Misconduct Sanctions Subject to Appeal

Misconduct sanctions “can seriously impair an attorney’s professional standing, reputation, and earning possibilities, such an order can’t be brushed off as easily as a gnat. It is not just a slap on the wrist, or an angry remark by a judge in the course of a trial or other hearing,” Judge Posner explained in his recent ruling in Martinez v. City of Chicago.

Judge Posner’s opinion holds that nonmonetary sanction orders are subject to appeal. His ruling aligns with eight other courts that have decided the issue. The opinion distinguishes a mere angry remark by a judge, which would not be grounds for appeal, from an unfounded misconduct sanctions order that is akin to defamation.

The case involved a lawsuit against the City of Chicago and others for malicious prosecution and other torts. The plaintiff’s lawyers requested files from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The State Attorney’s Office claimed that the requested files no longer existed.

The district court ordered the State Attorney’s  Office to provide the plaintiff’s lawyers with access to 181 boxes of documents stored in a warehouse so that the plaintiff’s lawyers could attempt to locate the requested files .The plaintiff’s lawyers quickly found the relevant documents., The court ordered sanctions against the state attorneys for obstructing discovery.

To read the full opinion, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *