Following is my research report of actual case quotes/snippets that I found interesting (for some reason or another) while I was researching the Question: Can you be sanctioned for bringing a frivolous or otherwise improper Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions?
Answered: Yes and you don’t even need to provide the 21-day safe-harbor period! See Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 (c)(2)(“If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion”) and Minn.R.Civ.P. 11.03 (a)(“If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion the reasonable expenses and attorney fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion.”).
- A Rule 11 violation is a serious thing, and “an accusation of such wrongdoing is equally serious.” Draper & Kramer, Inc. v. Baskin-Robbins, Inc., 690 F. Supp. 728, 732 (N.D. Ill. 1988).
- The imposition of Rule 11 sanctions should not be imposed so as to “ ‘chill an attorney’s enthusiasm or creativity in pursuing factual or legal theories [.]’ ” Robinson Rubber Prod. Co., Inc. v. Hennepin County, Minn., 12 F. Supp. 2d 975, 981 (D. Minn. 1998).
- When a Rule 11 motion itself is not well grounded in fact or law, or is filed for an improper purpose, the court may sanction the moving party. Safe-Strap Co., Inc. v. Koala Corp., 270 F. Supp. 2d 407 (S.D.N.Y.2003).
- The Court may impose sanctions for a Rule 11 motion that was “not well-grounded in fact,” and was “filed solely as a litigation tactic,” having “the effect of unnecessarily confusing consideration of the real issues.” Judin v. U.S., 34 Fed. Cl. 483, 493 (Fed. Cl. 1995).
- “Counsel’s reliance on Gaiardo v. Ethyl Corp., 835 F.2d 479, 483 (3d Cir.1987) to rationalize his performance as a good faith effort to challenge existing law is to no avail. He did not even mention the Gordon case . . .” Borowski v. DePuy, a Div. of Boehringer Mannheim Co., 850 F.2d 297, 304-05 (7th Cir. 1988).
- “His conduct throughout the entire case demonstrated the “ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against [his] contention does not exist,” precisely the type of behavior that would justify imposing Rule 11 sanctions.” Id.
- “The district court was correct in sanctioning plaintiff, who should not be permitted to rely on the defendants to do the research either to make his case or expose its fallacies.” Id.
- “Rule 11 is not a toy. A lawyer who transgresses the rule abuses the special role our legal system has entrusted to him.” Draper & Kramer, Inc. v. Baskin-Robbins, Inc., 690 F. Supp. 728, 732 (N.D. Ill. 1988). “He can suffer severe financial sanctions and, if his misconduct persists, he can find himself before a disciplinary commission. See, e.g., Model Rule of Professional Responsibility 3.1 (“A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis for doing so that is not frivolous.”). In short, a Rule 11 violation is a serious thing, and an accusation of such wrongdoing is equally serious.” Id.