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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit Tinder opinion involving attorney sanctions, out of Wisconsin

Here are some quotes from Judge Tinder's 9-page Feb. 11th opinion in In re Wendy Nora (WD Wis.):

On August 13, 2014, we ordered attorney Wendy Nora to show cause why she should not be sanctioned for pursuing a frivolous appeal, see Fed. R. App. P. 38, and why she should not be disciplined for conduct unbecoming a member of the bar, see id. 46(c). PNC Bank, N.A. v. Spencer, 763 F.3d 650, 655 (7th Cir. 2014). For the rea-sons that follow, we now impose a sanction of $2,500 but suspend the sanction until such time, if ever, that Nora submits additional frivolous or needlessly antagonistic filings. * * *

Nora also fails to alleviate our concern about her engaging in “conduct unbecoming a member of the court’s bar” under Rule 46(c). She contends that her comments during this litigation have amounted to nothing more than unsanctionable rudeness, citing In re Snyder, 472 U.S. 634 (1985). In Snyder, the Supreme Court concluded that a single ill-mannered letter did not rise to the level of “conduct inimical to the administration of justice” that is sanctionable under Rule 46(c). Id. at 645–47; see In re Lightfoot, 217 F.3d 914, 916–17 (7th Cir. 2000) (discussing this standard and collecting cases applying it). But Nora’s conduct is more egregious than that in Synder. As noted in our earlier opinion, Nora has repeatedly acted with needless antagonism toward opposing counsel and judicial officers. In her responses to our order to show cause, she has refused to back down from her accusations of libel against Judge Crabb and “actionable civil fraud and racketeering” against opposing counsel. She denies accusing the state court judge of altering transcripts, but the record belies her denial: she not only made the accusations but moved for substitution of the judge on that basis. She also now derides “this panel and many of the judges in this circuit” as being biased “against homeowners’ rights to be heard and defend their homes.” This bandying about of se-rious accusations without basis in law or fact is unacceptable and warrants sanctions. See In re Hendrix, 986 F.2d 195, 201 (7th Cir. 1993) (explaining that attorney’s filing of submissions not grounded in law or fact is sanctionable); Mays, 865 F.2d at 140 (sanctioning attorney for falsely imputing positions on opponents and the court).

(h/t to the ValpoLawBlog)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 19, 2015 10:04 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions