, who is appearing without an attorney shall be assessed attorney’s fees unless the court finds that the party clearly knew or reasonably should have known that such party’s action, claim or defense or any part of it was without substantial justification.

§ 11-55-9. Limitations of chapter
   Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent an attorney and his client from negotiating in private the actual fee which the client is to pay the client’s attorney. Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit the authority of the court to approve written stipulations filed with the court or oral stipulations in open court agreeing to no award of attorney’s fees or costs, or an award of attorney’s fees or costs in a manner different than that provided in this chapter.

§ 11-55-11. Application of chapter
   This chapter shall apply in all cases unless attorney’s fees are otherwise specifically provided by statute or court rule, in which case the provision allowing the greater award shall prevail.

§ 11-55-13. Severability
   If any section, paragraph, sentence, phrase or any part of this chapter shall be held invalid or unconstitutional, such holding shall not affect any other section, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or part of this chapter which is not in and of itself invalid or unconstitutional. Moreover, if the application of this chapter, or of any portion of it, to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect the application of this chapter to other persons or circumstances which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

§ 11-59-15. Application to pending actions
   This chapter applies to requests for discovery in cases pending on July 1, 2011.

I note an interesting provisions of the statute: the assessment of costs and fees need not be based on the entire action being frivolous. It can be applied to a claim or to a motion. In order for costs and fees to be assessed under the act, the Court must determine that the party reasonably should have known better, and the fact that Taitz is an attorney weighs heavily against her for this determination.

4 Responses to Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    Ironically, I got to this legislation through the Defendant’s web site:

    http://www.sos.ms.gov/education_and_publications_mscode.aspx

  2. avatar
    JPotter January 21, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Hmmm. “Should have known better”. Is a psych eval imminent? Heh.

    It would be hilarious if anti-frivolous lawsuit litgation, a subset of “tort reform”, a favorite cause of business interests and wingnuts, comes back to bite Taitz in the butt.

  3. avatar
    Bob January 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    The Defendants should offer her a one-last-chance settlement of $50,000.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    I don’t think they want to settle. The previous offer was just pro forma.

    Bob: The Defendants should offer her a one-last-chance settlement of $50,000.