Plagiarism in court papers can cost you

The ABA Journal recently posted an interesting story about a lawyer being sanctioned for plagiarism in an opposition to a motion. The court accepted the movants' accusation that "almost the entire text of the Opposition is taken from unidentified, unattributed sources." The court ruled that "this type of conduct is unacceptable and, in the Court's view, is sanctionable pursuant to its inherent powers." The sanction was $750.

One interesting twist is that the plaintiff's two lawyers disputed which of them was responsible for the plagiarized opposition. The court declined to delve into this factual dispute, and instead, imposed the sanction on the lawyer who signed the opposition.

It seems common for lawyers to borrow from the work of other lawyers and other sources. But this story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of that in the courtroom.

To read the ABA story, click here.

To read the court's opinion, click here.

-- Scott Stolley, Thompson & Knight