In this case, the Second Circuit reversed an award of Rule 11 sanctions against a pro se litigant. The underlying case was a business dispute between a real estate listing website and one of its co-founders, Douglas Chertok.
The litigation was contentious. Eventually, the parties agreed to settle the case. However, the settlement did not last long as the parties soon began quarreling. The district court sanctioned Chertok for three instances of misconduct. The Second Circuit reversed two of the three instances of misconduct and then remanded the case for further proceedings. The Second Circuit explained: “We share the district court’s desire to check Chertok’s less-than-straightforward conduct, but for the following reasons we conclude that the district court erred in sanctioning Chertok on the basis of two of the identified instances. We also conclude, however, that the district court acted within its discretion in sanctioning Chertok for his misrepresentation of what documents he agreed to sign pursuant to the settlement agreement. Accordingly, we vacate the district court’s award of sanctions and remand the matter for reconsideration of the appropriate sanction amount in light of this decision.”
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.