29 CFR § 18.35 - Signing motions and other papers; representations to the judge; sanctions.

§ 18.35 Signing motions and other papers; representations to the judge; sanctions.

(a) Date and signature. Every written motion and other paper filed with OALJ must be dated and signed by at least one representative of record in the representative's name - or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The paper must state the signer's address, telephone number, facsimile number and email address, if any. The judge must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the representative's or party's attention.

(b) Representations to the judge. By presenting to the judge a written motion or other paper - whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it - the representative or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(1) It is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of the proceedings;

(2) The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law;

(3) The factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(4) The denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.

(c) Sanctions -

(1) In general. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the judge determines that paragraph (b) of this section has been violated, the judge may impose an appropriate sanction on any representative, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee.

(2) Motion for sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates paragraph (b) of this section. The motion must be served under § 18.30(a), but it must not be filed or be presented to the judge if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the judge sets.

(3) On the judge's initiative. On his or her own, the judge may order a representative, law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated paragraph (b) of this section.

(4) Nature of a sanction. A sanction imposed under this section may include, but is not limited to, striking part or all of the offending document, forbidding the filing of any further documents, excluding related evidence, admonishment, referral of counsel misconduct to the appropriate licensing authority, and including the sanctioned activity in assessing the quality of representation when determining an appropriate hourly rate and billable hours when adjudicating attorney fees.

(5) Requirements for an order. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

(d) Inapplicability to discovery. This section does not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under §§ 18.50 through 18.65.

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