Cleveland Hair Clinic, Inc. v. Puig

200 F.3d 1063 (2000)

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Cleveland Hair Clinic, Inc. v. Puig

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
200 F.3d 1063 (2000)

Facts

Michael Tinaglia represented Carlos J. Puig (defendant) in a federal action brought by Cleveland Hair Clinic, Inc. (CHC) (plaintiff). In the federal action, CHC alleged that Puig breached a contract with CHC and breached fiduciary duties owed to CHC. Tinaglia, on behalf of Puig, motioned the district court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to access CHC’s records. The district court denied the TRO and scheduled a preliminary-injunction hearing. Tinaglia determined that the district court was unlikely to grant Puig access to the records. In an attempt to circumvent the impending unfavorable ruling from the district court, Tinaglia tried to gain access to CHC’s records via a state-court action. Tinaglia’s law office drafted the papers to be filed in state court. Rodney Haenschen, Puig’s employee, was not sued in the federal action. The state-court papers prepared by Tinaglia named Haenschen as the plaintiff. Richard Malmin, a manager of CHC, was the only defendant named in the state-court complaint. Tinaglia’s friend Joseph Curcio agreed to be the attorney of record in the state-court action. CHC discovered Tinaglia’s plans and immediately filed a motion in the federal action to add Haenschen as a defendant and to enjoin Haenschen from pursuing any claims anywhere other than in the federal action. Upon receipt of CHC’s motion, Tinaglia contacted Haenschen, who immediately traveled to Tinaglia’s law office to sign blank pages so that Haenschen’s signature could be used for a revised version of the state-court complaint. Tinaglia’s law office faxed the revised state-court complaint with Haenschen’s signature to Curcio, who rushed to the state court to file the papers. Simultaneously, the district court held a hearing on CHC’s motion. During the hearing, Tinaglia denied having represented or spoken to Haenschen that day and did not mention the impending state-court filing. CHC motioned for sanctions. The district court granted the motion and imposed monetary sanctions on Tinaglia. Tinaglia appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Evans, J.)

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