High court curtails meritless lawsuits

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 9th of June, 2020. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you’re along with us today. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down one opinion yesterday. It deals with a law called the Prison Litigation Reform Act. That law aims to staunch the flood of lawsuits prisoners file that turn out not to have legal merit.

The justices decided that when a prisoner files three meritless lawsuits, then he is barred from suing again without first paying the filing fee. Examples are lawsuits that are frivolous, malicious, or legally improper.

EICHER: Arthur Lomax is an inmate who argued that a judge dismissed one of his lawsuits “without prejudice.” That’s a legal term meaning you’re free to bring the matter back to court at a later date. 

He construed that to mean that a dismissal without prejudice ought not count as one of the three strikes against him.

But all nine justices disagreed and pointed out that the law makes no distinction between lawsuits dismissed with prejudice or without. So, Lomax loses.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) This May 4, 2020, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. 

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