If an action is commenced by the Corporation or by a recipient and a final order is entered in favor of the defendant and against the Corporation or a recipient’s plaintiff, the court shall, upon motion by the defendant and upon a finding by the court that the action was commenced or pursued for the sole purpose of harassment of the defendant or that the Corporation or a recipient’s plaintiff maliciously abused legal process, enter an order (which shall be appealable before being made final) awarding reasonable costs and legal fees incurred by the defendant in defense of the action, except when in contravention of a State law, a rule of court, or a statute of general applicability. Any such costs and fees shall be directly paid by the Corporation.
42 U.S. Code § 2996e. Powers, duties, and limitations
(a) Powers of nonprofit corporation; additional powersTo the extent consistent with the provisions of this subchapter, the Corporation shall exercise the powers conferred upon a nonprofit corporation by the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act (except for section 1005(o) of title 29 of the District of Columbia Code). In addition, the Corporation is authorized—
(A) to provide financial assistance to qualified programs furnishing legal assistance to eligible clients, and to make grants to and contracts with—
individuals, partnerships, firms, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, and
State and local governments (only upon application by an appropriate State or local agency or institution and upon a special determination by the Board that the arrangements to be made by such agency or institution will provide services which will not be provided adequately through non-governmental arrangements),
to accept in the name of the Corporation, and employ or dispose of in furtherance of the purposes of this subchapter, any money or property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, received by gift, devise, bequest, or otherwise; and
(3) to undertake directly, or by grant or contract, the following activities relating to the delivery of legal assistance—
(b) Disciplinary powers; representational questions; interference with professional responsibilities of attorneys; bar membership; restrictions; languages other than English
The Corporation shall have authority to insure the compliance of recipients and their employees with the provisions of this subchapter and the rules, regulations, and guidelines promulgated pursuant to this subchapter, and to terminate, after a hearing in accordance with section 2996j of this title, financial support to a recipient which fails to comply.
No question of whether representation is authorized under this subchapter, or the rules, regulations or guidelines promulgated pursuant to this subchapter, shall be considered in, or affect the final disposition of, any proceeding in which a person is represented by a recipient or an employee of a recipient. A litigant in such a proceeding may refer any such question to the Corporation which shall review and dispose of the question promptly, and take appropriate action. This subparagraph shall not preclude judicial review available under applicable law.
If a recipient finds that any of its employees has violated or caused the recipient to violate the provisions of this subchapter or the rules, regulations, and guidelines promulgated pursuant to this subchapter, the recipient shall take appropriate remedial or disciplinary action in accordance with the types of procedures prescribed in the provisions of section 2996j of this title.
The Corporation shall not, under any provision of this subchapter, interfere with any attorney in carrying out his professional responsibilities to his client as established in the Canons of Ethics and the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association (referred to collectively in this subchapter as “professional responsibilities”) or abrogate as to attorneys in programs assisted under this subchapter the authority of a State or other jurisdiction to enforce the standards of professional responsibility generally applicable to attorneys in such jurisdiction. The Corporation shall ensure that activities under this subchapter are carried out in a manner consistent with attorneys’ professional responsibilities.
No attorney shall receive any compensation, either directly or indirectly, for the provision of legal assistance under this subchapter unless such attorney is admitted or otherwise authorized by law, rule, or regulation to practice law or provide such assistance in the jurisdiction where such assistance is initiated.
The Corporation shall insure that (A) no employee of the Corporation or of any recipient (except as permitted by law in connection with such employee’s own employment situation), while carrying out legal assistance activities under this subchapter, engage in, or encourage others to engage in, any public demonstration or picketing, boycott, or strike; and (B) no such employee shall, at any time, engage in, or encourage others to engage in, any of the following activities: (i) any rioting or civil disturbance, (ii) any activity which is in violation of an outstanding injunction of any court of competent jurisdiction, (iii) any other illegal activity, or (iv) any intentional identification of the Corporation or any recipient with any political activity prohibited by section 2996f(a)(6) of this title. The Board, within ninety days after its first meeting, shall issue rules and regulations to provide for the enforcement of this paragraph and section 2996f(a)(5) of this title, which rules shall include, among available remedies, provisions, in accordance with the types of procedures prescribed in the provisions of section 2996j of this title, for suspension of legal assistance supported under this subchapter, suspension of an employee of the Corporation or of any employee of any recipient by such recipient, and, after consideration of other remedial measures and after a hearing in accordance with section 2996j of this title, the termination of such assistance or employment, as deemed appropriate for the violation in question.
(c) Participation in litigation; lobbying activitiesThe Corporation shall not itself—
participate in litigation unless the Corporation or a recipient of the Corporation is a party, or a recipient is representing an eligible client in litigation in which the interpretation of this subchapter or a regulation promulgated under this subchapter is an issue, and shall not participate on behalf of any client other than itself; or
undertake to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by the Congress of the United States or by any State or local legislative bodies, except that personnel of the Corporation may testify or make other appropriate communication (A) when formally requested to do so by a legislative body, a committee, or a member thereof, or (B) in connection with legislation or appropriations directly affecting the activities of the Corporation.
(d) Miscellaneous prohibitions
The Corporation shall have no power to issue any shares of stock, or to declare or pay any dividends.
Neither the Corporation nor any recipient shall contribute or make available corporate funds or program personnel or equipment for use in advocating or opposing any ballot measures, initiatives, or referendums. However, an attorney may provide legal advice and representation as an attorney to any eligible client with respect to such client’s legal rights.
(e) Political activities of Corporation employees and staff attorneys
(f) Harassment; malicious abuse of legal process
References in Text
Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 95–222, § 6(a), designated existing provisions as subpar. (A) and added subpar. (B).
Subsec. (d)(6). Pub. L. 95–222, § 6(c), added par. (6).
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 95–222, § 8, substituted “the court shall” for “the court may”.