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Quarrie v. Wells

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

June 4, 2019

LINDSAY O'BRIEN QUARRIE, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN WELLS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

          GREGORY B. WORMUTH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions Under Rule 11 Against NMT Defendants' Counsel. Doc. 118. Having read the motion and the attendant briefing (docs. 126, 135), and being otherwise fully advised, the Court hereby DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.

         I. Background

         Twenty-one days prior to filing his Motion for Sanctions, Plaintiff served it on Defendants via email on April 10, 2019, as required by Rule 11(c)(2). Doc. 118 at 2. In response to Plaintiff's email, and before the Motion for Sanctions was filed, Defendants entered a Notice of Errata on April 11, 2019 stating the following:

Defendants…respectfully inform the Court of an error contained in the NMT Defendants' Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 99). On page 3, the Response reads, “[i]n fact, Plaintiff's Motion for Leave and TAC does not even acknowledge that his claim for Malicious and Conspiratorial Deprivation of Financial Property Right was dismissed (Count IV in SAC and Count VI in proposed TAC). See Motion for Leave, p. 2.” The NMT Defendants omit this sentence from its Response as it was based upon a misreading of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave.

Doc. 106.

         Plaintiff filed his Motion for Sanctions on May 6, 2019, requesting that the Court sanction Defendants for making “several factually false statements” in their response to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. Doc. 118. Defendants responded on May 20, 2019. Doc. 126. Plaintiff filed his reply on June 3, 2019. Doc. 135. The Motion for Sanctions is now before the Court.

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 11 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 reasonable 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.

         An 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 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 ...

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