United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS
GREGORY B. WORMUTH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on NMT Defendants' Motion
for Rule 11 Sanctions. Doc. 105. Defendants ask the
Court to impose sanctions on Plaintiff for misconduct in
filing his Motion for Leave to Amend Second Amended Complaint
(doc. 94). For the reasons that follow, the Court
finds that Plaintiff's conduct does not merit sanctions
under Rule 11, and therefore DENIES Defendants' Motion.
filed their Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions on April 11, 2019,
seeking sanctions of attorney's fees and costs related to
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Second Amended
Complaint (doc. 94). Doc. 105. Prior to
filing their sanctions motion, Defendants served the motion
on Plaintiff via email on March 20, 2019. Id. at 1.
Defendants then waited twenty-one days before filing as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2).
filed a response on April 25, 2019, in which he argued that
1) Defendants' sanctions motion was untimely because they
had already responded to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend, 2)
Defendants themselves should be sanctioned, and 3)
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend did not merit sanctions.
Doc. 113. Rather than presenting an independent
argument as to why the Motion to Amend did not merit
sanctions, Plaintiff “incorporate[d] by
reference” his Reply to his Motion to Amend (doc.
100) and his Objections to the PFRD on the Motion to
Amend (doc. 110), apparently believing that an
appropriate response to the Motion for Sanctions was
contained somewhere therein.
filed their reply on May 9, 2019. Doc. 119. The
Motion for Sanctions is now before the Court.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the court to
sanction any attorney, law firm, or party that has violated
the provisions of Rule 11(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c). The court
may impose sanctions sua sponte, “after notice
and a reasonably opportunity to respond, ” or upon
motion of a party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(1)-(2). “A motion
for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion
and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly
violates Rule 11(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2). Motions
for sanctions must be served under Rule 5, and may not be
filed or otherwise presented to the court if the challenged
filing is withdrawn or corrected within 21 days. Id.
attorney or unrepresented party is subject to sanctions for
violations of Rule 11(b). This rule states:
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 that person's knowledge, information,
and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the
(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[.]
Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b). Therefore, Rule 11 enables sanctions
against attorneys or unrepresented parties “who file
signed pleadings, motions or other papers in district court
which are not well grounded in fact, are not warranted by
existing law or a good faith argument for its extension, or
are filed for an improper purpose.” EnterpriseManagement Consultants, Inc. v. United States, 883
F.3d 890, 895 (10th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). The
standard of Rule 11 is one of “reasonableness under the
circumstances.” Burkhart ex rel. Meeks v. Kinsley
Bank, 804 F.2d 588, 589 (10th Cir. 1986) (citing Rule 11
Notes of Advisory Committee on 1983 amendments). District
courts have “broad ...