Marc Elias denies “unprecedented” sanctions order of the 5th district


  • Paul Clement von Kirkland, who represents the former Perkins Coie partner, applies to the en banc court to take up the panel’s sanctions order
  • Petition argues that the sanction warrant sends “a chilling message” to the lawyers

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(Reuters) – Attorney Marc Elias on Monday called on the US Court of Appeals to reconsider its March decision to impose sanctions on him and two other lawyers, calling the reprimand “unprecedented” and claiming it would be far-reaching “chilling” “Will have consequences if left in place.

Attorneys for Elias, an electoral and voting lawyer for the Democrats, urged the 5th Circuit in New Orleans to take the dispute as a full court.

“Professional courts generally reserve sanctions for outrageous misconduct and disregard of clearly defined rules. But not here, ”wrote Paul Clement, Kirkland & Ellis partner representing Elias, on Monday’s filing. A 5th District split panel “sanctioned attorneys for faults in good faith” resulting from “misunderstandings” of the rules of procedure, Clement wrote.

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Judges have extensive powers to oversee the conduct of attorneys who appear before them. Sanction disputes are more common in court than in appeals.

Clement and Elias did not immediately respond on Tuesday with requests for comments. Clement also represents the other two attorneys who were sanctioned, Perkins Coie partner Bruce Spiva and attorney Skyler Howton, who also did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.

Elias left Perkins Coie in August with a group of colleagues to start the election company Elias Law Group.

In the underlying case, Elias represents the Texas Democrats, who support the direct vote. Texas appealed an injunction preventing the state from enforcing a law to overturn such votes in September 2020.

The sanctions fight focuses on Elias’ attempt to make certain statements about legal status in the voting process. An application committee of the 5th district on September 30, 2020 rejected the offer. The team later submitted an almost identical application without acknowledging the earlier rejection. The submissions were made a second time in response to the ongoing arguments from Texas.

In its sanctioning order, the 5th District said the “inexplicable failure to disclose the earlier denial of their application violated their duty to be open to the court.” The court sentenced the sanctioned attorneys to pay $ 8,700 in legal fees on December 13.

A Texas attorney did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.

Clement said the sanctions warrant was “a chilling message” to the lawyers on appeal.

“If appeals sanctions are not reserved for outrageous errors, deviating from clear rules, but extend to regrettable omissions, then legal practice is dumbfounded and customers are billed for innumerable unnecessary cross-checks,” wrote Clement.

The case is Texas Alliance for Retired Americans v Hughes in U.S. 5th Court of Appeals, No. 20-40643.

For plaintiffs: Marc Elias from Elias Law Group and Bruce Spiva from Perkins Coie

For Defendants: Judd Stone II of the Texas Attorney General’s Office

Continue reading:

Elias is leaving Perkins Coie, the company says will continue the political legal practice

5th Circuit maintains sanctions against Marc Elias in the voting process

5th Circuit maintains $ 6.7 million in fees on litigants in litigation

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