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Venesevich v. Leonard

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


January 6, 2009

DEBORAH K. VENESEVICH, PLAINTIFF
v.
MICHAEL J. LEONARD AND FRANCINE SEISLOVE, DEFENDANTS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

ORDER

AND NOW, this 6th day of January, 2008, upon consideration of plaintiff's motion to vacate (Doc. 23) footnote 2 of the memorandum and order (Doc. 22) dated December 19, 2008, in which the court identified numerous instances of mass appropriation of work product from judicial opinions without attribution (see id. at 5 n.2), and it appearing that plaintiff's counsel asserts that he is not responsible this misconduct because he retained an unidentified attorney to draft the brief, (see Doc. 23 at 3-4), and the court concluding that appropriation without attribution is immediately apparent from the face of the brief, (see Doc. 22 at 5 n.2), that Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure imposes a "'personal, non-delegable responsibility'" on the signer of a filing to perform a "reasonable inquiry into the contents of the pleading, motion, or other paper" to ensure that it complies with the signer's Rule 11 obligations, Garr v. U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 22 F.3d 1274, 1278 (3d Cir. 1994) (quoting Pavelic & LeFlore v. Marvel Entm't Group, 493 U.S. 120, 127 (1989)); Kramer v. Nowak, 908 F. Supp. 1281, 1293 (E.D. Pa. 1995) (stating that ultimate responsibility for validating the "truth and legal reasonableness" of court filings rests exclusively with the signer and that such responsibility cannot be delegated to other attorneys (quoting Pavelic, 493 U.S. at 126-27))*fn1 , and that the conduct of counsel's unidentified associate is therefore insufficient to vitiate counsel's personal responsibility for the filing, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion to vacate (Doc. 23) is DENIED.

CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER United States District Judge


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