July 2012 Vol. 9, No. 2

9.2.9

Rule 3-200:  Maintaining Frivolous Claim; Attorney Sanctions; Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6068(c)

Case:

In re Luxury Imports of Sacramento (E.D.Cal. 2012) 2012 WL 1608348

Issue:

Were sanctions warranted against bankruptcy counsel who refused to dismiss the appeal of an adverse decision of the bankruptcy court, requiring opposing counsel to file a motion to dismiss the appeal, after opposing counsel sent a written warning to counsel that the appeal was untimely where counsel claimed his client objected to dismissal of the appeal?

Holding:

Yes.  Under Rule of Professional Conduct 3-200 and Business and Professions Code § 6068(c), an attorney has a duty to maintain only legally justified claims and defenses. Counsel had an ethical duty to reject his client’s insistence that he maintain an untimely appeal.  Even if counsel initially filed the untimely appeal unknowingly, once opposing counsel contacted him, he was obligated to confirm the untimeliness of the appeal and voluntarily terminate the proceedings.  “In failing to dismiss this appeal, counsel wasted the time and resources of both [opposing] counsel and this Court” making sanctions warranted.  (2012 WL 1608348, *1.)  The Court imposed sanctions in the amount of $549 payable to opposing counsel.  (Id. at *2.)

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