Yesterday on the Michigan Family Law Section's Listserv, Judge Hammond stated in response to a query about the award of sanctions for bad faith pleading / litigation:
"An old - but still solid - rule is "follow the money". The pocket-book nerve is the second most sensitive nerve in the human being. (The kid nerve comes first, in normal people.) Making a client (and even more so, an attorney) pay money for his or her sins is a very effective way of getting someone's attention."
Just prior to his death, Greg Justis sent me an opinion from a case before Judge Johnson in Emmet County.
[Greg represented the wife in this case.] Significant sanctions were awarded after a motion hearing by husband to reduce the interim alimony. In an interesting footnote, the judge makes it clear that he thought that the lawyer for the husband either fueled the fire or should have had better client control. [My usual description of that type of argument is: "I may look stupid, but don't talk to me stupid."]
At any rate, it'd be kind of nice to know how the sanctions -- apparently somewhere around $3500 to $5000 -- were divided between the lawyer and client. It would also be good to know whether Judge Johnson's early intervention helped to get the case back on track and to eliminate the scorched earth litigation style that only fueled animosity and did little to advance resolution of the parties' legitimate issues.
You can read this Emmet County Opinion in Joy v Joy here.
To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here.