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Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.


An answer or plea is called “frivolous” when it is clearly insufficient on its face, and does not controvert the material points of the opposite pleading, and is presumably interposed for mere purposes of delay or to embarrass the plaintiff. Ervin v. Lowery, 64 N. C. 321; Strong v. Sproul, 53 N. Y. 499; Gray v. Gidiere, 4 Strob. (S. C.)442; Peacock v. Williams (C. C.) 110 Fed. 910. A frivolous demurrer has been defined to lie one which is so clearly untenable, or its insufficiency so manifest upon a bare inspection of the pleadings, that its character may be determined without argument or research. Cottrill v. Cramer, 40 Wis. 558.Synonyms. The terms “frivolous” and “sham,” as applied to pleadings, do not mean the same thing. A sham plea is good on its face, but false in fact; it may, to all appearances, constitute a perfect defense, but is a pretence because false and because not pleaded in good faith. A frivolous plea may be perfectly true in its allegations, but yet is liable to be stricken out because totally insufficient in substance. Andreas v. Bandler(Sup.) 56 X. Y. Supp. 614; Brown v. Jenison, 1 Code R. N. S. (N. Y.) 157.

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