Are lies in a complaint and then in a summary adjudication motion enough for contempt of court? Sanctions?

Asked over 1 year ago - Los Angeles, CA

The number and brazenness of the lies in opposing counsel's documents is hard to believe. She has lied about a wide range of things. When can I say, "Judge, I can't respond. I'd use up my entire brief just refuting all her lies"? It's as if we're on two different planets. The question is whether I can get the judge to compare the allegations to the exhibits that supposedly support them. Aren't all those lies an insult to the judge and a form of contempt? Should I go for contempt or for sanctions--e.g., dismissal. Also, I thought I would file an exhibit titled "Plaintiff's Lies to This Court." Bad idea? Would it help if I said "Misrepresentations"?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Paul Y. Lee

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . Litigation is filled with parties contending the opposing side is blatantly lying. Many times such allegation are accurate. Sometimes lies and untruths are brazen and an affront to a orderly administration of justice. However, it is rare for parties to be held in contempt for lying or be prosecuted for perjury. Courts will award sanctions for failing to comply with a court order or sometimes for lying to the court in a manner that is immediately apparent to the court based on the court's own experience . However, as a general rule a court is unlikely to go through the pleadings or papers on file to uncover lies or take action based on such papers. You will be better served to channel you energy toward exposing the opponent as a non-credible and untrustworthy witness when the case gets in front of a jury.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not... more
  2. Michael Charles Doland

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Lee gives a really great answer.

    Focus on credability and proof of your own facts. If you are facing a summary adjudication motion you will be very busy.

    One reason to have an attorney, and I understand budgets are always a concern, is that they are totally unemotional about the facts and focused only on prevailing or a favorable settlement.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
  3. Michael Raymond Daymude

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . I agree with each of my colleagues' responses. I write only to point out that you do yourself a disservice by focusing on "lies" as opposed to the merits of the MSJ and the evidence which disputes the undisputed facts.

    Lies will be apparent to the judge from the evidence. Judges are fact finders and determine what is a lie and what is not. You should not attempt to usurp the role of the judge. Let the evidence speak and the misrepresentations will speak for themselves. I should also note that not all misrepresentations are of equal importance. There are probably only a few material facts which are actually disputed. Focus on those issues and forget the ones of no material value.

    On a slightly different note, be certain you follow the rules regarding the separate statement and page limitations regarding your points and authorities. Good luck.

    BTW, forget sanctions and contempt of court. Those are for the judge and ordered in very limited situations for failure to follow procedural rules or orders.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  4. James Carl Eschen III

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . I agree with all the other answers. I will just point out that you should not use the word "lie" or "misrepresentation." In your brief, you say, "Adversary asserts X. But the evidence shows Y." You then cite the evidence.

    If you do it enough, the judge will get the point, and you will get props for handling the issue in such a professional manner.

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