Reading the recent ruling on K-Beech vs Does 1-85, 3:11cv469-JAG (Eastern District of VA), the Judge mentions Rule 11 in the following:
Pursuant to Rule 1 l(cX3), die Court, therefore, will direct the plaintiff and its counsel to show cause why the conduct specifically described in this Memorandum Order has not violated Rule 11(b). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(3); Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b).
So what exactly is Rule 11(b)? I have copied what the wonderful Cornell University Law School Web site has to say on the matter. Basically the Judge is telling Plaintiff they have 10 days (from 5 Oct 11) to give him a good reason why they should not face sanctions for bringing such a frivolous case, misrepresentations of various facts, and for using the court to conduct a shake-down operation against all the Doe defendants.
I truly wonder what the Troll will have to say. I will be surprised if they file any type of response on this order. The judge did cite Rule 11(c)(3), so it appears he is telling the Troll he is considering monetary sanctions. Well I hope it goes beyond the a slap on the wrist. IMO the sanction should be at least the amount of settlement fees the Troll was trying to obtain – 85 John Does at $3000 = $255.000. That way other Trolls will see that this business model is no longer any easy win for them. Well I can hope.
Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s name — or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The paper must state the signer’s address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states otherwise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit. The court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the attorney’s or party’s attention.
(b) Representations to the Court.
By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper — whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it — an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.
(1) In General.
If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.
(2) Motion for Sanctions.
A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion.
(3) On the Court’s Initiative.
On its own, the court may order an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated Rule 11(b).
(4) Nature of a Sanction.
A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney’s fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.
(5) Limitations on Monetary Sanctions.
The court must not impose a monetary sanction:
(A) against a represented party for violating Rule 11(b)(2); or
(B) on its own, unless it issued the show-cause order under Rule 11(c)(3) before voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.
(6) Requirements for an Order.
An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.
(d) Inapplicability to Discovery.
This rule does not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under Rules 26 through 37.