In so many conversations about the potential for litigation,
some lawyer will explain to the concerned public or company officials that, in
effect, one can be sued for anything. Whether or not a plaintiff will prevail is an entirely different matter.
The problem is, if one is sued, one must defend oneself. If
the suit is truly frivolous, one might secure relief from the courts in the
form of summary judgment or swift dismissal. One might even secure attorneys’ fees
or punitive damages. However, these options are not always available, and
governments, because they recognize that the litigants often are members of the
community too, are loath to be too aggressive in this regard.
Taxpayers pick up the tab when a city, county or special
district is sued. There’s no such thing as ‘the city’s money’; it essentially
comes from us, the residents, businesses, and visitors. When a city, county or
special district must defend itself in court, we are the ones who pay.