Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rule 11 Sanctions Imposed Upon Counsel Where Counsel Took Responsibility for Conducting Pre-Filing Investigation

The magistrate judge recommended that Rule 11 sanctions be imposed only against plaintiff's counsel and not against plaintiff. "[A]s a matter of law, any monetary sanctions arising from [plaintiff's] frivolous patent law claims can only be imposed on [plaintiff's] attorneys, and not on [plaintiff] itself. . . . In contrast to the frivolous legal claims, [plaintiff] and its counsel could potentially share the responsibility for failing to conduct an adequate pre-filing investigation. . . . [T]he record does not suggest that [plaintiff] was responsible for the inadequacies in the pre-filing investigation in this case. [Plaintiff] claims that it relied on the advice of counsel in deciding to bring suit, and counsel for [plaintiff] appear to take responsibility for conducting a pre-filing investigation into the patent-infringement claims. . . . I see no sanctionable conduct by [plaintiff] for following the legal advice of counsel in regards to the pre-filing investigation."

Source Vagabond Systems, Ltd. v. Hydrapak, Inc., 1-11-cv-05379 (NYSD January 11, 2013, Order) (Cott, M.J.).

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