United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
April 4, 2017, the court granted defendant CUNA Mutual
Insurance Society's motion for summary judgment, entered
judgment in CUNA Mutual's favor, and closed this case.
Dkt. 45 and Dkt. 46. Several days later, CUNA Mutual moved
for sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Dkt.
47. CUNA Mutual wants its reasonable attorney fees and
expenses because plaintiff Gary Wrolstad's discrimination
claims were frivolous and unsupported, and he should have
withdrawn them before the court had to rule on CUNA
Mutual's motion for summary judgment.
a close call. But one of Wrolstad's claims had minimally
arguable merit, so the court will deny the motion for Rule 11
Mutual moved for summary judgment on November 30, 2016. Dkt.
10. On February 6, 2017, shortly after the parties had
completed briefing, CUNA Mutual sent Wrolstad's attorney
a draft Rule 11 motion. Dkt. 49-1. In a cover letter, CUNA
Mutual stated that Wrolstad's “continued
prosecution of his age discrimination claims relating to the
elimination of his position and his non-selection for the
various other positions violates the provisions of Rule
11(b)(2), (3) and (4), . . . as set forth in the enclosed
draft Rule 11 motion.” Id. at 1.
Wrolstad's counsel reviewed her case and the draft Rule
11 motion and decided to voluntarily withdraw four of
Wrolstad's discrimination claims. Counsel determined that
“there is no reason to proceed on four of the five
positions Plaintiff alleged he did not received in this case
. . . . We believe there are genuine factual issues for the
pension participant support specialist position. Thus, we are
not willing to dismiss the age case.” Dkt. 49-2.
Wrolstad did not withdraw all of his discrimination claims,
CUNA Mutual deposed him. In March, after Wrolstad's
deposition, CUNA Mutual again asked Wrolstad to drop his
claim based on CUNA Mutual's failure to hire Wrolstad as
a pension participant support specialist (PPSS). Dkt. 49-3.
Wrolstad declined. Dkt. 49-4.
By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or
other paper-whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later
advocating it-an attorney or unrepresented party certifies
that to the best of the person's knowledge, information,
and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such
as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase
the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are
warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for
extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for
establishing new law;
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if
specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary
support after a reasonable opportunity for further
investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the
evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably
based on belief or a lack of information.
court determines that an attorney or a party has violated
Rule 11(b), the court may impose sanctions. Fed.R.Civ.P.
11(c)(1). Sanctions “must be limited to what suffices
to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by
others similarly situated, ” and the court may award
reasonable attorney fees ...