Legal Memorandum: Sanctions for Issuing a Subpoena

Issue: Under what circumstances does the proposed revision of Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 support imposition of sanctions for the issuance of a subpoena?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Issuing a subpoena; Imposition of sanctions
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 838 F.2d 718; 493 U.S. 120; 496 U.S. 384
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 11; Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1)(B)
Date: 02/01/2001

In August 1990, the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules initially called for comments on Fed. R. Civ. P. 11.  In August 1991, the Advisory Committee submitted a draft revision of Rule 11 for public comment.  Public hearings on the draft were held through February 1992, followed by another period for further comments.  The Advisory Committee then made further changes in the draft, and in April 1992 submitted the proposed Rule 11 to its parent committee, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.  In June 1992, the Standing Committee adopted the proposed revision with one significant change:  In section (c) of the rule, it substituted "may" for "shall" in the provision authorizing a court to impose sanctions for a violation of the rule, thereby making imposition of sanctions discretionary with the court rather than mandatory.

Following approval by the Standing Committee, the proposed rule was sent to the Judicial Conference, the policy-making arm of the federal judiciary.  The Conference is chaired by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and is comprised of the chief judges from each of the circuit courts of appeals and one district court judge from each circuit.  In September 1992, the Conference approved the proposed rule as submitted by the Standing Committee.  On November 27, 1992, the revision was submitted to the United States Supreme Court for review.  The Supreme Court has until May 1, 1993 to send the proposed rule […]

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