Articles Posted in Sanctions

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This is not a legal malpractice case, but it is worth considering. The Fifth Circuit affirmed a $1000 sanction against two lawyers for the defendant who failed to disclose three audio recordings to the plaintiff. The lawyers were sanctioned because they certified that their initial Rule 26 disclosures were complete.

The case arose out of an alleged sexual assault at a private prison. The plaintiff sued and alleged that she had been assaulted by a prison employee. The lawyers representing the defendants obtained three audio tapes of recorded phone calls from the plaintiff to family members. The recordings could be construed to cast doubt on the plaintiff’s version of events.

At her deposition the lawyers for the defendants played the tapes and questioned plaintiff about them. Plaintiff then filed a motion for Rule 37 sanctions against the lawyers for failing to disclose the audio tapes. The district court sanctioned each lawyer $1000.

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IN RE MARRIAGE OF WIXOM AND WIXOM, Wash: Court of Appeals, 3rd Div. 2014 – Google Scholar.

This is an appeal from a divorce case in which a lawyer (Robert Caruso) and his client (Rick Wixom) were held jointly and severally liable for a $55,000 sanction award. The lawyer and client were sanctioned because, in the underlying custody litigation, they made false charges about Rick’s ex-wife Linda.

Here is where the lawyer made an error. He appealed the sanctions against himself and filed an appeal for his client, Rick Wixom. The court explains how the lawyer threw the client under the bus: