Sunday, September 25, 2016
MYRNA B. TAGAYUN AND ROBERT S. MANDELL v. AMERICHOICE OF NEW JERSEY, INC., ET AL. A-1628-13T1
MYRNA B. TAGAYUN AND ROBERT S. MANDELL v. AMERICHOICE OF NEW JERSEY, INC., ET AL.
A-1628-13T1 (NEWLY PUBLISHED)
In this matter the trial court awarded counsel fees against two pro se plaintiffs for the filing of two complaints, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1(a)(1) and Rule 1:4-8(a), which allow an award of counsel fees when a pleading filed by a non-prevailing party is frivolous. When the original complaint was dismissed by the court as lacking merit, the plaintiffs filed both a second complaint and an appeal. We concluded the award of counsel fees was appropriate for the filing of the second complaint, but not for the first complaint.
We explain the history of the frivolous pleading sanctions and the need to strictly construe the term "frivolous" to avoid litigants becoming afraid to access the courts because of a fear they may be sanctioned if they pursue a good faith, but misguided claim.