Agenda for 6th Class
• Misc.
– Name plates out
– Slide handout
– Lunch Friday
– Erica Haggerty’s office hours canceled this week
• Rule 11 (continued)
• Answer
• Intro to Amendment
Assignment for Next Class
• Rule 15
• Yeazell 443-56
• Made sure you understand the difference between allowing an amendment
and allowing “relation back”
– Hint. One of them is relevant only if the statute of limitations has run out
• Questions to think about & Writing Assignment
• Summarize the three cases in today’s reading
– Yeazell p. 443 Qs 1, 2
– Yeazell p. 448ff Qs 1, 3b,
– Yeazell p. 454ff Qs 4c, 5b
– 1995 Exam question
• Reread all policies on class webpage
• Glannon 383-407 (Amendment & Relation Back)
• For M 9/22
• A Civil Action through p. 263
• Questions on Discovery in A Civil Action on the next page
Discovery in A Civil Action
– Explain how Shlichtmann got information to build his case. What discovery
devices did he use? What methods other than discovery did Schlichtman
use to get information?
– Explain what happened on pp. 162-65. Why did Cheeseman and Frederico
object when Schlichtmann asked Love whether he was concerned when he
found out that the wells were contaminated? Why didn’t they instruct Love
not to answer? Why did Schlictmann ask these questions?
– Explain what happened at “the woodshed”? What rules had Schlichtmann
violated which led to the woodshed? Why does Shlichtmann say he’s “sorry
Judge Skinner wasn’t a party to the agreement“? (pp. 222 & 226) What
sanction(s) did the judge impose? Why was the woodshed so important?
– If you were Schlichtman, how would you have handled the settlement
negotiation with Facher differently? (pp. 228-31). Why do you think
Schlichtman acted as he did?
Last Class: Rule 11
• 11(b)(1). No improper purpose
• 11(b)(2). Legal claims warranted by existing law or non-frivolous argument to
change the law
• 11(b)(3). Factual allegations have evidentiary support or will likely have
evidentiary support after discovery
• Research must be reasonable under the circumstances
• Cannot later advocate problematic paper, but need not amend
• Sanctions
– In discretion of judge
– Money to court, money to opposing side, non-monetary (apology, etc.)
– Monetary penalties limited to what necessary to deter repetition
– Imposed on lawyer and/or client, except for 11(b)(2)
• Opposing part has 21 days to withdraw paper before motion for sanctions
filed with court
• Can Rule 11 be appropriate even if 12(b)(6) not successful?
– Yes. If facts support different cause of action than mentioned in
Would Rule 11 Sanctions Be Appropriate If …
• Would Rule 11 sanctions be appropriate if:
• Plaintiff comes in and says that defendant ran stop light and bashed into her.
You check the police report, and it says that 5 witnesses swore that plaintiff
was the one who ran the light. The plaintiff admits that is true, but says she
wants to sue anyway so she can get a small settlement. You decide that
you cannot, in good faith, allege in the complaint that defendant ran the stop
light, so you decide to be very vague and merely allege “defendant operated
vehicle negligently…”
• Prof. Bice writes a scathing article criticizing a recent Supreme Court
decision. You read the article, and, on behalf of a client, you file a suit which
you can win only if the Supreme Court reverses itself. Your complaint cites
both the Supreme Court decision and Prof. Bice’s article.
• Same as previous question, except that you do not cite the Supreme Court
decision and Prof. Bice’s article in your complaint.
Would Rule 11 Sanctions Be Appropriate If …
• Heal the Bay comes to you and says, “We need injunction now. We just
found out that the sewage treatment plant in Santa Monica is planning to
release massive quantities of dioxin into the bay in two hours.” You
immediately rush to court and file for a TRO. A TRO (temporary restraining
order) is an injunction issued by a judge on short notice in emergency
circumstances, often without an opportunity for the defendant to respond.
The next day, after the injunction has issued, you learn that Heal the Bay
was only responding to a false rumor.
• Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend scratches your 1995 Ford Escort at an
intersection. You don't care about the scratch, but you are really mad at
him/her for the emotional torture he/she put you through. Of course, you
can't sue him/her for the bad breakup, but you decide to sue him/her about
the scratch.
Questions on A Civil Action
• If Cheeseman was correct that there was no evidence that TCE and the
other relevant chemicals cause leukemia, why didn’t he file a 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss the complaint?
– Would a Rule 12(b)(6) motion be granted today?
• Answer the following questions both under the current Rule 11 and under
the rule as it exist. In 1982, Rule 11 read, in relevant part:
– Every pleading of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by
at least one attorney of record …. The signature of an attorney
constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading; that to the
best of his knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to
support it; and that it is not interposed for delay. …. For a wilful violation
of this rule an attorney may be subjected to appropriate disciplinary
• What part of Rule 11 did Cheeseman think Schlichtmann had violated?
– Is the argument more plausible under the current rules or under the 1982
rules? How were the consequences of violation different in 1982?
• Could Schlichtmann have made a plausible Rule 11 motion? (See pp. 907
94). What part(s) of Rule 11 would Schlictmann rely on?
Responding to Complaint I
• Defendant has 2 options in responding to complaint
– Motion to Dismiss (Rule 12)
– Answer
– If files motion to dismiss first, and granted
• No need to file answer (at least until / unless plaintiff files amended
– If files motion to dismiss first, and denied
• Defendant must file answer
– Any defense in motion to dismiss can be asserted in answer instead
• If defense in answer, not called “12(b)(1)” or “12(b)(6)”
– Remember, a motion asks the court to do something
• A pleading (including the answer) just preserves issue for discovery
and trial
• Motions to Dismiss
– See grounds in FRCP 12(b)
Responding to Complaint II
• Answer
– Must admit or deny all allegations in complaint
• Part by part, clause by clause, phrase by phrase
• Or state lack information to admit or deny
• General denial is very rare
• Admissions are powerful.
– Assumed true; Plaintiff does not have to prove at trial
– Assert defenses in FRCP 12(b)
– Assert affirmative defenses
• See 8(c ) (1)
• May be others. Need to consult substantive law
– Rule 11 applies
• Issues not raised in Answer or by motion are “waived”
– Unless raised in amendments
Answer Questions
• Briefly summarize Zielinsky v PPI
• What does Zielinsky mean by “defendant is estopped from
denying agency”
• What rule authorized the court to do this?
• Yeazell pp. 436-7. Q1b, 1c, 2a, 2c, 2d, 3, 4a, 6
• Is it plausible that PPI acted in good faith without intent to
• Amendment necessary because neither plaintiff nor defendant has all
information at beginning of suit
– Info gathered in discovery may require changes to complaint or answer
– If fail to amend, may not be able to present relevant evidence at trial
• Rule 15(a). Amendment is easy
– (a)(1). No need to ask permission of court if within 21 days of service or
Answer or Rule 12(b) motion
– (a)(2). Court should give permission “freely … when justice requires.”
• Key factors
– Timing
– Fault
– Prejudice – How much worse off is defendant than if amended
pleading had been original pleading?
Relation Back
• Relevant only if statute of limitations has run out
• 15(c)(1)(B). If not changing the party
– Relation back if same transaction or occurrence
• 15(c)(1)(c). If changing party
– 3 part test
• Same transaction or occurrence
• Within 120 days of filing of complaint (plus extensions),
defendant had actual notice of lawsuit (even if did not
receive service of process)
• Within 120 days of filing of complaint (plus extensions),
defendant knew or should have known that plaintiff made
a mistake about identity of proper defendant
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