Rule 1023.1. Scope. Signing of Documents. Representations to the Court. Violation.
(a) Rules 1023.1 through 1023.4 do not apply to disclosures and discovery requests, responses, objections and discovery motions that are subject to the provisions of general rules.
(b) Every pleading, written motion, and other paper directed to the court shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorneys individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. This rule shall not be construed to suspend or modify the provisions of Rule 1024 or Rule 1029(e).
(c) The signature of an attorney or pro se party constitutes a certificate that the signatory has read the pleading, motion, or other paper. By signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating such a document, the attorney or pro se party certifies that, to the best of that persons knowledge, information and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation,
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law,
(3) the factual allegations have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual allegations are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.
(d) If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that subdivision (c) has been violated, the court may, subject to the conditions stated in Rules 1023.2 through 1023.4, impose an appropriate sanction upon any attorneys, law firms and parties that have violated subdivision (c) or are responsible for the violation.
The court in its discretion at any stage of the proceedings may deny a motion for sanctions without hearing or argument.
The grant or denial of relief (e.g., grant or denial of preliminary objections, motion for summary judgment or discovery application) does not, of itself, ordinarily warrant the imposition of sanctions against the party opposing or seeking the relief.
In most circumstances, a motion for sanctions with respect to factual allegations should be addressing whether there is evidentiary support for claims or defenses rather than whether there is evidentiary support for each specific factual allegation in a pleading or motion.
The inclusion in the rule of a provision for an appropriate sanction is designed to prevent the abuse of litigation. The rule is not a fee-shifting rule per se although the award of reasonable attorneys fees may be an appropriate sanction in a particular case.
The provision requiring that a motion under this rule be filed before the entry of final judgment in the trial court is intended to carry out the objective of expeditious disposition and to eliminate piecemeal appeals. Where appropriate, such motions should be filed as soon as practicable after discovery of the violation.
The following provisions of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S., provide additional relief from dilatory or frivolous proceedings: (1) Section 2503 relating to the right of participants to receive counsel fees and (2) Section 8351 et seq. relating to wrongful use of civil proceedings.
(e) Section 8355 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 8355, is suspended absolutely, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of 1968, Article V, Section 10(c).
Section 8355 of the Judicial Code provides for the certification of pleadings, motions and other papers.
The provisions of this Rule 1023.1 adopted April 22, 2002, effective July 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2315; amended April 2, 2003, effective June 1, 2003, 33 Pa.B. 1926. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (288324) to (288325).
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