“I Am Being Silenced!!”

From Minnesota/North Dakota Bricklayers Benefit Funds v. All Agape Construction, LLC (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2011), referring to the argument — if that’s the proper term — of one of the lawyers in the case:

We next address BNM’s challenge to the district court’s January 24, 2011 order prohibiting the court administrator from accepting its counsel’s filings or setting hearing dates requested by its counsel in this action absent prior written authorization of the district court. This order is based on the January 21, 2011 order, ordering BNM’s counsel to refrain from filing any motions or other documents in this action or contacting the court administrator to obtain any hearing dates in this action unless and until BNM is made a party to the action. [BNM is the appellant-garnishee. -EV] Because both parties’ motions for Rule 11 sanctions were denied, the filing sanction appears to have been issued under the district court’s inherent authority. [Footnote: At the January 21, 2011 hearing, the district court noted that the case “appears to be quickly spiraling out of control” and stated that the court was going to “get a handle on this litigation, maintain some control, and get some of these issues resolved.” The district court then denied both motions for sanctions and orally issued the standing order that was later reduced to writing precluding both counsel from bringing further motions for sanctions relating to the October 13, 2010 hearing and precluding BNM’s counsel from submitting anything in this action without court permission unless and until made a party to the action.] …

BNM asserts only two bases for challenging the restrictions on filing: (1) the order violates his First Amendment rights and (2) the order violates Minn. R. Prof. Cond. 5.6(b), which prohibits a lawyer from participating in an agreement in which there is a restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice. BNM makes no argument and cites no authority supporting its implied argument that a stranger to litigation has a right to file motions and documents and schedule hearings in actions to which it is not a party.

Regarding the First Amendment challenge, BNM presents no argument or authority. Counsel for BNM merely states: “I construe this order of 01/21/2011 as an infringement on my first Amendment Freedom of Speech – I am being silenced!!” We decline to address BNM’s counsel’s inadequately briefed assertion of a constitutional violation….

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