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FRBP 9011 Signing of Papers; Representations to the Court; Sanctions; Verification and Copies of Papers (Judge Gargotta)

Baum et al v. Red (January 15, 2010)
Issue: Are sanctions warranted against Defendant and his counsel for making false statements to the Court when a Motion for Relief from Judgment was filed asserting that a State Court’s final judgment and order was based only on a negligence theory of liability and that Plaintiffs had dropped their claims for intentional wrongful death when in fact neither were found to be true?
Holding: Sanctions are warranted. As such, Defendant and his counsel are ordered, jointly and severally, to pay the costs of travel and lodging expended by both Plaintiffs’ counsel and to pay Plaintiffs’ counsel for attorney’s fees in connection with the filing of frivolous and vexatious pleadings with the Court that were filed to harass, humiliate, and injure Plaintiffs.

Equitable Investors of Texas, LLC v. Cothran (December 8, 2009)
Issue: Are two letters, which counsel attached to Response to Show Cause Order, sufficient compliance with 21 day notice “safe harbor” requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (which is incorporated into Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011)?
Holding: No. This Court finds that the letters to Plaintiffs’ counsel are not “substantial compliance,” let alone the strict requirement of formal service of the motion applicable in this Circuit. These letters do not equate to, nor substitute for, notice that the Defendants would seek Rule 9011 sanctions against the Plaintiffs if a particular pleading were not corrected or withdrawn within 21 days’ notice.

Norman v. Norman (March 3, 2009)
Issue: Should sanctions be imposed under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011 and/or as damages, in the form of attorneys’ fees and expenses being awarded, for the Defendant’s breach of contract under Texas law?
Holding: The Court finds that the Motions for Sanctions, to the extent based on Rule 9011, should be denied. Additionally, the Court finds, based on the parties’ intent, that Plaintiff has waived any claim for his attorneys’ fees and expenses as damages for the Defendant’s delay in signing the Settlement Agreement. For this reason, the Court finds that the Motion for Sanctions, to the extent it is based on a breach of contract, should be denied as well because the Plaintiff did not comply with the technical requirements of Rule 11.