Brief Fact Summary.
3 attorneys are FRCP 11 sanctioned for a misrepresentation they included in a motion.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
It is not necessary for the attorney to act in bad faith to be FRCP 11 sanctioned.
Rule 11 prohibits filings made with any improper purpose, the offering of frivolous arguments, and the assertion of factual allegations without evidentiary support or the likely prospect of such support.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff Young brought a §1983 suit against Defendant City of Providence for the shooting death of her son by Providence police officers. She was represented by Barry Scheck and Nicholas Brustin, New York attorneys admitted to practice in Rhode Island pro hac vice and by Robert Mann, admitted to practice in Rhode Island who was acting as local counsel. The parties argued over a diagram that Plaintiff’s attorneys wanted to use, and Plaintiff’s attorneys finally agreed to Defendant City’s proposition that part of the diagram was inaccurate. During trial, Plaintiff’s attorneys realized that the diagram was entirely incorrect, so a young associate at Scheck’s firm drafted a memorandum requesting the judge to release Plaintiff Young from the stipulation. The memo alleged that the court required Plaintiff Young to agree to the Defendant City’s stipulation, which the judge read as a misrepresentation. Although Young’s attorneys did not act in bad faith and attempted to explain that they did not mean to suggest that they were forced to accept the stipulation, the judge nonetheless stripped Scheck and Brustin of their pro hac vice admissions and sanctioned them under FRCP 11. The judge also found that Mann violated FRCP 11 but did not sanction him.
When the court initiated a FRCP 11 investigation must there be bad faith?
No, when the court initiated a FRCP 11 inquiry there need not be bad faith involved. Violations set aside, admonition and sanction are vacated, and the pro hac vice status of Scheck and Brustin are restored.