Victory for Attorney Facing Motion For Sanctions
James J. Sipchen and Kayla A. Condeni successfully defended an attorney subject to a Rule 137 Motion for Sanctions that sought three years’ of attorneys’ fees incurred in defending a defamation lawsuit totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. After prevailing on a motion dismiss the defamation claim on the grounds of the absolute privilege, the defendant in the litigation sought sanctions against Jim’s and Kayla’s client for continuing to prosecute the claim even though the attorney was alleged to have been repeatedly warned that the suit was barred by the privilege. Jim and Kayla successfully argued that the attorney’s conduct was not sanctionable because application of the privilege was not so clear so as to make the attorney’s arguments against its application objectively unreasonable. They were also able to point out that the defendant in the underlying litigation could have, but chose not to, pursue his absolute litigation privilege argument sooner in the underlying litigation.