If they bring frivolous or unnecessary litigation Lawyers can be ordered to pay the other side’s fees Florida judges have the inherent authority to sanction attorneys for bad conduct by ordering them to pay the opposing parties attorneys’ fees and costs, but judges must also make specific findings about those abuses and give the attorneys a chance to respond.The Supreme Court reached those conclusions in a pair of cases released February 28. Both involved divorce cases where the trial judge ordered attorneys to pay fees and costs to the opposing party for frivolous or unnecessary litigation. Although the court held judges could impose sanctions, they quashed or remanded the cases because neither of the judges provided a detailed and specific list of why the sanctions were imposed.In the lead case, Moakley v. Smallwood, case no. SC95471, Justice Barbara Pariente, writing for the court, said it has been recognized since 1920, when the court ruled in Unites States Savings Bank v. Pittman, 86 So. 567, 572 (Fla. 1920), that courts have the inherent authority to assess attorneys’ fees to punish lawyers for misconduct during litigation.More recently in Bitterman v. Bitterman, 714 So. 2d 356 (Fla. 1998), the court recognized “the inherent authority of a trial court to award attorneys’ fees for bad faith conduct against a party, even though no statute authorized the award,” Pariente wrote. She noted several other states follow the same policy.“We thus hold that a trial court possesses the inherent authority to impose attorneys’ fees against an attorney for bad faith conduct,” Pariente wrote. “In exercising this inherent authority, an appropriate balance must be struck between condemning as unprofessional or unethical litigation tactics undertaken solely for bad faith purposes, while ensuring that attorneys will not be deterred from pursuing lawful claims, issues or defenses on behalf of their clients or from their obligation as an advocate.”Therefore, the opinion continued, use of that inherent authority “must be based upon an express finding of bad faith conduct and must be supported by detailed factual findings describing the specific acts of bad faith conduct that resulted in the unnecessary incurrence of attorneys’ fees.. . . Moreover, such a sanction is appropriate only after notice and an opportunity to be heard — including the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence.”Pariente also said judges should rely on statutes and procedural rules if those are available before turning to their inherent authority.The court quashed the appealed decision from the Third District Court of Appeal because the trial judge did not make a specific finding of bad faith and did not give the attorney notice and an opportunity to be heard.Justices Leander J. Shaw, Major B. Harding, Harry Lee Anstead, and Peggy Quince concurred in the opinion. Justice Fred Lewis concurred in the results only. Chief Justice Charles Wells concurred in the result and wrote an opinion, saying the majority erroneously set up a new method for sanctioning attorneys.“My problem with this is that, apparently, this is a sanction which comes within neither attorney discipline procedures nor the court’s contempt power,” Wells said. “Therefore, there are no procedures to apply to the application of this sanction, nor are there definitions of bad faith or limitations on the sanctions.”He said he would have referred the matter to procedural rules committees for study, adding that on the bench and in his career at a litigator he saw many instances of abuse.In the second case, Diaz v. Diaz, case no. SC95534, Pariente, again writing for the court, cited the reasoning in Moakley, but quashed the award against the attorney because the trial judge did not make any specific findings showing the bad fath actions were the attorney’s fault. Indeed the record showed while the husband rejected a settlement offer from the wife without an reasonable prospect of improving his lot in litigation, that was done before the attorney was hired and before the wife had made full financial disclosure, the opinion said.Justices Shaw, Harding, Anstead, Lewis, and Quince concurred in that opinion, while Wells again concurred in the result only. If they bring frivolous or unnecessary litigation: Lawyers can be ordered to pay the other side’s fees March 15, 2002 Regular News
Unseeded Russian Vesnina thrashed Slovakian 19th seed Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 in the remaining quarter-final on court one.Venus Williams showed she remains a real threat on the All England Club grass with an impressive win over world number 96 Shvedova.The champion in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 made it through to her first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2010 US Open.At 36, she is the oldest major semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova finished runner-up at Wimbledon in 1994.“I love playing the game,” said Venus Williams, who slipped outside the world’s top 100 in 2011 after being diagnosed with the immune system disease Sjogren’s Disease. “When you’re winning matches it makes it that much sweeter.”The American, who played her first Wimbledon in 1997, recovered from losing an early break to win the opening set tie-break from 5-2 down.She then dominated the second set, racing into a 5-1 lead and holding off signs of a Shvedova comeback to serve out the win.“What a tough day on the court,” Venus added. “The tie-breaker, it felt like she would win. I felt like my opponent was on fire.“I felt like the crowd enjoyed all the great points. She got them involved in the last game. We gave them good tennis today.”Serena Williams’ presence in the semi-finals is far less of a surprise than that of her sister, but the world number one needed to be at her best to see off Pavlyuchenkova.The American, 34, converted the only two break points of a desperately tight contest, the first with a crushing backhand return in the opening set, the second thanks to a Pavlyuchenkova double fault in the second.Williams, the six-time and defending champion, fired down 11 aces and 29 winners as she closes in on a 22nd Grand Slam singles title.“It was good,” she said. “I am excited to be able to win and get through, it felt really good. I knew Venus was up 5-1 and then I saw (the result) on the court (scoreboard), so I was like ‘Yay’.“I am just trying to win my match. I knew I had a tough opponent and one thing I have learnt this year is just to focus on the match.”Vesnina completely dominated against Cibulkova, who appeared to run out of energy after a successful run that began with winning the Eastbourne title ahead of Wimbledon.The Slovakian can at least take comfort that she does not have to postpone her wedding, which can now go ahead as planned on Saturday.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Five-time champion Venus Williams on Tuesday reached the Wimbledon 2016 semi-finals for the first time since 2009 with victory over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.Eighth seed Williams – at 36 the oldest Grand Slam semi-finalist for 22 years – beat unseeded Shvedova 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.An all-Williams final remains possible after top seed Serena beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-4.In Thursday’s semis, Serena will play Russia’s Elena Vesnina and Venus will take on Germany’s Angelique Kerber.“We don’t really talk too much about it but we are playing doubles later, so we are just happy to be in the semi-finals,” Serena told BBC Sport.Asked about a potential final meeting, she added: “It will be great. Venus is such a tough opponent I want her to win so bad – not in the final if I am there, but if I’m not, I do.”Kerber, the fourth seed, beat Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep 7-5 7-6 (7-2) in the opening match on Centre Court.
ExxonMobil, NBA, Africare have reinstated their commitment to youth and sports development as they sponsor the third season of the Power Forward programme at the National Stadium in Kukwaba, Abuja.Power Forward, a partnership between ExxonMobil, the NBA and Africare, uses the game of basketball to teach and mentor students from secondary schools in Abuja about health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility. The event which had in attended former NBA player, Kelenna Azubuike, featured boys and girls championship games, performances from the Philadelphia 76ers Flight Squad and other youth competitions.According to Dr. Paul Arinze of ExxonMobil, “Power Forward, through its focus on health, builds on efforts by the ExxonMobil Malaria Initiative to combat malaria in Nigeria. The successful initiative works with a range of partners to prevent, treat and, ultimately, eliminate malaria especially in pregnant women and children under 5 who constitute the most vulnerable.”He added that, “Our appreciation to the National Basketball Association, Africare, the NBA Talents, National Malaria Elimination Program of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, the Power Forward Schools and everyone for their support for this initiative. The Power Forward project was initiated 2013 in partnership with ExxonMobil, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Africare to implement a youth development program that incorporates both life-skills training and public health education, using the convening power of basketball. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram