Friday, October 27, 2006
Posted by Alan Childress
The AELR blog reports on the Seventh Circuit's imposition, openly as a cautionary tale, of appellate sanctions for one Grand against lawyers (and naming them, I guess to invoke the shaming by a gemeinschaft of which Jeff is so fond) whose briefs failed to include a proper "statement of jurisdiction." Sanction power is a new toy, it seems, in that court (if you follow blogger "Bob Loblow"). I am as impatient with unethical lawyering as the next guy (well, the next guy is Mike, so I cede that high ground to him), or even incompetence. But sanctions for that? Sanctions may not legally require finding bad faith or unethic, but since that is how it is 'heard' in people's real lives, I think that judges should hesitate to invoke the power in situations where real people may be mislabeled by the public or legal community as "unethical." Just because judges can does not mean they should. C'mon, it's not as if the lawyers omitted the proper "statement of standard of review" which Rule 28(a)(9)(B) clearly requires! That'd warrant disbarment, or better yet permanent disbarment--no, double secret permanent disbarment.
P.S. The jurisdictional statement was not wholly missing. It named diversity of citizenship of the parties for being "citizens of different states." It did not name which states, as the local circuit rule -- but not FRAP! -- clearly requires. (The federal rule 28(a)(4)(A) only requires "stating relevant facts supporting jurisdiction.") The Reply brief, "compounding the error, states that the plaintiff's jurisdictional statement is complete and correct," apparently forgetting its zealous advocate's duty to piss all over the opponent for this nightmarish evil. So six people and a firm got sanctioned and the world sleeps better now. Read the per curiam...if you don't believe me. But I am not kidding about the standards of review.