Avoid Sanctions When Pushing the Legal Envelope

A court may sanction attorneys for engaging in meritless actions or tactics with the intent to harass or cause unnecessary delay. CCP §128.5. But what is meritless to one person may be a rational extension of the law to another. Luckily, there’s a safe harbor provision in the statute for that. Specifically, CCP §128.5 authorizes sanctions for any “actions or tactics” that are frivolous or intended to cause unnecessary delay, including, but not limited to, making or opposing motions in bad faith or filing and serving baseless complaints, cross-complaints, answers, or other responsive pleadings. Code of Civil Procedure §128.5 also applies to judicial arbitration proceedings under CCP §§1141.10–1141.31. Additionally, CCP §128.7 empowers the court to issue sanctions for the filing or advocacy of groundless claims in signed pleadings and other papers. Code of Civil Procedure CCP §128.5 carves out safe harbors from sanctions…

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