An Essay Question from the 2010 Exam
An Essay Question from the 2006 Civil Procedure Exam

A Multiple Choice Question about Rule 11

From the 2010 Exam

Question 11)   P, a domiciliary of New York, brings a $300,000 state law fraud action against D, a domiciliary of Pennsylvania, in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In P's complaint, which is signed by P's lawyer in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a), there is an allegation that D knowingly lied to P about termites in a house in order to induce P to buy it.  After discovery, it becomes clear that there is no evidence in favor of the allegation in P's complaint that D believed that there were termites in the house at the time he sold the house to P.  D brings a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against P.  What one of the following is a valid reason why this motion should fail?

a.         P, as a represented party, cannot be subjected to Rule 11 sanctions.

b.         Rule 11 does not apply to discovery.

c.         Since it was a fraud action, P was allowed under R. 9(b) to allege a condition of mind generally.  It was not necessary for him to state any evidence in favor of D's condition of mind.

d.         P's lawyer had a good faith belief in the truth of the allegations in the complaint.

e.         None of the above is a valid reason to deny Rule 11 sanctions against P.

 

Question 11)   P, a domiciliary of New York, brings a $300,000 state law fraud action against D, a domiciliary of Pennsylvania, in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In P's complaint, which is signed by P's lawyer in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a), there is an allegation that D knowingly lied to P about termites in a house in order to induce P to buy it.  After discovery, it becomes clear that there is no evidence in favor of the allegation in P's complaint that D believed that there were termites in the house at the time he sold the house to P.  D brings a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against P.  What one of the following is a valid reason why this motion should fail?

a.         P, as a represented party, cannot be subjected to Rule 11 sanctions.

Wrong. Represented parties can be subject to Rule 11 sanctions, if they were responsible for the violation. P could have fed his lawyer lies and so have been responsible for the violation. 5 chose this.

b.         Rule 11 does not apply to discovery.

Wrong. It is true that Rule 11 does not apply to discovery, but the issue is P's allegations in his complaint, to which R 11 does apply. 5 chose this.

c.         Since it was a fraud action, P was allowed under R. 9(b) to allege a condition of mind generally.  It was not necessary for him to state any evidence in favor of D's condition of mind.

Wrong. It is true that, under Rule 9(b), P did not have to offer evidence of D's condition of mind in his complaint. But even if 9(b) was satisfied, Rule 11 could still have been violated if the factual allegations in the complaint (including the assertion that D knowingly lied to P) had no evidentiary support at the time that the complaint was signed by P's lawyer.  Satisfying Rule 9(b) does not mean you have satisfied Rule 11. 18 chose this.

d.         P's lawyer had a good faith belief in the truth of the allegations in the complaint.

Wrong. Assume that P fed his lawyer lies concerning D's mental state and the lawyer believed them in good faith without engaging in  reasonable inquiry into their truth.  His good faith belief would be insufficient to shield him from a Rule 11 violation.  Rule 11 uses an objective standard.  And if the lawyer could be subject to Rule 11 sanctions, then P could be too, since he is responsible for the violation. 20 chose this.

e.         None of the above is a valid reason to deny Rule 11 sanctions against P.

This is correct. 31 chose this. The point biserial was .45.

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