Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rule 11 Sanctions Against Former Pa. Congressman Bailey

Former US Congressman and longtime Pennsylvania politician Don Bailey got whacked with a $10,000 Rule 11 sanction in US District Court for filing frivolous pleadings and motions according to a report at PennLive.com.  What follows is from Lauren Boyer's article which ran in the Patriot News:

A federal magistrate issued a $10,000 sanction on Harrisburg attorney [former congressman,] and former auditor general Don Bailey in a 56-page opinion accusing him of having a lengthy record of filing frivolous lawsuits.

'I’m under assault by judges,' Bailey said, who vowed to appeal. 'Will these judges get at me? I’m sure somehow some way. That’s the price I pay for what I do.' The sanction stems from an Adams County lawsuit in which Bailey’s client, David Lease, accused officials in Hamilton Twp. of retaliating against him through code enforcement of his property.   Last April, U.S. Middle District Chief Judge Yvette Kane found Bailey guilty of violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which prohibits filing actions that needlessly increase costs or lengths of litigation.  She then forwarded the case to U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson to decide the proper penalty.

Carlson ordered Bailey to pay the defense $10,000, reimbursement for 50 hours of work at $200 per hour by attorney Sean E. Summers of the York-based Barley Snyder, LLC.  Joanne Ross Wilder, a Pittsburgh attorney who chairs the Pennsylvania Bar Association Ethics Committee, called such sanctions 'very unusual.' 'I don’t know anybody who has been sanctioned for repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits,' Wilder said. 'It strains the resources of the court that are needed for legitimate ones.'

In ordering the reimbursement, Carlson lists nine other cases where he believes Bailey is responsible for 'filing inappropriate submissions, presenting unfounded allegations, submitting frivolous and unsupported legal arguments, vexatious litigation engaging in unwarranted personal invective and plagiarism.''

A civil rights lawyer since 1988, Bailey said he will appeal these 'ludicrous' charges, which he attributes to a court bias against him for uncovering a truck manufacturing scheme in the 1980s that he said tarnished reputations in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.  Bailey served in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1983 until re-districting eliminated his seat in Westmoreland County. He was defeated in campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate. He served one term as Pennsylvania auditor general from 1985 to 1989.

Bailey said no amount of sanctions will stop him from defending “citizens and public officials who are punished because they’re whistleblowers.' 'I am an American,' he said. 'I will stand up for my rights. When my clients come to me and they want representation, they’ll get it. I don’t care what they do to me, they’re not going to stop justice in America.”
I don't know a thing about former Congressman Bailey. 

I looked at his Wikipedia page, and I am getting the image of a pretty smart guy with some serious blue collar roots.  Bailey is quoted at Wikipedia as saying he's an "equal opportunity suer," which is sort of like admitting that he's a loose cannon--always an invitation to getting sanctioned.  

Do not shoot from the hip in US District Court and think you will escape sanctions.  Rule 11 is a trap for wellmeaning but inexperienced or inept counsel.  That's why it was laughable that Orly Taitz thought she could just file any silliness and get away with it.  Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a lawyer "cerifiy" by their signature that their pleadings and motions have  a good basis. 

Words mean something--even if you were a congressman.


  1. we have had 7 lawsuits and all about the same, but the powers that be allow it in this Northeast Pa. CORRUPT area///

  2. I know judge carlson he is a man of integredy and is one of the most honest and kind people you will ever meet he treats the custodian were he work with just as much respect as he does his fellow judges he also is well edjucated having worked as a us atterney alot longer then he has a judge I read his conclution to this traial else were it is one of the most well thought out document I have ever read .


  4. BAILEY is an awful attorney. He sued me without researching the facts and now I am waiting for the Third Circuit to order him to reimburse me for legal fees.

  5. Thanks for Mr Bailey. Ever worked your ass off and watched the competiter down the street get around spending legal fees,engineering fees,hearing fees on exspansion Because they have friends(good ole boys).Imagine that it happens to your kids when you leave the business to them proudly.You were not a social or local lifer and your expansion was declined by the town. Your requests were less than other socially connected competiters business requests.You cannot believe this happened to you. You go to 5 lawyers in town and they say that you have to live with this.They fear retaliation against the town in their future land developement requests if they Rep Your case.This is a hurtful and hopeless feeling.I found Bailey and I am proud somone is good enough to stand up for my rights. For a long time I doubted this was the America I loved and Was proud to live in.Feels good someone still is passinette about rights over social grace. God bless Bailey because Im sure he could make more money repping DUI,Class Action,Auto Accident.Hes the real Deal.

  6. Attorney Bailey's patriotism, integrity and commitment to the principles upon which this great Nation was founded is inspiring. He is deserving of praises not sanctions.

  7. This country would be in better moral- and thus economic shape if there were more politicians with Don Bailey's integrity. Whoever seeks to penalize him for his propriety is guilty of treason.

  8. Bailey by far is a true American hero and these corrupt judges in the Middle District are simply trying to silence him so they can continue with their corruption without being held accountable by anyone. If America had more attorneys like Bailey, there would be a lot less judicial corruption and other nonsense happening. Someone needs to go after these crooked judges. Bailey should be praised, honored, and protected, not punished. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  9. A lawyer's personal satisfaction must come from helping others achieve a desired result or avoid or ameliorate the consequences of a difficult situation. A lawyer must provide th client with sufficient information concerning all possible alternatives to allow the client to make an informed decision.

  10. Was this the start to why Bailey is being attacked?

  11. This man is a hero to us all. He has been fighting for peoples rights and is being attacked. How can any one dispute his credibility, because they are afraid of being caught in the web.