ORCP 17 – SIGNING OF PLEADINGS, MOTIONS AND OTHER PAPERS; SANCTIONS

SIGNING OF PLEADINGS, MOTIONS AND OTHER PAPERS; SANCTIONS

RULE 17

A Signing by party or attorney; certificate. Every pleading, motion and other document of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record who is an active member of the Oregon State Bar. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign the pleading, motion or other document and state the address of the party. The signature for filings may be in the form approved for electronic filing in accordance with these rules or any other rule of court. Pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit or declaration.

B Pleadings, motions and other papers not signed. If a pleading, motion or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant.

C Certifications to court.

C(1) An attorney or party who signs, files or otherwise submits an argument in support of a pleading, motion or other document makes the certifications to the court identified in subsections (2) to (5) of this section, and further certifies that the certifications are based on the person’s reasonable knowledge, information and belief, formed after the making of such inquiry as is reasonable under the circumstances.

C(2) A party or attorney certifies that the pleading, motion or other document is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

C(3) An attorney certifies that the claims, defenses, and other legal positions taken in the pleading, motion or other document are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.

C(4) A party or attorney certifies that the allegations and other factual assertions in the pleading, motion or other document are supported by evidence. Any allegation or other factual assertion that the party or attorney does not wish to certify to be supported by evidence must be specifically identified. The attorney or party certifies that the attorney or party reasonably believes that an allegation or other factual assertion so identified will be supported by evidence after further investigation and discovery.

C(5) The party or attorney certifies that any denials of factual assertion are supported by evidence. Any denial of factual assertion that the party or attorney does not wish to certify to be supported by evidence must be specifically identified. The attorney or party certifies that the attorney or party believes that a denial of a factual assertion so identified is reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.

D Sanctions.

D(1) The court may impose sanctions against a person or party who is found to have made a false certification under section C of this rule, or who is found to be responsible for a false certification under section C of this rule. A sanction may be imposed under this section only after notice and an opportunity to be heard are provided to the party or attorney. A law firm is jointly liable for any sanction imposed against a partner, associate or employee of the firm, unless the court determines that joint liability would be unjust under the circumstances.

D(2) Sanctions may be imposed under this section upon motion of a party or upon the court’s own motion. If the court seeks to impose sanctions on its own motion, the court shall direct the party or attorney to appear before the court and show cause why the sanctions should not be imposed. The court may not issue an order to appear and show cause under this subsection at any time after the filing of a voluntary dismissal, compromise or settlement of the action with respect to the party or attorney against whom sanctions are sought to be imposed.

D(3) A motion by a party to the proceeding for imposition of sanctions under this section must be made separately from other motions and pleadings, and must describe with specificity the alleged false certification. A motion for imposition of sanctions based on a false certification under subsection C(4) of this rule may not be filed until 120 days after the filing of a complaint if the alleged false certification is an allegation or other factual assertion in a complaint filed within 60 days of the running of the statute of limitations for a claim made in the complaint. Sanctions may not be imposed against a party until at least 21 days after the party is served with the motion in the manner provided by Rule 9. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the court may not impose sanctions against a party if, within 21 days after the motion is served on the party, the party amends or otherwise withdraws the pleading, motion, document or argument in a manner that corrects the false certification specified in the motion. If the party does not amend or otherwise withdraw the pleading, motion, document or argument but thereafter prevails on the motion, the court may order the moving party to pay to the prevailing party reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party by reason of the motion for sanctions.

D(4) Sanctions under this section must be limited to amounts sufficient to reimburse the moving party for attorney fees and other expenses incurred by reason of the false certification, including reasonable attorney fees and expenses incurred by reason of the motion for sanctions, and upon clear and convincing evidence of wanton misconduct amounts sufficient to deter future false certification by the party or attorney and by other parties and attorneys. The sanction may include monetary penalties payable to the court. The sanction must include an order requiring payment of reasonable attorney fees and expenses incurred by the moving party by reason of the false certification.

D(5) An order imposing sanctions under this section must specifically describe the false certification and the grounds for determining that the certification was false. The order must explain the grounds for the imposition of the specific sanction that is ordered.

E Rule not applicable to discovery. This rule does not apply to any motion, pleading or conduct that is subject to sanction under Rule 46.

[CCP 12/2/78; amended by 1979 c.284 §14; §A amended by CCP 12/8/84; amended by CCP 12/13/86; amended by 1987 c.774 §12; amended by 1995 c.618 §4; §D amended by CCP 12/14/96; §A amended by 2003 c.194 §7; §§A,C,D amended by 2007 c.129 §§27,28,29; §A amended by CCP 12/1/12]

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