§ 1927 Sanctions — Vicarious Liability of Law Firms

Section 1927 penalties may be imposed only on “any attorney or other person admitted to conduct cases in any court of the United States.” Law firms are not admitted to practice in the federal courts. Nonetheless, there is a split in the Circuits as to whether sanctions may be imposed on law firms pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927. See Medtronic Navigation Inc. v. BrainLAB Medizinishche Computersystems GmbH, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13483 (D. Colo. Feb. 12, 2008). (There is, in my opinion, no textual basis for this split or for imposing liability on law firms under the statute. See Joseph, Sanctions: The Federal Law of Litigation Abuse § 21(C)(2) (4th ed. 2008).) However, as Judge Matsch shows in Medtronic, even if § 1927 sanctions are unavailable, the Court may almost always achieve the same result by exercising its inherent power.

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