Monday, August 9, 2021

US Magistrate for District of Colorado imposes sanctions on lawyers who challenged the presidential election results in a lawsuit based on "enormous conspiracy theory"

While we await the result of the debate over whether to impose sanctions on the lawyers involved in an election challenge case in Michigan by the "Kraken team" of lawyers for the Trump campaign (see here), the ABA Journal and Politico are reporting that a federal magistrate judge in Colorado has imposed sanctions on lawyers who challenged 2020 election methods (rather than the result) in an order that criticized their “woeful lack of investigation” into the law and the facts and which characterized the claims as "one enormous conspiracy theory.”  You can read the court's order here.

The opinion states that although the lawsuit did not aim to challenge or reverse the election results, “the effect of the allegations and relief sought would be to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the Biden presidency and the mechanisms of American democracy (the actual systems of voting) in numerous states.” The magistrate judge said that the filing was in bad faith, and that “no reasonable attorney” would have believed the plaintiffs had standing to bring the suit.

The sanctions seemed mild to me since the judge simply ordered the lawyers who filed the lawsuit to pay attorney fees to cover the cost of their opponents’ motions to dismiss the lawsuit and to oppose an amended complaint.  Go here for the ABA Journal story.  Go here for Politico.

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