12.12.2007

E.D. Pa. Notes Split Re Applicability of Rule 11 in a Removal Case Where the Defendant Seeks Sanctions for the Filing of a State Court Complaint

Per Dieffenbach v. Cigna Corp., Slip Copy, 2007 WL 4275502 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 04, 2007):

The question of the applicability of Rule 11 in a removal case where the defendant seeks sanctions for the filing of a state court complaint is an unresolved one in this circuit. There appears to be a split among the other circuits on the issue with the Second, Fourth and Fifth Circuits holding that Rule 11 sanctions cannot be imposed on state court complaints, while the Sixth Circuit has held that they can. See, e.g., Tompkins v. Cyr, 202 F.3d 770 (5th Cir.2000); Herron v. Jupiter Transportation Co., 858 F.2d 332, (6th Cir.1988); Kirby v. Allegheny Beverage Corp., 811 F.2d 253 (4th Cir.1987); Stiefvater Real Estate, Inc. v. Hinsdale, 812 F.2d 805 (2d Cir.1987). The only Court in this district to consider the matter, however, followed the 6th Circuit to conclude that the fact that the case was removed from state court had no bearing on the application of Rule 11, which applies to a pleading once it is removed to federal court and thereby imposes upon the attorney a duty to reevaluate his signed pleadings once they are in federal court. See, Riley v. City of Philadelphia, 136 F.R.D. 571, 574 (E.D.Pa.1991).

We do not believe that we need to reach the issue of whether Rule 11 is properly applied to pleadings originally filed in the state court to resolve the motion now before us. While it was the plaintiff's filing of a complaint in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas which once again initiated these proceedings in July, 2007, it is the plaintiff's continuing insistence on the prosecution of this matter and his repeatedly signing papers, motions and amended pleadings in this Court which is at the heart of the Rule 11 motion before us.

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