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A frivolous claim, often called a bad faith claim, refers to a lawsuit, motion or appeal that is intended to harass, delay or embarrass the opposition.

A claim is frivolous when the claim lacks any arguable basis either in law or in fact Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). That means, in a frivolous claim, either: “(1) "the 'factual contentions are clearly baseless,' such as when allegations are the product of delusion or fantasy;" or (2) "the claim is 'based on an indisputably meritless legal theory.'" Livingston v. Adirondack Beverage Co., 141 F.3d 434, 437 (2d Cir. 1998).

If a court decides a claim is frivolous, the court can dismiss the case, order the party which files the frivolous claim and the party’s attorney to pay any reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees incurred as a result of the frivolous claim. Check out this report to see the different remedies available in different jurisdictions.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]