Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Sanctions Denied Where Rule 11 Motion Served More Than a Year Before It Was Filed —Despite Absence of Time Limit in Rule, Perhaps Too Long a Delay in Filing

From Rural Water Dist. No. 4 v. City of Eudora, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50293 (D. Kan. June 16, 2009):

Plaintiff moves for Rule 11 sanctions against defendant City of Eudora, Kansas, arguing that defendant filed its counterclaim with no legitimate factual basis upon which to rely. Plaintiff claims that the defendant acted in bad faith in making the allegations contained in its counterclaim and failed to account for uncontroverted evidence in the record that rebuffed defendant's version of the events leading to this case. Additionally, plaintiff claims that defendant denied the allegations plaintiff made in its complaint without first making a reasonable inquiry into the validity of the charges outlined in paragraphs 8-11.


Defendant argues that sanctions are not appropriate because plaintiff failed to observe the procedures outlined in Rule 11. Specifically, defendant states that plaintiff neglected to give notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond. Rule 11 requires a moving party to file a notice of intent to move for Rule 11 sanctions. It also requires that the moving party give the opposition 21 days to withdraw or correct the offensive pleading. Defendant claims that although plaintiff gave it notice of the motion to file for sanctions on June 11, 2008, it did not file the motion for sanctions until the eve of trial, almost one year later. By that time, defendant had voluntarily dismissed the allegedly offending pleading and counterclaim. In the Court's view, defendant makes a valid point. Plaintiff waited almost a year after serving defendant with the notice to file for sanctions. And even though there is no outer limit to the amount of time that may be offered to an offending party to correct the pleadings, here, there can be no question that the offending pleading was voluntarily dismissed long before plaintiff asserted its position before the Court.

Moreover, upon review of the substance of plaintiff's allegations, the Court does not find that sanctions are warranted.

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