Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Appealability — Failure to Appeal Sanction in Name of Counsel Does Not Deprive Circuit of Jurisdiction Where Body of Notice Recites That Sanction Imposed on Counsel Is Appealed

Guckenberger v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13881 (2d Cir. July 9, 2012):

[W]e conclude that we have jurisdiction over the claim on appeal that the district court improperly sanctioned Guckenberger's counsel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 11. "Where an award of sanctions runs only against the attorney, the attorney is the party in interest and must appeal in his or her name." DeLuca v. Long Island Lighting Co., Inc., 862 F.2d 427, 429 (2d Cir. 1988). Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3, however, makes clear that "[a]n appeal must not be dismissed . . . for failure to name a party whose intent to appeal is otherwise clear from the notice." Fed. R. App. P. 3(c)(4).

Here, even though the notice of appeal does not specifically list Guckenberger's counsel as a party, counsel's intent to appeal from the district court's order sanctioning counsel is sufficiently clear, given that the notice of appeal specifies that the judgment from which an appeal was taken not only "dismiss[ed] plaintiff's complaint" but also "sanction[ed] plaintiff's counsel in the amount of $500." In this context, we believe that the notice of appeal makes clear that counsel intended to be a party to the appeal because counsel alone was the subject of the court's sanction and Guckenberger would have had no direct personal stake in the outcome of an appeal from the portion of the district court's order sanctioning counsel. Cf. Agee v. Paramount Commc'ns, Inc., 114 F.3d 395, 399 (2d Cir. 1997).

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