Filing Complaint Without Authorization of Client Leads to Rule 11 Sanctions

In Edwards v. Wells Fargo Bank, 19-cv-14409 D. New Jersey January 5, 2003, the Court awarded Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiff’s counsel for failing to obtain the authorization of his client before filing the case. At a hearing the lawyer conceded that he lacked authorization to file the case. It is difficult for me to comprehend the court’s rulings. The pertinent parts of the ruling are quoted below:

WHEREAS, the Court held a hearing on the Order to Show Cause on July 7, 2021, with both Thomas and Edwards in attendance, (ECF No. 29), and where Thomas conceded on the Record that Edwards had not hired him to bring this case and that in fact Thomas had never met Edwards prior to the Order to Show Cause hearing on July 7, 2021, (ECF No. 38 at 23:22-23); and

WHEREAS, the Court noticed Thomas at both the hearing and in the Order issued on July 8, 2021 that the Court was contemplating sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Professional Conduct and gave Thomas a second chance to Show Cause to the Court; and

WHEREAS, Thomas received two extensions and nearly two months of time to prepare his second response to the July 8, 2021 Order to Show Cause (ECF Nos. 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37); and

WHEREAS, the Court found Thomas’ explanations as to why this case was brought under Edwards’ name were insufficient, (ECF No. 39); and

WHEREAS, the Court found that Thomas was not authorized by Edwards to bring this action, (ECF No. 39 at 34-35); and…

WHEREAS, the Court found that Thomas filed and pursued this lawsuit for improper purposes, violating Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)(1), (among other violations) (ECF No. 39 at 20-21)[2] (“the Court is unable to conceive of any proper basis Thomas could have had for filing this Complaint”) (emphasis in original); and

WHEREAS, with the Court finding a violation of Rule 11(b)(1), the case was brought improperly ab initio, without Edwards’ knowledge or consent;

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