Tagged: Rule 11

Securities Plaintiffs Beware: Third Circuit Holds Initiating Suit to Force Settlement May Violate Rule 11 and Can Lead to Mandatory Sanctions Under the PSLRA

With the 30th anniversary of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) on the horizon, the Third Circuit’s recent precedential opinion in Scott v. Vantage Corp. provides timely guidance on an important aspect of the landmark statute that may not always be top of mind – its interplay with Rule 11. The PSLRA, in its effort to curb frivolous securities litigation, not only imposes heightened pleading requirements and an automatic stay of discovery pending motions to dismiss, but also requires Rule 11 compliance findings as to each party and attorney based on what they knew at the time suit was filed. In Scott, the Third Circuit reiterated these principles and held that district courts must impose some form of sanction for any Rule 11 violation, no matter how insubstantial the violation – a characteristic unique to the application of Rule 11 in PSLRA cases. The decision also reminds us that the PSLRA creates a presumption in favor of awarding attorneys’ fees in cases of “substantial failure” to comply with Rule 11, which is defined by the court in the opinion. Finally, the decision stands for the remarkable proposition that filing a complaint to force settlement may violate Rule 11 even when the claims asserted are sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. In Scott, a...

Patent Assertion Entities Hit With Rule 11 Sanctions and Section 285 Attorneys’ Fees in Separate Delaware District Court Cases

Much attention has been said about the role 35, U.S.C. § 285 in combating vexatious litigations brought by patent assertion entities (“PAE”) following the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014). Overshadowed by the Supreme Court’s ruling is the imposition of sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Not anymore. In a recent federal court case before Judge Richard G. Andrews, of the District of Delaware, the patent assertion entity (PAE) plaintiff was hit with R. 11 sanctions, resulting in the dismissal of all pending actions. This ruling illustrates that courts have multiple avenues to exercise their discretion on how to approach PAE actions, and offers insights as to how defendants can thwart PAE litigants that bring baseless patent infringement claims.