Monday, November 28, 2016

“Long-Shot” Motion for Attorney Fees Does Not Warrant Rule 11 Sanctions After Octane​

The court denied plaintiff's motion for Rule 11 sanctions for defendant's unsuccessful motion for attorney fees. "[Defendant's] section 285 motion was quite light on support. However, the court finds an award of attorneys’ fees to [plaintiff] as a sanction inappropriate for the following reasons. First, after [Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014)], long-shot section 285 motions appear to be quite common. It would be difficult to sanction [defense] counsel for following the well-trodden road of seeking to extend the law under Octane’s somewhat amorphous equitable factors. Second . . . [plaintiff's] decision to not serve a Rule 11 letter to [defendant] before trial somewhat undermines its persuasiveness as to the section 285 motion because it causes the Rule 11 motion to verge on appearing 'simply an effort to extract some measure of revenge.'. . . It is not plain that awarding [plaintiff] attorneys’ fees would more efficiently deter frivolous section 285 motions better than the attorneys’ fees that [defendant] itself incurred on briefing a fruitless section 285 motion and opposing the Rule 11 motion."

Hach Company v. In-Situ, Inc., 1-13-cv-02201 (COD November 22, 2016, Order) (Shaffer, MJ)

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