sanctions, frivolous lawsuits, New York State Courts, special committee


In October 1989, the New York State Bar Association created a Special Committee to Consider Sanctions for Frivolous Litigation in New York State Courts. The Committee was formed in response to a request by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the Association. That Section had studied the use of sanctions in the New York state courts. The primary focus of that study was Part 130 of the Uniform Rules for the New York State Trial Courts (Part 130), implemented on January 1, 1989, which permits the award of costs and the imposition of financial sanctions for frivolous conduct in civil litigation. The general objective of the Committee was to study and recommend appropriate means for addressing problems caused by abusive conduct in the courts of New York State. The Committee believes that in adopting Part 130, the New York State courts acted appropriately and took a significant step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the Committee recommends that Part 130 be modified in several significant ways. Most of the proposed revisions stem from the Committee's view that the focus of Part 130 should be on abusive conduct rather than on frivolous pleadings. The other major changes stem from the Committee's belief that the purpose of Part 130 should be deterrence, with fee-shifting the appropriate deterrent mechanism, rather than punitive sanctions.

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