Merit

“Merit,” in the legal sense, can almost be equated with “credibility” or “accuracy.”  It can be technically defined as “the substantive elements…[or] validity of a claim or defense.”  USLegal describes a case that has merit as “setting forth sufficient facts from which the court could find a valid claim of deprivation of a legal right.” A claim has merit if it has substance; it must be both plausible and based in legality.

Example Sentence

An independent investigation of the available facts immediately reveals it as being without merit.

Case Study

In an effort to reduce the number of frivolous malpractice suits, Grant decrees that anyone seeking to bring a claim against a medical professional must first establish that their case has merit by presenting the evidence before a panel, a medical professional, and/or a personal injury attorney.

Other Important Information

The merits of a case may be weighed privately in early neutral evaluations. In certain cases, insufficient evidence for conviction does not indicate that the case is without merit. When proceeding with a medical malpractice claim, the claimant is required to submit an affidavit of merit proving that they have reviewed their case with a health care provider and they have determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the claimant is a victim of malpractice. The affidavit must affirm that the prospective defendant acted negligently, that this negligence was a proximate cause of the claimant’s injury, and the reasons for coming to those conclusions. Alternately, the provider might present evidence of a finding of merit to a panel appointed in accordance with the Utah Governmental Immunity Act. That a claim has been found as without merit does not preclude an order to arbitration. “In civil actions, the court [may] award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing party if the court determines that the action or defense to the action was without merit and was not brought or asserted in good faith.”

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