The Green Firm: Shakedown Lawsuits Targeting Small and Mid-Size Business Owners

Shakedown Lawsuits that Target Small and Mid-Sized Business Owners

My name is Noah Green. I’m an attorney in specialized business litigation. I care deeply about the business community. I grew up in my dad’s shoe store. I’m a small business owner. Small and midsize business owners are my clients. These are the people I love. These are the backbone of our community. And I want to do everything I can to help them.

And in particular, what I want to talk about today is defending small and mid-sized businesses from what I call shakedown lawsuits. Shakedown lawsuit is when you think of a frivolous or ridiculous case. Those are the ones that get filed every day. They’re not really based on something bad happening to the plaintiff or the client, the person bringing a lawsuit.

They’re really just motivated by the attorney who filed the lawsuit or motivated by his or her desire to generate attorney’s fees without any real justification. And as you’ve seen them, they have the billboards on the side of the freeway. I don’t like these guys. They are bad lawyers. They bring a bad name to the legal community and they harm our business community.

And they filed dozens of these same cases every day. And that’s their business model. There’s two different ways to approach it, and they’re traditionally have been two different ways. The first way is to just quickly settle the case for as little as possible. And the plaintiffs lawyers, the guys that file these cases, they love it when the business owner just quits early and writes a quick check and saves themselves money.

I understand why a business owner might want to settle a case quickly. It is oftentimes the most cost-effective way to approach the lawsuit. I stand behind that. I understand that sometimes you have to do what you have to do. The other traditional way of dealing with these cases, and this tends to be the method usually used by a deep pocketed defendant or big business.

They hire a law firm, usually a big law firm, and they make the plaintiff work. They file motions. They drown them in paperwork and make work in the hopes that it discourages the plaintiff’s attorney, dismiss the case, and go away. That approach can work, but the downside is that it is expensive. What I tend to do in these cases, my practices that I get right to the point, I find out what the core of the plaintiffs facts are.

Their evidence. And then I sit back, and my client and I wait for trial. We dare the plaintiff to work up the case and go to trial. These lawyers don’t want to do it. They want to just get their quick check. They’re usually bad lawyers. They’re usually not good in the courtroom. And they just want to twist your arm and write them a check and go home.

But we don’t have to do it that way. We can dig in. Do what’s necessary to prepare the case, go to court and meet them there and dare to prove their case. That’s my recommendation and that’s my suggestion. That’s what I’ve been doing for my clients and that’s what I hope I can do for others.