whether Mr. Oasin was subject to this court's disciplinary rules was evidence of his bad faith and warrants the imposition of sanctions. While the prudent lawyer might have determined whether Mr. Oasin had been admitted to practice before this Court prior to filing a motion to show cause, the Court finds that Mr. Friedman's conduct did not amount to a knowing attempt to harass his opponent.
Mr. Friedman's belief that Mr. Oasin was subject to this Court's disciplinary rules based largely upon Mr. Oasin's participation in related litigation before this Court. Mr. Oasin was identified as "Of Counsel" in interrogatory responses submitted in the related litigation. Moreover, Mr. Oasin was identified as a point of contact during the discovery process and participated in settlement discussions. While Mr. Oasin contends that these facts should not have led Mr. Friedman to believe that Mr. Oasin had been admitted to practice before this Court, his argument fails to convince the Court that Mr. Friedman either knew or should have known that Mr. Oasin had not been admitted, and filed the motion to show cause with that knowledge. Accordingly, Mr. Oasin's motion for costs and attorneys' fees arising from the motion to show cause is denied.
3. Multiplication of the Proceedings
Mr. Oasin also contends that Mr. Friedman has unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings in violation of the federal cost statute. Over the course of the litigation, the plaintiff has filed a variety of motions with the Court, including a motion to disqualify the defendant's counsel, a motion for a reconsideration of the court's order granting an extension of time in which the defendant could answer the complaint, a motion to take the deposition of the defendant, a motion to reconsider an order imposing sanctions, and the motion to show cause. Each of these motions was denied by the Court. Mr. Oasin argues that these actions amount to the sort of unreasonable and vexatious conduct prohibited by the federal cost statute.
In general, three requirements must be met before a court may impose sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927: "(1) a multiplication of proceedings by an attorney; (2) by conduct that can be characterized as unreasonable and vexatious; and (3) a resulting increase in the cost of proceedings." Baker Indus., 764 F.2d at 214 (Higginbotham, J., dissenting); Campana v. Muir, 615 F. Supp. 871, 874 (M.D. Pa. 1985). Moreover, the Third Circuit has read a bad faith or intentional misconduct requirement into the statute. Williams v. Giant Eagle Markets, Inc., 883 F.2d 1184, 1191 (3d Cir. 1989); Baker Indus., 764 F.2d at 208. Accordingly, unless the record reveals conduct "'of an egregious nature, stamped by bad faith that is violative of recognized standards in the conduct of litigation,'" there can be no liability under section 1927. Id. quoting Colucci v. New York Times Co., 533 F. Supp. 1011, 1014 (S.D.N.Y. 1982). Thus, while the plaintiff's motions have lacked merit, there is nothing to suggest that the motions were filed primarily for oppressive purposes. Since the record fails to reveal any bad faith on the part of the plaintiff, defendant's motion for costs and attorneys' fees is denied.
Accordingly, for the reasons enumerated above, the Court concludes that the defendant enjoys an absolute immunity from this lawsuit. As a result, the defendant's motion to dismiss must be granted. However, since the plaintiff's conduct during the course of this litigation did not reach the level of willful bad faith, the defendant's motion for costs and attorneys' fees is denied. An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 7th day of September, 1994, upon consideration of the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs, it is hereby ordered that the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and the Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs is DENIED for the reasons set forth in the preceding memorandum.
BY THE COURT:
J. Curtis Joyner, J.
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