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Chaplin v. DuPont Advance Fiber Systems

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. Confederate Southern Americans were told not to display the confederate flag anywhere on DuPont grounds where they worked and filed suit for discrimination

     


    Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to satisfy rule 11 an attorney must submit everything to the court for 1) proper purpose, 2) warranted under current law and not frivolous, and 3) based on factual evidence to support such claims.

     


    Facts. Employer DuPont issued a rule banning the display or any symbols on the DuPont grounds. The 6 plaintiffs all work for DuPont. They claim to be Confederate Southern Americans, all who have some sort of display of a confederate flag. One had it on his license plate, another on a hat, etc… Each one of these men where told by their supervisor to take down the symbols or to remove the symbols to not start trouble. Subsequently suit was filed against DuPont for discrimination.

     


    Issue. Whether this civil complaint satisfies the requirements of rule 11.

     


    Held. es and No. In order to satisfy the requirements of rule 11, all filings must have a proper purpose, be warranted under current law, and be based on factual evidence. If not, the court is free to sanction such attorney that filed the complaint or any filings with the court. Here three counts where charged against employer DuPont. One was a count for discrimination based on national origin, the second discrimination based on religion and the third based on race. The court found that there was no factual basis for discrimination based on religion or race. DuPont did not deny the men anything or prevent them from practicing their religion and there was no evidence that DuPont discrimination against the men for being Caucasian. For those two counts the court choose to bring sanctions in the amount of 10,000.00 However for the first count the court did believe the rule was satisfied. The purpose of filing this claim was to expand Title VII jurisprudence and to vindicate a group’s rights. While there was no case law to support a Confederate Southern American as a protected class, there was no case law to the contrary other than an unpublished opinion. Courts are not allowed to rely on unpublished opinions as a basis for sanctions. While the claimant admits his case is a long shot; however, it certainly had a purpose and was not unwarranted by current case law. This is why the court chooses not to impose sanctions on the first count. 

     


    Discussion. The purpose of rule 11 is to compensate the victims of violations from being sued frivolously. However the purpose of rule 11 is not to chill an attorneys enthusiasm but to merely bring forth suits in court that are not abusive in nature.

     



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