I have been following the reports on sanctions imposed on lawyers for the Trump campaign recently (go here and scroll down for those stories), and today I am reporting on sanctions imposed on lawyers who filed a case in Colorado.
The sanctions order describes the case: "The original Complaint purported to be a class action lawsuit on behalf of all American registered voters, alleging a vast conspiracy between four governors, secretaries of state, and various election officials of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia; along with Dominion, a private supplier of election and voting technology; the social media company Facebook; CTCL, a non-profit organization dedicated to making elections more secure and inclusive; as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan."
Well, to make a long story short, you know where this is heading... A federal court recently decided to impose sanctions holding that "[i]t should have been as obvious to Plaintiffs’ counsel as it would be to a first-year civil procedure student that there was no legal or factual basis to assert personal jurisdiction in Colorado for actions taken by sister states’ governors, secretaries of state, or other election officials, in those officials’ home states." and that "[f]iling a lawsuit against an out-of-state defendant with no plausible good faith justification for the assertion of personal jurisdiction or venue is sanctionable conduct."
The judge also comments on the affidavits filed "in support" of the complaint and about the conduct of the lawyers involved. About the affidavits, the judge states: "Despite the numerous additional plaintiffs and the addition of RICO conspiracy claims, nothing about the proposed Amended Complaint addressed one critical deficiency emphasized in all Defendants’ dismissal motions: Plaintiffs’ lack of standing to bring suit under Article III of the Constitution. Also absent from the proposed Amended Complaint was any effort to address the conspicuous personal jurisdictional problems raised by suing, in federal court in Colorado, state government officials from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan, for acts taken in connection with their official duties in those respective states."
So, the judge imposes sanctions based on the lawyers' "woeful lack of investigation into the law and (under the circumstances) the facts" which the judge called "recklessness."
You can read the full order here to get the full story, including the specific things the judge says the lawyers should have done before filing the complaint, including hiring an expert or three to assess and verify the truth of the information contained in the materials from other lawsuits which were copied into the Complaint, rather than copying inflammatory and damaging allegations from failed lawsuits and media reports.
For more information and a copy of the order you can go to TechDirt.