Sunday, November 24, 2013

Young v. City of Providence ex rel. Napolitano case brief

Young v. City of Providence ex rel. Napolitano case brief summary
404 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 2005)

In the course of a civil rights action, the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island determined that three attorneys for the plaintiff had violated Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. The district court revoked the pro hac vice status of the two attorneys who were not members of the court's bar and formally censured one of the two. The three attorneys appealed.

The civil rights action grew out of a tragedy that occurred in January 2000 in Providence, Rhode Island. Two police officers, responding to the scene of a nighttime disturbance at a restaurant, shot and killed an off-duty officer, who, with his weapon drawn, was attempting to assist them.


  • The district court issued an order finding that all three counsel had violated Rule 11. 
  • In describing the background, the order pointed out that defense counsel's version of events suggested that plaintiff's counsel had enjoyed more detailed and specific warnings that the defense disputed the accuracy of the diagram than had previously been advertised. 
  • However, the judge did not resolve any disputes on this score or rely upon such omissions in finding the Rule 11 violations. 
  • Rather, the Rule 11 findings focused solely upon two specific "misrepresentations" in the memorandum. 
  • The instant court found that the findings that plaintiff's counsel violated Rule 11 could not stand. 
  • The instant court reasoned that the district court made no definitive findings as to what warnings were given and when.
The findings of Rule 11 violations were set aside. The sanction and admonition were vacated, and the pro hac vice status of the two attorneys was restored.

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