Wong v. LuuAnnotate this Case
In the underlying case, certain parties moved for sanctions against Attorney on the grounds that he had violated the rules of professional conduct and interfered with the effective administration of justice. The judge ordered Attorney to reimburse all parties their attorney’s fees as a sanction for his misconduct. The judge assessed attorney’s fees against Attorney without the authority of any statute or rule, in the absence of any violation of a court order or rule of procedure, and in the absence of any contractual arrangement among the parties authorizing the assessment of attorney’s fees. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the judge’s order imposing sanctions, holding (1) a judge may exercise the court’s inherent power to sanction an attorney by imposing attorney’s fees only if the attorney has engaged in misconduct that threatens the fair administration of justice and the sanction is necessary to preserve the judge’s authority to administer justice; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the judge abused his discretion in exercising the court’s inherent powers to sanction Attorney.