The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the judge did not follow the procedural requirements for imposing sanctions, i.e., $10,000 in attorney’s fees to defendant’s counsel, to be paid by plaintiff’s counsel:
The motion court’s sua sponte award of sanctions against plaintiff’s counsel did not satisfy the procedural requirements of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Court (22 NYCRR) § 130-1. That section provides that a court may award costs or impose sanctions “upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard” … and “only upon a written decision setting forth the conduct on which the award or imposition is based, the reasons why the court found the conduct to be frivolous, and the reasons why the court found the amount awarded or imposed to be appropriate” … . DeSouza v Manhattan RX LLC, 2022 NY Slip Op 01875, First Dept 3-17-22
Practice Point: Before a judge can impose sanctions, here ordering plaintiff’s attorney to pay counsel fees in the amount of $10,000 to defendant’s attorney, the relevant rules in 22 NYCRR 130-1 must be complied with, i.e., affording an opportunity to be heard and issuing a written decision explaining the conduct, why it was found frivolous and the reasons for the amount awarded or imposed.