How to Handle a Frivolous Lawsuit
Dealing with a frivolous lawsuit is never fun for anyone involved. When your client gets slammed with a frivolous lawsuit, you need to know how to protect them, their employees, and the reputation of their company. People often forget that what they’re really dealing with is the court of public opinion above anything else. Public opinion is pure sensationalism and the accusers don’t care about the accuracy of their statements because they know the media will just run with it. No matter how frivolous the lawsuit really is, you are now at the mercy of the public.
Instead of the media controlling your client’s reputation, YOU need to handle the situation.
Here are three key steps you need to take.
The first thing you want to do is make sure your client doesn’t go into hiding. When clients get hit with an accusation, they tend to want to put everything on the back-burner and shut down all communication. This is a big DON’T.
It’s important to have a solid communications plan in place to discuss with key stakeholders so your client doesn’t go into hiding and is able to go about business as usual. Remind your client that the lawyers are there to worry about the lawsuit and they can continue to drive the business operations.
Next, make sure your client does not overreact. A business could hear the slightest bit of negative attention and go into full-on defense with Facebook comments that create your client’s response, which can draw more unwanted attention to the situation.
An example of this is when Domino’s launched an advertising campaign back in 2009. Their commercials started out by acknowledging customer complaints about their pizza, and responded by changing their pizza recipe. As a kid in the army, Domino’s was always my go-to pizza place and I never had any complaints, but their commercials put that negative attention about them in my head. They jumped on this negative attention way too soon and instead informed all their customers how unhappy people were with their product.
Lastly, make sure your client is communicating with their employees. Although customers are an important audience you want to communicate with, your employees are just as important. Consider having a lawyer come in and go over the lawsuit to ensure employees everything will be fine and business can run as usual. You have to be transparent with these situations and not just assume that your employees understand what’s going on. Since employees don’t often deal with lawsuits, this can be a terrifying time for them. You need to make sure they’re taken care of before you start dealing with the public.
Following these steps will help your client come out on top with their employees and keep their reputation intact. Taking these steps have helped us effectively handle the court of public opinion with several lawsuits, and I hope they will help you too.
Check out Brian J. Stephen’s video on this topic and so much more by clicking here.