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Legal Memorandum: Attorney's Right to an Interlocutory Appeal

Issue: Under the laws of the U.S. Virgin Islands, does an attorney have the right to an interlocutory appeal over the imposition of sanctions, or must he or she wait until final judgment has been rendered?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Interlocutory appeal; Imposition of sanctions
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 472 U.S. 424
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 07/01/2007

Both the Supreme Court and the federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit have recognized an attorney’s independent right and interest to appeal the imposition of sanctions, but must await final judgment in the matter before so appealing.  Cunningham v. Hamilton County, Ohio, 527 U.S. 198 (1999); Richardson-Merrell Inc. v. Koller, 472 U.S. 424, 430 (1985).  Moreover, even when sanctions are not imposed, an attorney has standing to appeal any decision that calls his or her professional conduct into question or otherwise threatens his or her professional reputation.  Bowers v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 475 F.3d 524, 542-43 (3d Cir. 2007) (recognizing that monetary sanctions are not necessary to establish attorney standing); see also Weeks v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. I-89, 230 F.3d 1201, 1207 (10th Cir. 2000) (“Counsel have standing to appeal orders that directly aggrieve them” and cause “damage to [her] professional reputation.”); Butler, 348 F.3d at 1169 (“an order finding that an attorney has committed an ethical violation but not imposing any other sanction, monetary or otherwise, can be appealed as a final order”). 

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