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Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 imposes a nondelegable duty upon the signing attorney to conduct his own independent analysis of the facts and law that form the basis of a pleading or motion.
James R. Malone, Jr., an attorney, having a case, but no client, called a former client who agreed that the attorney could file a class action suit on his behalf. The lawsuit claimed that the healthcare corporation issued false and misleading statements causing the client and a stockholder class to purchase the healthcare corporation's stock at artificially inflated prices. Malone filed a second-class action and influenced appellant attorneys, Arnold Levin and Harris J. Sklar, to file a replica of the attorney's complaints. The healthcare corporation moved for Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 sanctions. Malone settled, but Levin and Sklar were sanctioned. Levin and Sklar sought review.
Under the circumstances, was it proper to impose sanctions against appellant attorneys?
On review, the court said that appellant attorneys abdicated their responsibilities and relied excessively on the attorney contrary to Rule 11 because it required that an attorney signing a pleading must make reasonable inquiry personally. In affirming the sanctions, the court concluded that the Rule 11 violation was clear.