Rule 11, Specific Cases

Walker v. Norwest Corp.
  • ∏ sued defendant bank and officers for violation of fiduciary duty in regards to a minor’s trust fund.
  • In court on diversity, but also sued bank officers saying they were "South Dakota residents."
    • This is not complete diversity—lawyer mistaken thinking only needed minimal diversity?
    • Legal problem, not factual problem.
    • Burden on ∏ to say why in federal court. But in this case, ∏ doesn't even allege necessary facts to be in federal court. Thus not a proof issue.
    • Note 1: ∏ violated Rule 11(b)(2)’s requirement that "claims, defenses or other legal contentions" must be warranted by existing law (or extension, modification, etc.)
      • Must be non-frivolous arguments to change existing law.
      • Why is "horizontal" stare decisis in statutory interpretation stronger than Constitutional interpretation?
        • Because Congress can fix statutory interpretation as opposed to Constitutional interpretation.
    • Note 2a: Norwest did not fully comply with Rule 11(c)(1)(A)
      • Because did not file motion with court
      • And did not serve motion with other party.
    • Note 2b: See Rule 11(c)(1)(B), allowing court to impose sanctions on own initiative.
      • But court did not in this case require party to show cause why it did not violate.
Christian v. Mattel, Inc.
  • Mass-produced Barbie doll similar to “Claudine.” Copyright of Mattel 5 years before copyright on Claudine, and would have been found with minimal investigation.
  • In this instance, Rule 11 problem involved reckless factual assertion as opposed to a legal problem.
  • Rule 11 sanctions are only for issues regarding "pleadings, written motions, and other papers," not for discovery abuses, misstatements in oral presentations, etc.
  • "Inherent authority" of court to impose sanctions (outside of Rule 11) requires explicit finding of "bad faith."
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