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Lawyer reprimanded by DC Ethics Committee for ‘frivolous’ sanctions offer

  • DC Disciplinary Lawyer Says John Lillard Filed Unsubstantiated Penalties Motion
  • He was found guilty of breaching several rules of professional conduct

(Reuters) – The Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Washington, DC, has issued an informal reprimand to a lawyer who it says sought sanctions against opposing counsel without a legal basis to do so.

The ODC last month said Maryland attorney John Lillard’s motion for sanctions was ‘frivolous’ and said he failed to ensure his arguments were supported by law, in violation Rules of conduct for DC attorneys, including the competence of attorneys.

During proceedings for a proposed class action lawsuit he filed against engineering firm Stantec Inc. in 2020, Lillard said he was subjected to abusive actions and harassment by the opposing counsel and requested sanctions.

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The claims came after Stantec filed a motion to sanction Lillard for making false claims in an order and misserving a subpoena.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which heard the litigation, said Lillard’s motion for sanctions lacked “legal authority” and did not identify any “procedural, professional, or statutory rules” that were allegedly violated. by opposing counsel.

The court sanctioned Lillard in January 2021. It also agreed to dismiss the proposed class action lawsuit underlying Lillard’s claim.

The ODC said Lillard also violated a rule prohibiting attorneys from engaging in conduct that interferes with the administration of justice when the court was asked to consider “multiple frivolous and deficient motions for sanctions on the procedural plan”.

The office said that in issuing the warning, rather than formal disciplinary charges, it took into account Lillard’s cooperation with the investigation and agreement with the warning.

Lillard declined to comment on the warning. An ODC representative did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Chinekwu Osakwe

Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on mid-sized law firms. Contact her at [email protected]