Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Headnote of the Week

This one is just kind of funny (to law dorks).  Non lawyers probably don't know Rule 11, which may diminish the humor.  Briefly, Rule 11(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states:

By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper — whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it — an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;

(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

Basically, an attorney is only supposed to file a law suit in good faith and on reasonable belief in the merits of the claim (bullshit slip and fall cases, anyone?).  Anyway, here is the headnote:

Rule 11's admonition that every lawyer do necessary work to find law before filing brief applies even to lawyers who have two varsity letters in a collision sport and who were presidents of their fraternities.  Chambers v. Am. Trans Air, Inc., 17 F.3d 998 (7th Cir. 1994)

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