Safe Harbor Defeats Sanctions Motion


This is a district court case, Saffold v. EL Hollingsworth & Co., E.D. Michigan February 19, 2019. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions because she did not comply with the safe harbor provision.

First, Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions must be denied because she did not serve Defendant with a copy of her motion 21-days prior to its filing as required under the mandatory safe-harbor provision of Rule 11(c)(2) which provides:

A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion.Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(2). See Penn, LLC v. Prosper Bus. Dev. Corp., 773 F.3d 764, 766-67 (6th Cir. 2014) (“[f]ailure to comply with the safe-harbor provision precludes imposing sanctions on the party’s motion”). Plaintiff sent Defendant two draft versions of her motion, but never served the actual motion she eventually filed with the court. Also, the draft motions she provided did not include any of the sixteen exhibits she filed with the court. Having failed to comply with the strictures of Rule 11(c)(2), Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions must be denied.

The court also found no substantive violation of Rule 11.

The case is Saffold v. E.L. Hollingsworth, 17-cv-14008, E. D. Michigan February 19, 2019.

Ed Clinton, Jr.

See Also

Procedural Default Defeats Sanctions Motion

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