Friday, April 29, 2011

Wanna get sanctioned?

If you want to get sanctioned, bring a lawsuit that drives the Court of Appeals up the wall. Say, a truther lawsuit that alleges that the Bush administration orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

The case is Gallop v. Cheney, decided on April 27. Gallop worked at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Her child was in the building that day. She and her child were injured. The lawsuit says that "former senior government officials caused the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States in order to (a) create a political atmosphere in which they could pursue domestic and international policy objectives and (b) conceal the misallocation of $2.3 trillion in congressional appropriations to the Department of Defense." More specifically, the Court of Appeals (Cabranes, Winter and Walker) says:

the Complaint hypothesizes a fantastical alternative history to the widely accepted account of the “explosion” that injured Gallop and killed hundreds of other men and women inside the Pentagon. Among other things, Gallop’s complaint alleges that American Airlines Flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon - indeed, that no plane crashed into the Pentagon. Complaint para. 4 (“[T]he official story, that a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon and exploded . . . is false.”). Instead, the Complaint alleges that the United States” most senior military and civilian leaders "cause[d] and arrange[d] for high explosive charges to be detonated inside the Pentagon, and/or a missile of some sort to be fired at the building . . . to give the false impression that hijackers had crashed the plane into the building, as had apparently happened in New York.” Complaint para. 3

This is poppycock, the Court of Appeals says. Since the Complaint contains "pure speculation and conjecture," "unsupported assumptions" and "fails to plausibly allege the existence of a conspiracy among defendants," the district court properly dismissed the case. But the Court of Appeals takes it step further. The district court did not sanction the plaintiff and her attorney. Finding that "this appeal, to say nothing of the original complaint, was 'brought without the slightest chance of success," the Second Circuit sua sponte imposes sanctions, ordering them to show cause why they should not be sanctioned in the amount of $15,000, to be divided among plaintiff and counsel.

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