Emerson v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court

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Justia Opinion Summary

This matter arose out of a multi-vehicle traffic accident, which led to a dispute over who was at fault for the accident. At trial, Phillip Emerson, the attorney of one of the defendants, made a series of statements to the jury that the Supreme Court later deemed improper and amounted to impermissible jury nullification. On remand, the matter was ultimately dismissed with prejudice. Afterwards, the district court granted the plaintiff's motion for sanctions and imposed sanctions on Emerson, personally. Emerson subsequently filed a petition for writ relief, requesting that the Supreme Court issue a writ directing the district court to vacate its order imposing sanctions. The Court denied writ relief, holding (1) the district court had jurisdiction to impose sanctions because a district court retains jurisdiction after a case is dismissed to consider sanctions for attorney misconduct that occurred prior to the dismissal; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing as a sanction attorney fees and costs incurred in the original trial.