United States District Court, D. Utah
PAUL G. AMANN, Plaintiff,
OFFICE OF THE UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL, SEAN REYES, and BRIDGET ROMANO, in their official and individual capacities Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ORDER DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RULE 11 SANCTIONS
N. Parrish United States District Court Judge
matter comes before the court on plaintiff's Motion for
Rule 11 Sanctions filed on July 16, 2018. (ECF No. 15).
Defendants filed a response on August, 6, 2018, (ECF No. 22),
to which plaintiff replied on August, 20, 2018, (ECF No. 27).
With leave of court, defendants also filed a sur-reply. (ECF
No. 34). The court heard oral argument on this motion on
February 13, 2019. On the basis of that hearing, the
parties' memoranda, applicable law, and for the reasons
below, plaintiff's motion for sanctions is denied.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant
(b) Representations to the Court. By presenting to the court
a pleading, written motion, or other paper-whether by
signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it-an
attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of
the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed
after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such
as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase
the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are
warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for
extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for
establishing new law; In short,
requires that motions be, “to the best of the
signer's knowledge, well grounded in fact, warranted by
existing law or a good faith argument for the extension,
modification, or reversal of existing law, and . . . not
interposed for any improper purpose.” Coffey v.
Healthtrust, Inc., 1 F.3d 1101, 1104 (10th Cir. 1993).
further provides that “[i]f, after notice and a
reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that
Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an
appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that
violated the rule or is responsible for the violation.”
Amann asks this court to sanction defendants for filing a
motion to dismiss grounded, in part, on legal arguments that
were refuted by a state court prior to removal of this action
to federal court. The motion to dismiss denied by the state
court was premised on Mr. Amann's alleged failure to
comply with the Utah Governmental Immunity Act's (UGIA)
undertaking requirement. Mr. Amann contends that defendants
are barred from relitigating the undertaking issue in this
court, and that their motion seeking to do just that was
therefore not “warranted by existing law[.]”
Amann also urges this court to find that defendants'
motion to dismiss was brought for an improper purpose,
appending to his reply a declaration by a non-party lawyer
who purports to have heard defendants' counsel represent
that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) files motions
to dismiss as a matter of course, whether or not those
motions are well-founded. (ECF No. 27-1 at 2).
Defendants' Motion was Warranted by Existing Law
Defendants argue, and the court agrees, that neither
collateral estoppel nor the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
are implicated by the relationship between the state
court's order denying defendants' motion ...