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Case Law Update: Civil Sanctions

Shales v. General Chauffeurs, Sales Drivers and Helpers Local Union No. 33 (No-07-3342) is a seventh circuit decision that found the district court did not err in granting defendant’s motion for sanctions under 28 USC sec. 1927 and directing plaintiff’s counsel to pay defendant’s $80,000 in attorney fees for filing frivolous complaint without conducting reasonable investigation. While plaintiff’s counsel argued that amount of sanction was improper in light of fact that he had only $2,000 available for payment of said sanction, Ct. found that, unlike sanction granted under Rule 11, ability to pay is not factor in any award under section 1927. This seventh circuit decision will have an effect on all plaintiff’s attorneys.