Ridder (plaintiff) filed suit against the City of Springfield (defendant) and various county and city officials in connection with his arrest for rape and related charges. After protracted litigation resulting in summary judgment for Springfield on all counts, Springfield filed motions for sanctions and attorney’s fees pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 11 and 28 U.S.C. § 1927, respectively. Springfield acknowledged that it failed to satisfy the requisite safe-harbor period in Rule 11, arguing it would have been an “empty formality” given Ridder’s vigorous defense even after it became clear that there was no factual or legal basis for his suit against Springfield. The magistrate judge agreed, denying Ridder’s motion to stay the decision pending an appeal of the case and granting Springfield’s motion for sanctions and attorney’s fees. Ridder appealed.