(Feb 2, 2012) In an en banc ruling today, the New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that that two other lawyers involved in the filing of a 9/11 case described by a U.S. District Court judge as a "cynical delusion and fantasy" should pay a substantial penalty for filing a frivolous complaint.
The court eliminated sanctions previously imposed against local counsel Mustapha Ndanusa, who played only a minor role in the filing of a 2008 lawsuit accusing then-vice president Dick Cheney and secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld of causing the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
But by doing so, the appeals court apparently increased the penalty that attorneys Dennis Cunningham and William Veale must pay. The court agreed with an earlier 2nd Circuit panel that the lawyers should be jointly and severally liable for a $15,000 monetary sanction and double the government's defense costs, according to Reuters. Hence, because the same penalty now presumably will be split between two lawyers rather than three, the burden on Cunningham and Veale will be heavier.