United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is a Motion for Sanctions (Record Document 124)
filed by Plaintiffs-in-Concursus, Adam M. Keys, National
Oilwell Varco, L.P., D.L. Peterson Trust Company and National
Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (collectively
“Defendants”). Defendants request the Court to
impose sanctions against S.P. Davis, Sr., the Davis Law
Office, L.L.C., and McLawrence Fuller (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) for violating Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11. The Defendants are also seeking relief pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1927 against Plaintiffs’ counsel.
For the following reasons, the Defendants’ Motion for
Sanctions is DENIED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
matter arose out of a motor vehicle accident involving Adam
Keys and McLawrence Fuller (“Fuller”) on
September 27, 2010 in DeSoto Parish. See Record
Document 118 at 2. Fuller brought suit against the Defendants
in Louisiana’s 42nd Judicial District Court.
See id. In March 2015, following a jury trial only
on the issue of damages, the jury awarded Fuller a $375,
835.58 judgment, including an award of interest, costs,
expert witness fees, and medical record fees. See
Record Document 103-2. The judgment became final on January
9, 2017 when the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs of
certiorari. See Record Document 131 at 2.
the pendency of this suit, Defendants learned that various
persons and entities asserted liens for sums paid on behalf
of, or for services rendered to, Fuller pertaining to the
case. See id. Because of the multiple claims to the
judgment, Defendants filed a petition for concursus on
February 9, 2017 in the personal injury suit. See
id. The following day after the concursus was filed, the
state court signed a proposed order submitted by Defendants
which permitted them to deposit $429, 502.84 into the
Court’s registry. See Record Document 20-14 at
22. The concursus proceeding was ultimately removed to this
Court by the United States, one of the
defendants-in-concursus, in March 2017. See Record
Document 131 at 3.
extensive motion practice in this matter, only two motions
are relevant for this ruling. First, on June 28, 2018, Davis
Law Firm filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting their
claim to 40% of the proceeds of the judgment and other fees
associated with trial. See Record Document 104.
Defendants opposed this motion, arguing Davis Law Firm was
seeking recovery of medical record fees that Defendant had
already paid. See Record Document 118. The motion
for summary judgment was denied as moot upon this
Court’s order for disbursement of all remaining funds
in the Court’s registry. See Record Document
second relevant motion is the Motion for Deposit of
Additional Funds also filed June 28, 2018 by Davis Law Firm
and Fuller. See Record Document 103. In the motion,
Plaintiffs sought the Court to order the Defendants to
deposit into the Court’s registry an additional sum of
$40, 542.48, of which included $27, 496.52 in unpaid judicial
interest, $9, 334.50 in medical expert fees, and $729.47 in
medical record expenses. See Record Document 103-1
at 4-5. On December 28, 2018, this Court adopted the Report
and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Hayes finding
Defendants liable for $27, 496.52 unpaid judicial interest.
See Record Document 132.
Defendants deposited the additional judicial interest, and
the interpleader action was fully disbursed on January 18,
2019. See Record Document 134. The only matter
remaining before the Court is the instant motion for
sanctions filed by Defendants on September 14, 2018.
See Record Document 124. Plaintiffs opposed the
motion on September 28, 2018. See Record Document
126. Defendants’ replied to the opposition on October
4, 2018. See Record Document 127.
Sanctions Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
Rule 11 Legal Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 11(a) requires every pleading,
written motion, or other paper to be signed by an attorney of
record. The signature serves as a representation to the court
that all claims are well-grounded in fact and law, and the
filings are not being presented for any improper purpose.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b)(1)-(3). Rule 11(c) allows the
court to impose an “appropriate sanction” on
“any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the
rule or is responsible for the violation.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
11(c)(1). The purpose of Rule 11 is to “deter baseless
filings in district court” and “streamline the
administration and procedure of the federal courts.”
Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384,
393, 110 S.Ct. 2447, 2454 (1990).
Summary of Defendant’s Argument ...