Sanctioning Law Firms for Lawyers' Frivolous Filings
Jeffrey A. Parness
Northern Illinois University - College of Law
February 20, 2008
Illinois Bar Journal, Vol. 95, p. 490, 2007
In Medical Alliances, LLC v. Health Care Service Corp., 863 N.E.2d 1169 (Ill. App. 2d 2007), the court ruled that a law firm could not be sanctioned under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 for the filing of a frivolous pleading by a law firm member. The split among Illinois appellate courts on the issue continues. Unlike Rule 137, law firms can definitely be sanctioned under Federal Civil Procedure Rule11. Illinois judicial rulemakers should now allow law firm sanctions thorugh amendments to Rule 137, itself added and modeled in 1989 on the 1983 amendments to Rule 11. In the absence of Rule 187 authority, inherent sanctioning power is available against law firms for pleading and other civil litigation misconduct in the Illinois circuit courts.
Keywords: Rule 11, Rule 137, law firm sanctions, civil procedure, frivolous pleading
Date posted: February 21, 2008