Willy v. Coastal Corp., 503 U.S. 131, 7 (1992)

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Cite as: 503 U. S. 131 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

power to authorize the imposition of sanctions. See n. 2, supra.

This leaves only petitioner's contention that Rule 11 sanctions must be aborted because at a time after the sanctionable conduct occurred, it was determined by the Court of Appeals that the District Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. A final determination of lack of subject-matter jurisdiction of a case in a federal court, of course, precludes further adjudication of it. But such a determination does not automatically wipe out all proceedings had in the district court at a time when the district court operated under the misapprehension that it had jurisdiction. In Chicot County Drainage Dist. v. Baxter State Bank, 308 U. S. 371 (1940), we held that a judgment rendered in a case in which it was ultimately concluded that the District Court was without jurisdiction was nonetheless res judicata on collateral attack made by one of the parties. See also Stoll v. Gottlieb, 305 U. S. 165 (1938). In Stoll, we observed that the practical concern with providing an end to litigation justifies a rule preventing collateral attack on subject-matter jurisdiction. Id., at 172.

In United States v. Mine Workers, 330 U. S. 258 (1947), we upheld a criminal contempt citation even on the assumption that the District Court issuing the citation was without jurisdiction over the underlying action. In that case, the question was raised on direct review and not collateral attack. We think the same concern expressed in these cases— the maintenance of orderly procedure, even in the wake of a jurisdiction ruling later found to be mistaken—justifies the conclusion that the sanction ordered here need not be upset.

The District Court order which the petitioner seeks to upset is one that is collateral to the merits. We recently had occasion to examine Rule 11's scope and purpose in great detail in Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U. S. 384 (1990). The challenge in that case was to an order imposing Rule 11 sanctions for filing a frivolous complaint, entered


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