OCTOBER TERM, 1993
on petition for writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the seventh circuit
No. 92-1113. Decided May 23, 1994
When the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner's appeal of the dismissal of his employment discrimination claim, it also imposed sanctions, finding that the appeal was frivolous in light of controlling Circuit precedent holding that § 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 does not apply to cases arising before its enactment.
Held: If sanctions were imposed solely because the retroactivity argument was foreclosed by Circuit precedent, the sanctions order was improper. While the Court of Appeals correctly rejected petitioner's argument that § 101 applies retroactively, see, e. g., Landgraf v. USI Film Products, ante, p. 244, at the time of his appeal, this Court had not yet ruled on the question. Filing an appeal was the only way he could preserve the issue pending a possible favorable decision by this Court. The retroactivity question had divided the District Courts, and its answer was not so clear as to make his position frivolous.
Certiorari granted; vacated and remanded.
After petitioner appealed the dismissal of his employment discrimination claim, respondent moved for dismissal of the appeal and for sanctions. Respondent argued that the appeal was frivolous in light of controlling decisions of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit holding that § 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 105 Stat. 1071, 42 U. S. C. § 1981 (1988 ed., Supp. IV), does not apply to cases arising before its enactment. See Luddington v. Indiana Bell Tel. Co., 966 F. 2d 225 (1992); Mozee v. American Commercial Marine Serv. Co., 963 F. 2d 929 (1992). In an order dated September 30, 1992, the Court of Appeals granted respondent's motion, dismissed the appeal, and imposed a $500 sanction on petitioner's attorney.
The Court of Appeals correctly rejected petitioner's argument that § 101 applies retroactively. See Landgraf v. USI
659Page: Index 1 2 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007