Sixth Circuit Orders Attorney Who Sued Judges to Show Cause or Face Sanctions
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an unusual and interesting opinion today in Larry E. Parrish P.C. v. Bennett. The opinion by Judge Griffin begins:
In this action, Larry E. Parrish, P.C., a Tennessee law firm (the “Parrish Firm”) sued three judges of the Tennessee Court of Appeals because they allegedly made false statements in a written opinion resolving an appeal to which the Parrish Firm was a party. Plaintiff claims that the false statements were a violation of its Fourteenth Amendment rights, but as a remedy, it seeks no damages or injunctive relief—instead, requesting only a declaration that defendants violated its constitutional rights.
The district court, however, granted defendants’ motion to dismiss, reasoning that it was “not a close issue” that it lacked jurisdiction, and that even if it had jurisdiction, dismissal was required by judicial immunity and the relevant statute of limitations. Finally, even ignoring these sizable defects, the district court concluded that the facts pleaded by plaintiff were insufficient to state a claim. Now on appeal, plaintiff primarily challenges the district court’s rulings regarding jurisdiction and judicial immunity. We affirm the judgment of the district court and direct plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel to show cause why sanctions should not be assessed against them on appeal.
That last little bit—the order that the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel show cause why they should not be required to pay sanctions—is quite unusual. In my view, show cause orders threatening to impose sanctions are too unusual, as courts are generally too reluctant to impose sanctions on attorneys who file frivolous or vexatious lawsuits.
The underlying facts are quite something. The Parrish firm was hired by Ms. Str
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