Chambers v. NASCO, Inc.
United States Supreme Court
501 U.S. 32 (1991)
In August 1983, G. Russell Chambers (defendant), the sole shareholder and director
of Calcasieu Television and Radio, Inc. (CTR), entered into a contract to sell
his station’s facilities and broadcast license to NASCO, Inc. (plaintiff) for
$18 million. The deal was subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the parties
agreed to file with the FCC by no later than September 23, 1983. Before filing,
however, Chambers decided that he wished to withdraw from the deal. Chambers
informed NASCO that he would not file any documents with the FCC. NASCO
notified Chambers that it would be filing suit against him and CTR for breach
of contract, and that it planned to request a temporary restraining order to
prevent Chambers from selling the facilities to a third party. From that point
forward, Chambers and his attorneys engaged in repeated unethical and abusive
conduct, intended to bully NASCO into submission. Despite frequent warnings and
several sanctions from the trial judge, neither Chambers nor his attorneys
relented in their activities. The district court found in NASCO’s favor, and
Chambers appealed. The court of appeals found the appeal frivolous, and
remanded the case for the trial court to determine the amount of sanctions to
be imposed. On remand, NASCO moved for sanctions. The trial court imposed
sanctions in the form of attorneys’ fees and costs, totaling $996,644.65; it
also suspended one of Chambers’ attorneys and disbarred another. Chambers
appealed, the court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Dissent (Kennedy, J.)
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