New Tennessee law targets 'stalking by way of the courts'

Advocates for domestic violence victims are praising a new Tennessee law that seeks to stop an often-used tactic that batterers use after their victims have fled to safety: filing frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt or inflict more harm on the people they have already abused.

Those who work with battered women say forcing victims to spend money on lawyers and show up to fight multiple frivolous legal challenges is common. In fact, there's even a term some use for it: Stalking by way of the courts.

The law signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in May would allow a judge to bar someone from filing abusive lawsuits intended to financially or otherwise harm someone for at least four years.

The law takes effect in July.