By Steve McKenney
Michigan state court litigators are familiar with MCR 2.114, the court rule that, among other things, authorizes the court to impose sanctions against a party or an attorney for filing any paper with the court that is not well grounded in fact or warranted by existing law. MCR 2.114 is the main tool courts use to punish parties and attorneys for taking a frivolous position in a case. It is one of the few statutes or court rules that allow a court to say that one party must pay for the other party’s attorney fees.
But take a look at your state court rules under MCR 2.114 and you will see something strange: “Repealed effective September 1, 2018.”
What? Are sanctions for signing a frivolous paper or pleading no longer available?
The quick answer is no. While MCR 2.114 has been “repealed” all of its substantive portions can now be found in MCR 1.109. The decision to move MCR 2.114 (and some other court rules) into new MCR 1,.09 was motivated by the goal “to, for the first time, include most filing requirements in one single rule, instead of scattered in various rules.” (Staff Comment to 2018 Amendment of MCR 1.109). Indeed, new MCR 1.109 contains a number of standards regarding how papers are filed with the court, including standards on e-filing; paper and font sizes; caption requirements; verification (including the new declaration rule); requirements for filing documents under seal; e-service; and all of the substance of the rule formerly known as MCR 2.114.
So, the next time you find yourself asking the court to impose sanctions on the opposing party or attorney for filing a pleading or paper not well grounded in fact or law, be sure to cite the correct court rule: MCR 1.109.