Main Menu

Archive | Sanctions

Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988

I didn’t find any Internet articles on the Mississippi Litigation Accountability Act of 1988, so I am providing this information on Chapter 55 of Title 11 of the Mississippi Code, cited by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Obama for America in their answer to Orly Taitz’s first amended complaint in the case of Taitz v. Democrat Party of Mississippi in their request for fees and costs to be assessed against Taitz. Here’s the Act:

§ 11-55-1. Title
   This chapter may be cited as the "Litigation Accountability Act of 1988."

§ 11-55-3. Definitions
   The following words and phrases as used in this chapter have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
   (a) "Without substantial justification," when used with reference to any action, claim, defense or appeal, including without limitation any motion, means that it is frivolous, groundless in fact or in law, or vexatious, as determined by the court.
   (b) "Person" means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company or any other entity, including any governmental entity or unincorporated association of persons.
   (c) "Action" means a civil action that contains one or more claims for relief, defense or an appeal of such civil action. For the purposes of this chapter only, an "action" also means any separate count, claim, defense or request for relief contained in any such civil action.

§ 11-55-5. Assessment of attorney fees and costs against attorney or party for meritless action, claim or defense, unwarranted delay, or unnecessary proceedings
   (1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, in any civil action commenced or appealed in any court of record in this state, the court shall award, as part of its judgment and in addition to any other costs otherwise assessed, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs against any party or attorney if the court, upon the motion of any party or on its own motion, finds that an attorney or party brought an action, or asserted any claim or defense, that is without substantial justification, or that the action, or any claim or defense asserted, was interposed for delay or harassment, or if it finds that an attorney or party unnecessarily expanded the proceedings by other improper conduct including, but not limited to, abuse of discovery procedures available under the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) No attorney’s fees or costs shall be assessed if a voluntary dismissal is filed as to any action, claim or defense within a reasonable time after the attorney or party filing the action, claim or defense knows or reasonably should have known that it would not prevail on the action, claim or defense.
(3) When a court determines reasonable attorney’s fees or costs should be assessed, it shall assess the payment against the offending attorneys or parties, or both, and in its discretion may allocate the payment among them, as it determines most just, and may assess the full amount or any portion to any offending attorney or party.
(4) No party, except an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, who is appearing without an attorney shall be assessed attorney’s fees unless the court finds that the party clearly knew or reasonably should have known that such party’s action, claim or defense or any part of it was without substantial justification.

§ 11-55-9. Limitations of chapter
   Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent an attorney and his client from negotiating in private the actual fee which the client is to pay the client’s attorney. Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit the authority of the court to approve written stipulations filed with the court or oral stipulations in open court agreeing to no award of attorney’s fees or costs, or an award of attorney’s fees or costs in a manner different than that provided in this chapter.

§ 11-55-11. Application of chapter
   This chapter shall apply in all cases unless attorney’s fees are otherwise specifically provided by statute or court rule, in which case the provision allowing the greater award shall prevail.

§ 11-55-13. Severability
   If any section, paragraph, sentence, phrase or any part of this chapter shall be held invalid or unconstitutional, such holding shall not affect any other section, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or part of this chapter which is not in and of itself invalid or unconstitutional. Moreover, if the application of this chapter, or of any portion of it, to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect the application of this chapter to other persons or circumstances which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

§ 11-59-15. Application to pending actions
   This chapter applies to requests for discovery in cases pending on July 1, 2011.

I note an interesting provisions of the statute: the assessment of costs and fees need not be based on the entire action being frivolous. It can be applied to a claim or to a motion. In order for costs and fees to be assessed under the act, the Court must determine that the party reasonably should have known better, and the fact that Taitz is an attorney weighs heavily against her for this determination.

Birther appeal of the day

Let us not forget among the detritus1 of failed birther lawsuits, the one filed in Tennessee by John Dummett, the Liberty Legal Foundation (a group who usually works to protect the rights of children to wear Confederate Flags at school2). If not for the high bar for sanctions set by Orly Taitz and now Christopher-Earl : Strunk, we would be celebrating it as the leading example of the consequences of filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Plaintiffs appealed the decision in Liberty Legal Foundation v. National Democratic Party of the U.S.A. (sic) as to the order of the award of $10,565.23 for their filing a lawsuit that they should have know was frivolous for lack of standing (perhaps by having looked at 200 other failed lawsuits). They are not appealing the fact that they didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place, just the cash award, which only addresses a small portion of the costs of actually defending the suit ($69,932.50).

Featured following is the defense motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. I had never heard of a motion to dismiss an appeal before, but here one is and it is based on an argument that the appeal is technically defective (filed wrong) and because it was filed wrong, the Court of Appeals can’t hear it.

LLF – TN – Appeal – 2013-03-21 – Appellees Motion to Dismiss by Jack Ryan

1This is the first time I have ever used this word in a sentence.

2The local high school sports team mascot is the “Rebels.”

Strunk hit with staggering $177,000 legal sanction

I’m going to have this thing overturned and I’m not going to pay a dime.

The New York Daily News reports that the amount of legal sanctions to be imposed on persistent New York litigator Christopher-Earl : Strunk is $177,000, by far the largest birther penalty imposed to date. Strunk is also barred from suing a long list of individuals in the New York Court System.

Prior to this, the birther sanctions record was held by Orly Taitz at $20,000 and $4,000, and seconded by $10,565.23 against the Liberty Legal Foundation and a distant third by Linda Jordan at a reduced amount of $3,500.

Strunk, who lives on a modest retirement income from Social Security has, according to prior court filings, no assets of note.

Read more:

Strunk sanctions appeal: brief due today

Christopher-Earl: Strunk is a conspiracy theorist, and a passionate one whose beliefs have led him to take to the courts. In one particular case, Strunk v. NY State Board of Elections, he ran into trouble in the form of sanctions.

While federal defendants cannot recover legal fees in the cases they defend, state defendants and individuals may. We saw this with an award of almost $13,000 in Washington State of Jordan v. Reed (being appealed). However, with no less than 9 law firms defending an array of defendants from Boehner to Brzezinski to the Jesuits in the Strunk case, anticipated costs could far surpass anything in Jordan (I haven’t seen a number yet). The court also ordered that Strunk not be allowed to file more lawsuits in New York against a long list of defendants.

Today is the deadline for Strunk to file his brief in an appeal of the trial court’s decision and sanctions order. The documents in the case (below) have some high comedic moments as they romp over the conspiracy landscape, of which Manchurian Candidate Soebarkah (a.k.a. Barry Soetoro, Barack Hussein Obama II, and Steve Dunham) is just one small part.

Documents in Strunk V. NY SBOE:

Continue Reading →

Taitz appeals Orange County court sanctions, loses

Orly Taitz has appealed the imposition of $4,000 in sanctions against her for filing an abusive motion (one that was legally flawed) on Occidental College to produce documents regarding Barack Obama (documents which may or may not actually exist). The order by Judge Marginis details what was wrong with the motion and cited California law under which sanctions were issued.

Orly Taitz filed an appeal with California 4th Appellate District Division 3. Her appeal, according to the Court, is defective, both in form and in service. She applied to have the appeal reinstated, but that was defective too:

CA – Taitz v Occidental Sanctions Appeal – 2013-01-28 ORDER by Jack Ryan

Jordan docked $12,675 for filing frivolous appeal

How is it frivolous? Let me count the ways.

Washington State birther and litigant Linda Jordan has been assessed fees of nearly $13,000 for filling a frivolous appeal to a prior loss in court, where she alleged Obama was using a stolen social-security number. Jordan v. Reed was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and Judge Robertson suggested Jordan should have known better and that the case was brought for improper purposes:

… all the so-called evidence offered by plaintiff has been in the blogosphere for years, in one form or another, so too has all the law rejecting plaintiffs allegations. I can conceive of no reason why this lawsuit was brought, except to join the chorus of noise in that blogosphere. The case is dismissed.

Secretary of State Sam Reed submitted a Cost Bill for “statutory costs” to the Court in the amount of $200. That could have been the end of it, but…

The Court’s warning ignored, Jordan pressed on, filing notice of an appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court. The Secretary of State warned Jordan in a letter that if this frivolous appeal were not withdrawn by September 6, the Secretary of State would demand penalties provided by law. I love the quote from the letter: “This letter does not attempt to catalog all the ways in which your appeal is frivolous.” The Court subsequently denied the appeal and awarded costs to the State. The Washington State Attorney General filed particulars with the Court documenting expenses of $12,675.

The birther web sites are obscuring the details, leaving readers to believe that these costs were awarded against Jordan for bringing suit against Reed, when in fact they are for the appeal, not the initial suit, and after she had been duly warned.

According to the Linda Jordan Defense Fund web site, she has raised $435 towards her expense. Jordan is lucky that she hasn’t been prosecuted for illegal access to a federal database when she attempted to use E-Verify on President Obama’s social-security number.