Friday, October 24, 2008
Like Diamonds and Discarded Plastics: Second Circuit Refuses to De-Publish Sanctions Order After Parties Propose Settlement
Posted by Alan Childress
An interesting story is on Law360.com here (for full article, free trial reg. req'd -- or Download sanctions.doc). It is entitled A Blot on Careers: Sanctions Can Haunt Lawyers. In it, author Sara Stefanini reports on a decision this week by the Second Circuit, rejecting a motion by attorneys seeking to erase a sanctions order of over $64,000 in exchange for a settlement with the complaining party. Settlement was made on the condition that the Second Circuit vacate the sanctions and direct Westlaw, Lexis, and others to de-publish all record of the sanctions.
The court refused. Stefanini writes, "While it is not unusual for attorneys to ask that their names be removed from sanctions orders or appeal the actual decisions, attorneys found it interesting that the lawyers in this case had attempted to use the settlement to overturn the sanctions, as opposed to appealing the actual decision to punish them." Much of the article is about the extent to which public sanctions affect careers in the long run. One view quoted was our own Mike Frisch's:
The attempt to eliminate the sanctions from the Internet is understandable, but the appeals' court's response comes as no surprise, legal experts said.
“Obviously in the modern world where there's just a ton of easy access to sanctions decisions and they get on the Web quickly, so it can affect the reputation,” said Michael Frisch, an adjunct professor of law and ethics counsel to the Georgetown University Law Center. “But I think the Second Circuit was right in saying that they can't be telling LexisNexis and other publications to undo what has been done.”