United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure — sanctions
Where an attorney frivolously asserted a lien against a former client, a $7500 sanction is appropriate.
“Rule 38 sanctions call for an exercise of discretion. We are most concerned here that this case shows an attorney’s persistent, years-long effort to extract money from a client on frivolous theories. An attorney owes a fiduciary duty to all her clients—even the difficult ones. Gomberg’s unsuccessful work on behalf of Goyal has never given him a viable claim for a fee, yet he has tied up Goyal and the courts for years with his frivolous efforts to extract a fee for this unsuccessful work. Given this prolonged and oppressive misuse of the law’s mechanisms to protect attorneys from unreasonable clients, Rule 38 sanctions are justified both to compensate Goyal and to deter Gomberg and other similarly situated attorneys.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Pallmeyer, J., Per Curiam.