The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Thomas J. Whelan United States District Judge
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RULE 11 SANCTIONS (DOC. 38)
Pending before the Court is Defendant Detroit Diesel Corporation's ("DDC") motion for sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Plaintiff Eugene Genchev opposes.
The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See S.D. Cal Civ. R. 7.1(d.1). For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the motion. (Doc. 38.)
The factual background has been addressed in the Court's previous orders, and thus need not be repeated here. It is sufficient to state that this lawsuit arises out of mechanical problems with two Freightliner tractors that Plaintiff Eugene Genchev purchased in 2004 and 2005.
After attempts to repair the tractors, Genchev eventually filed a lawsuit against Freightliner, LLC, for failing to disclose known non-conformities with the tractors, and for failing to pay for certain warrantied repairs (the "Freightliner Action"). Freightliner's warranties expressly excluded problems with the tractors' engines. Accordingly, after prevailing at trial and settling with Freightliner, Genchev filed this lawsuit against DDC, who manufactured and warrantied the tractors' engines.
DDC now seeks Rule 11 sanctions against Genchev. DDC's two primary grounds for sanctions are: (1) Genchev is attempting to relitigate claims and items of damages that were raised in the Freightliner Action; and (2) Genchev continues to ignore controlling Ninth Circuit precedent. The Court will address each issue separately.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 provides that "[e]very pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name...." Fed.R.Civ.P 11(a). In signing the document, the attorney certifies that the pleading, written motion or other paper, 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 litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a nonfirvolous 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.
Id. 11(b). Upon a determination that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court "may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party ...