Lawyers can be sanctioned by the court for “unreasonably and vexatiously” multiplying a lawsuit. That means the lawyer can be sanctioned for creating unnecessary work. In the lawsuit Vaughan v. Lewisville ISD, the plaintiff claimed his vote as a white voter was diluted by some measure taken by the Lewisville ISD. The judge sanctioned the lawyer and his law firm for unreasonably and vexatiously multiplying the proceedings. The district judge said Vaughan did not have standing because he was white and because the lawsuit was frivolous.
On appeal, however, the Fifth Circuit found that standing is a changing concept and the plaintiff simply was seeking to extend voting rights laws. The higher court overturned the sanction of $50,000. It also found that a law firm cannot be sanctioned. Section 1927 of Title 28 applies to lawyers, not to law firms. But, said the Fifth Circuit, the various lawyers from the law firm could be sanctioned for their conduct during depositions of school officials. The lawyers asked about a range of issues not related to voting rights, such as Title IX compliance, standardized testing, mental health accommodations, and individual board member’s personal opinions on various topics, such as allowing teachers to carry guns.
See the ABA Bar Journal report here.