Rule 11 — Including Improper Plaintiff in Action for Purpose of Securing Venue Is a Sanctionable Improper Purpose

Grant v. Nat’l College for DUI Defense, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11456 (9th Cir. June 18, 2014):

Okorie Okorocha, an attorney representing plaintiff Deandra Grant, appeals pro se from the district court's order imposing sanctions on Okorocha under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review for an abuse of discretion, Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 405 (1990), and we affirm.

The district court did not abuse its discretion by sanctioning Okorocha under Rule 11 because the record supports the conclusion that Okorocha was not a proper plaintiff in his client's action and filed the amended pleading for the improper purpose  [*2] of maintaining venue in the district court. See Sneller v. City of Bainbridge Island, 606 F.3d 636, 638-39 (9th Cir. 2010) ("Rule 11 authorizes a court to impose a sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that brings a claim for an improper purpose or without support in law or evidence."); Hudson v. Moore Bus. Forms, Inc., 836 F.2d 1156, 1163 (9th Cir. 1987) (district court is entitled to broad discretion in setting the amount of a fee award).

We reject Okorocha's contention that the district court abused its discretion by awarding fees to defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(4) (sanction may include "an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation").

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